Guest Columnist

Mehaffey: Collaboration can lift up local families

Sofia Mehaffey is a candidate for Cedar Rapids City Council district 2.

Fifteen years ago, our family arrived at Aossey Lane with $37 and a Honda hatchback to our names. I was a single teen mother of two, moving to Cedar Rapids to enroll at Kirkwood. I know now what I could only hope for that day: this city would change our lives forever.

We were supported in the long, arduous and statistically unlikely climb out of poverty by our community. Collaborative initiatives made up of nonprofit organizations, private business and local government created access for us to child care, food, housing, education, and finally, to employment opportunities that paid enough to support the family.

Today, I am a married mom of three — the oldest in college and youngest in preschool. I am a homeowner, a taxpayer, a school board member, and work as community health and nutrition director for Horizons, a Family Service Alliance. Every day, I work to alleviate food insecurity in our community and bring awareness to the issues that impact individuals and families struggling with poverty and inequity. I consider this work a privilege and am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.

My top platform issues are public health, senior issues, and food insecurity.

Public health: Affordable housing, responsible climate planning, equity, accessibility, and safety are all examples of public health issues impacted by city policy. We have the ability as a community to decide what kind of projects we will incentivize and who will benefit from new development in this town. We also have a responsibility to weigh the community benefit of public and private project initiatives that will impact residents, and seek net positive results. When setting incentives and policy, we should not benefit business at the expense of our neighbors or the future of our environment.

Senior issues: It is important that we have a community that works for all residents. Let’s do the research and put in the work to ensure that Cedar Rapids is an Age-Friendly Community both in practice and in name.

Food insecurity: Despite low unemployment, food insecurity remains a challenge for many in Cedar Rapids. It is time to address the food deserts and systemic issues that contribute to hunger.

I am proud to be a Cedar Rapidian, and I will champion a city that works for all. Vote Mehaffey for District 2 Nov. 5.

Sofia Mehaffey is a candidate for Cedar Rapids City Council district 2.

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