Guest Columnist

Reflections on serving on the Cedar Rapids city council for eight years

Susie Weinacht
Susie Weinacht

The ‘10s are in the rearview mirror, and glancing back to acknowledge the challenges and opportunities that have led us, as a community, into a new decade is natural.

It’s my goal, in politics and life, to live well together. This doesn’t just mean in relative peace and contentment, but in harmony. This means resonating pleasantly and evenly with those around us, leaving space for the music of others as we make our own.

Let’s be real. Everyone faces adversity. Life is messy, but those who face adversity and don’t turn away are the ones who make a difference. When we work together, when we each find our path to do good work, change happens on a grand scale.

It’s been a true honor to be entrusted with two terms as your at-large City Council member. Serving in collaboration with passionate elected officials, who unanimously supported me to serve as your mayor pro tempore, has been an experience that’s provided personal introspection and growth.

There have been many accomplishments during my time as a Council member, and I’m proud of the work that’s been done.

Flood Control. The relentless pursuit to secure federal support for our flood control system to protect folks and infrastructure on both sides of the Cedar River. Hope, resiliency, and recovery are vital to in a healthy community, and securing this funding has been important.

CR YOUTH. In 2014, “Youth Services” was added to the Public Safety Committee amplifying the commitment to our youth. As chair of this committee, I cast a vision and worked to create three pillars providing foundational support for our kiddos: Employment, Education and Engagement with a flagship collaboration for each one: Iowa Works, Iowa BIG and Mentors in Violence Program collaboration of CRPD/CRCSD/local nonprofits.

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Synthetic Drugs. Tackling this problem from a consumer fraud-and-protection approach was innovative and the ordinance garnered the attention of the Iowa Legislature, as well as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Prospect Meadows. Supporting regionalism is in our city charter and I took the challenge and created a new revenue stream while supporting this world-class baseball and softball complex. An economic driver projected to boost local economy by $20 million annually.

Tower Terrace. Connecting and growing our region is of great economic importance. Listening to the frustration of our neighboring communities, sitting on the sidelines to watch this bouncing ball wasn’t an option. Research and data led me to come forward in support of Hiawatha, Marion and Robins to move this interchange forward.

Welcoming City. Our history, culture, and future are tied to being inclusive and welcoming. We need look no further than the Ellis Boulevard NW area to glimpse the beautiful fabric wove by those who, in the 1880s, settled here. Immigrants saw what the community had to offer and created an economic boom.

2020: a year of seeing clearly. Together we can focus on honoring the values that unite us; creating a more vibrant and prosperous community, region, state and world where everyone feels welcomed and can fully participate. Cheers, Cedar Rapids!

Susie Weinachct served two terms as an at-large member of the Cedar Rapids City Council. She did not seek reelection.

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