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AARP Hosts Candidates for Des Moines Mayor

Posted: November 12, 2019 | By: Kiley Roach Tagged: Blog

When the presidential primary is this crowded, it feels like it’s the only election happening. We occasionally hear about senatorial or congressional races, but rarely do voters find themselves passionately engaged in local elections as much as they are in presidential elections. In the wake of the Liberty and Justice Celebration that dominated the news cycle this weekend, I felt it appropriate to zoom in to the less-covered election happening right under our noses.

This week, I attended a forum hosted by AARP that showcased all of the candidates for Des Moines City Council and Mayor. The 16-year tenure of the incumbent Mayor, Frank Cownie, is being challenged by three candidates: Joe Grandanette, Jack Hatch, and Chase Holm. You can find a live stream of the AARP forum here.

The forum focused on one of AARP’s key issues: creating livable communities for aging adults. According to AARP’s Livable Communities website, the key elements of an age-friendly city include “safe, walkable streets, age-friendly housing and transportation options, access to needed services, and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.”

The candidates for Mayor and City Council were asked directly about their plans to improve transportation in Des Moines, their plans for infrastructure in the city, and their plans to make Des Moines more age-friendly. AARP also compiled a voter guide to highlight where the candidates for Mayor and City Council stand on the issues. If you haven’t researched the candidates yet, there’s still time before the Tuesday, November 5th election.

Some of the responses that the candidates gave stood out among others. Grandanette, for instance, advocated for cutting funding to DART for lack of use and increasing the number of police and firefighters in Des Moines. Candidates like Holm and Hatch advocated for making Des Moines more walkable by creating pedestrian paths and bike lanes. Cownie talked about looking forward to the future of transportation, including adapting Des Moines to new developments in transportation and the need for the community to work together.

Issues like transportation, community building, and law enforcement are all central to the Mayoral candidates’ platforms. This forum, of course, did not cover all of the issues that Des Moines residents care about, but it served as an effective introduction to the candidates and what they would prioritize if elected. The Des Moines Register has also compiled voter guides to Mayoral and City Council platforms. You can read about it here.

The Des Moines Register reported that this heated election contest is likely to draw an impressive amount of voter turnout. If one of the candidates is unable to secure 50% of the vote, then a runoff election between the top two candidates will ensue. The election takes place on Tuesday, November 5, be sure to go out and vote!