Dubuque city council candidates discuss goals and priorities ahead of Tuesday’s election

Voters in Dubuque’s Fourth Ward will head to the polls on Tuesday to elect their new city council member.
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:24 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Voters in Dubuque’s Fourth Ward will head to the polls on Tuesday to elect their new city council member. This used to be Brad Cavanagh’s seat until he was elected as Dubuque’s mayor last November.

The race to fill Dubuque’s Fourth Ward city council seat has been one for the books. City officials say it has the record for the most people filing to run, with seven. After a primary, Carla Anderson and Katy Wethal moved on to Tuesday’s election.

Anderson moved to Dubuque three years ago. She told TV9 she got involved in the community almost immediately.

“I joined the Human Rights Commission first, became the vice-chair there and from there I started asking a lot of questions and what can I do to bring everybody together,” she explained. “I started talking with community members, hearing what they wanted and what they needed, so I thought I would jump in and run for city council.”

Out of the seven people to file for the race, Anderson was the second to last one to do so. Now she stands as one of two left in contention.

”I would like to bring more transparency with the fellow council members, work on some of these projects and see if we can direct that money towards the community first,” she commented. Anderson said she would like to see efforts going to projects like revitalizing Central Avenue, which she said would make people want to stay in Dubuque.

Anderson has worn many hats, like working as a union carpenter, for example, but she said her experiences growing up make her an ideal candidate for the job. Those experiences, she said, are a reflection of the reality many people face in Dubuque.

”I grew up in an all White neighborhood, so I have experienced White privilege in Brown skin, so I get it,” she added. She said she is trying to connect with the Asian, Black, and Marshallese communities, which she describes as the most marginalized in the city.

Anderson is running against Katy Wethal, a nurse practitioner who told TV9 her experience working through the COVID-19 pandemic inspired her to run for public office.

”I just sat with my patients and heard a lot about pain, what they went through, pain and loss of a loved one, maybe, or job, their dignity, and it really made me feel like I had more to give and maybe this would be a great way to do it,” she explained.

Wethal said she has figured out what her priorities would be if elected by talking to her Fourth Ward neighbors.

“Workforce and strong economic stability are big, but as part of that I think having good childcare that is reliable, housing behind all income streams and across our whole city are priorities we should have,” she listed. She also mentioned making Dubuque “a community of choice” as one of her goals if she were to be elected on Tuesday.

Wethal, who was the third person to file for the race, has raised her three children in Dubuque. She said she wants to bring the perspective of a working mom to city council, a perspective she pointed out is not currently represented.

”I think that the generation of where I am and stage in life of raising my kids really would offer a lot of the uniqueness of serving,” she said.

Wethal also recognized the diversity that characterizes the Fourth Ward. She said she does not want to shy away from that and hopes to serve as a voice for everyone in her community.

“We have so much greatness and richness in our history in the Fourth Ward,” she mentioned. “It is also the most economically diverse and diverse in color, and so I hope to bring together ideas and sit at the table with everyone to really make a difference for Dubuque.”

Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. There are two voting locations available: Saint John’s Parish House and the Fogarty Hall Center.

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