Special election for Independence mayor comes as city manager resigns

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 6:03 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Voters in Independence will head to the polls for a special election to elect a new mayor starting Tuesday morning.

Three candidates will appear on the ballot: Nathan Hansen, Brad Bleichner and Denny Vaughn. They are running to replace Bob Hill, who died in April 2022 after becoming mayor in January. The special election comes after City Manager Al Roder resigned for a new position in Minnesota, according to the Independence City Clerk.

Brad Bleichner, who said he serves on the city’s planning and zoning committee, said he believes a city manager is needed for a city with a budget around 20 Million. He said he wants to continue efforts underway already, like improving the historic facades of downtown independence.

“If you got a city that’s going in the right direction, and you want to continue to go in that direction, then you’re moving that city forward in that way,” Bleichner said. “So you are doing things to be best for the city to continue to grow and do things that want to make people live here.”

Bleichner said he would like to develop a plan for the city’s trails, making the post office more accessible, improving 1st Street - the city’s main street area and increase options for childcare in town.

Denny Vaughn, who is a former city council member and ran for the position two other times, said he believes elected officials rather should govern the city rather than a public employee like a city manager. He also said he believes the city is spending too much money.

“I’m getting tired of paying for taxes,” Vaughn said. “They just throw the money away. You might as well stand out here and throw $100 bills in the river. It would do as much good.”

Independence’s Mayor isn’t a voting member of the council, but does have veto power.

Nathan Hansen is also on the ballot. He didn’t call TV9 back to set up an interview.

People can begin voting 7 a.m. at the Falcon Civic Center at 1305 5th Avenue NE northeast. Polls close at 8 p.m.

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