City Council candidates sound off at open forum


Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State Daily

Anne Kinzel listens to suggestions by Monica Diaz, sophmore in civil engineering, while her friends Abbie Romano, second from left, sophmore in global resource systems and Jane Kerson, far left, sophmore in political science listen nearby. Ames City Council members meet with students on Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Pearson Hall.

Emelie Knobloch

Justin Dodge, candidate for the 1st Ward seat on the City Council, said he has been knocking on doors on south campus and receiving little interest from students.

The ISU College Democrats hosted a forum for the Ames City Council candidates at Pearson Hall on Wednesday evening to discuss their campaigns and answer student questions.

Several candidates were in attendance, including Dodge.

Candidates Anne Kinzel and Amber Corrieri are running for the at-large seat; Timothy Gartin is running for the 2nd Ward seat; Peter Orazem is running for the 3rd Ward seat; and Chris Nelson and Victoria Szopinski are running for the 4th Ward seat. 

They were all present at the forum.

All of the candidates have relationships with Iowa State.

“While at Iowa State, I was the co-chair of the lectures committee and had a radio show,” Szopinski said.

Kinzel received a master’s degree from Iowa State. Kinzel is also the chief operating officer of CenUSA Bioenergy at Iowa State.

“We have a remarkable number of assets, but I don’t believe we are using them fully,” Kinzel said of City Council.

Nelson, graduate of Iowa State, brought up the topic of housing.

“Growth at the university hasn’t been brought up,” Nelson said. “We need housing and jobs for the students.”

Dodge expanded on Nelson’s comment about student jobs.

“I am a third-generation Iowa-Stater,” Dodge said. “There was a perception while I attended

Iowa State that there weren’t a lot of jobs for graduates in Ames. However, there are, and I would like to see more Iowa State graduates stay in Ames.”

Orazem is starting his 32nd year in the department of economics of Iowa State.

“All of the people up here are great people. They are the kind of people that should be on City Council,” Gartin said.

Corrieri works with a lot of students through the nonprofit organizations she is involved in.

“I am really focused on housing for students, families and seniors, jobs for students after graduation and nonprofit

organizations,” Corrieri


A student at the event asked the candidates what their thoughts about Campustown were.

“I hope it is something the students will be involved in,” Szopinski said. “All of our communities deserve a better Campustown. However, we need to think about the impacts just like all of the other developments in the area.”

Corrieri asked students to tell the council what they loved most about Ames and what could be improved here.

A member of the ISU College Democrats said that CyRide was unavailable for use in the morning and there are unpaved bus stops.

“The best bet you have is to call CyRide,” Kinzel said. “I ride CyRide to work and, when I have a few little issues, I call them up.”

Nelson said he wants students to get more involved in the city elections.

“Student voting is abysmal,” Nelson said. “There is a voting booth in Maple-Willow-Larch. At the last election, five students voted there.”

There was a group of 10 ISU College Democrats members in attendance.

“You are not trying very hard to reach [students],” said Sue Ravenscroft, the organization’s adviser. “Students are treated like abysmal voters,” 

The election will take place Nov. 5.