Gartin stepping down to fulfill term limit campaign promise


Courtesy of the City of Ames

Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin has served on the Ames City Council for 10 years.

After 10 years serving Ames, Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin will not be running for public office this year, fulfilling his campaign promise to follow a self-imposed term limit.

Gartin said he deeply loved serving and enjoyed working with the council but believes it is in the city’s best interest to give someone else the opportunity to represent Ward 2.

“I believe that it’s valuable for people in office to consider at some point, in essence, giving someone else a turn,” Gartin said. “I don’t believe so highly of myself that I think I am the only one who can do this.”

Gartin hopes someone can bring fresh ideas and energy to the council next year. He said he would do what he could to recruit and advocate for candidates he believes will benefit the city.

Gartin would like his successor to be able to see the big picture, be a good listener and have a broad set of community relationships, and he thinks it would be helpful to have business experience.

“I’m looking for candidates who have a breadth of relationships within the community,” Gartin said. “We live in silos where we tend to have people around us that look like us, think like us and vote like us, and I tell people if that’s who your friends are, you need some new friends.”

Reflecting on his time in office, Gartin said his biggest disappointment was not being able to bring the Healthy Life Center to fruition. According to previous reporting, in the September 2019 special election, Ames voters rejected a bond referendum that would have funded the center. Only about 17% of registered voters participated in the referendum, a majority of whom voted no, which fell well short of the 60% needed to pass.

“I grew up in a household that didn’t have money or expensive gym memberships, and I am very aware that for many of our families that are economically challenged, both young and older residents, a facility like this would have been a great amenity to the community,” Gartin said. “I worked very hard to get that passed, and I failed. The voters made their decision, and I have to respect that.”

Throughout his time on council, Gartin said he has been in the minority on certain issues, but he tried to do so civilly, adding he believes there is value to differences of opinion.

“I care deeply about us getting these decisions right, and there have been a lot of hard votes in the last year; there have been a lot of 5-1 decisions, and sometimes I’m the one,” Gartin said. “My goal is to model civility. We can disagree without being disagreeable.”

While Gartin will soon no longer be on the council, he said he would not leave the Ames community. He said he will continue practicing law at Hastings, Gartin & Boettger, LLP, and finding ways to serve the community.

“I love working with kids, and I think the Scouting program offers children, regardless of social economic background, programming that is very beneficial to their development,” Gartin said. “That’s probably where I would see myself reemerging is finding a group of kindergarteners or first grader scouts that don’t have a leader and jumping in with them.”

Gartin, who describes himself as a moderate, did not rule out a future run for city government; however, he does not see a place for himself in state or federal elections.

“Right now, I’m not sure that there’s a lot of interest in moderates from either party,” Gartin said. “I don’t know that I have a lot of opportunities on the state level or federal level.”

Ultimately, Gartin said during his tenure he has learned and appreciated the role of the city staff, especially City Manager Steve Schainker, whom he characterized as one of the best city managers in the country.

“I’ve seen these people in the fire, and these people are gold,” Gartin said. “We are so well served in our community by the caliber of staff that we have. I will miss the city staff deeply when I’m done in December.”