How the mayor of Ames impacts both the city and campus


Hannah Olson / Iowa State Daily

Mayor Ann Campbell welcomes the public to the Ames Municipal Cemetery at the start of the Memorial Day service.

Trevor Knabach

With the midterm elections happening Nov. 7, Ames is preparing to go through some changes. The current mayor, Ann Campbell, has been in office since 2006 and her successor will be chosen Tuesday.

With over half of the population of Ames being composed of ISU students, it could be concerning that many students don’t even know that an election is taking place. So why should Iowa State students care?

The mayor of Ames has many responsibilities, many of which affect campus and students in their day to day activities. Ames currently uses the ‘Weak mayor system,’ meaning the mayor appoints officials with the approval of the City Council.

A city manager is appointed to run the daily operations, and the mayor is more of a representative of Ames, both locally and nationally. Responsibilities of this include lobbying and interacting with other representatives to better Ames as a community.

Many of these decisions made both by the mayor and the city council affect the campus and students of Iowa State. The university makes up a large part of Ames, and it is important for the City Council and Iowa State administration to have a working relationship.

“Recognizing again the close relationship of how the student population is going to impact the city of Ames has been important,” Campbell said. She hopes that the next mayor will also value the necessity of this relationship.

There are many aspects that are shared by both the city of Ames and ISU. For example, CyRide, which thousands of students and citizens of Ames depend on, is not just run by one or the other.

CyRide is an intricate system that is funded and operated by the City of Ames, Iowa State administration, as well as the ISU Student Government. Without this collaboration, CyRide and many other services would not be possible.

Campustown is a popular destination for students, and the Campustown Action Association works very closely with the city of Ames as well as Iowa State University. Over the last few years, major investments have been made to renovate the area.

There are also important issues that will need to be addressed by the future mayor which regard students, such as tuition increases and rapidly increasing enrollment and housing needs.

With the growth in student enrollment, there are concerns regarding housing that will need to be resolved by both the city and university.

“The growth in student enrollment indeed is something that is not just numbers on campus but…is something that affects the entire community,” Campbell said.

The winner of the election will either be John Haila or Victoria Szopinski and will take office on Dec. 31.

“We don’t want to be a homogeneous community with one kind of people,” said Campbell, regarding hopes for the future.