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City Council Election – Iowa City – 2017

We often refer to elections as a choice between the lesser of two evils. In national elections, sometimes it seems like the most likable and qualified candidates drop out early, while the most ruthless and well funded rise to the top.

Local elections are different, and in Iowa City, we’re often given the opportunity to choose between the “greater of two greats” rather than the “lesser of two evils.” This year is an example of this.

Three candidates — Kingsley Botchway, Mazahir Salih, and Angela Winnike — are running for two at-large council seats. Two candidates — Susan Mims and Ryan Hall — are running for the one District B City Council seat. There’s a Press-Citizen article that offers brief introductions to all the candidates.

Because both Mims and Ryan have a lot to offer, and are greatly liked in the community, there’s much buzz and discussion about these two candidates. I’ll provide some information about these two candidates, as well as my own throughs below.


Susan Mims was first elected to the City Council in 2009, and then again in 2013. She is running for re-election to serve another four years. Susan has been endorsed by former mayor Matt Hayek. The Gazette meet the candidates article about Susan provides more about her experience, qualifications, and vision for the city. Susan’s resume, commitment to public service, and solid track record would make her a very difficult candidate to beat. Below is a video of Susan talking about why she’s running for re-election.


Ryan Hall has been involved in a variety of public service initiatives, including his work with AmeriCorps on several projects. He brings a variety of fresh and diverse experiences to our community, including the ability to ‘think outside the box’ of Iowa City since he has experience in other municipalities. He is currently studying Environmental Planning at the University of Iowa. Hall offers the rare and important opportunity to have a student voice represented in the city council, and also an opportunity to inspire the thousands of existing and potential University of Iowa students. The Gazette meet the candidates article about Ryan provides more about the variety of experiences that would make Ryan a positive and impactful city council member. Below is a video of Ryan talking about why he’s running.


Rather than commanding you with the hackneyed and dire appeal: “Here’s who you need to vote for, and why.” I’m going to share some positive comments about both District B candidates, then share how I plan to vote, and why.

For my vote, Susan Mims would be a logical choice. She has plenty of experience and she seems to have a desire to serve our community in a variety of ways.

In elections, I tend to vote for women over men. I’m not gender biased. I’m data biased. In 2015, Forbes Magazine reported that “Women-led companies perform three times better than the S&P 500.” This story surprised some. Not me. It’s what I’ve observed and experienced in my own life and career. So, that’s why I generally tend to support women for positions of leadership. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions, but generally the findings of that 2015 report are what we would expect as an outcome for a variety of reasons.

It’s difficult to identify specific factors, but a general cultural leaning toward collaboration, inclusion, communication, compassion, and caring for people and the earth would be some of the reasons why women executives might produce more positive outcomes. Yet, ultimately it’s really not about gender, but about one’s holistic and healthful mindset, outlook on life, and empathy toward the world around them that determines our level of success and the positive impact we can have.

Through my consulting work I got to know Ryan Hall prior to his campaign for city council. After some time working together, Ryan impressed me as a very conscientious, intelligent, caring, skilled, and competent person with the desire and ability to have a positive impact on the world. So, I became a ‘supporter of Ryan Hall’ prior to his campaign. I am and will continue to be after November 7 regardless of the election outcome. For me, this election isn’t about whether or not I’ll support Ryan. I already support Ryan.

I’ll be voting for Ryan because we desperately need to support and appreciate the next generation of people who are stepping up to serve our society through public work. Ryan has valuable experiences and insights that can benefit our entire community. From the articles linked above, one can see that Ryan’s experience-based perspective is multifaceted, and not just single-issue focused.

I’ll be voting for Ryan, because I believe it’s important to have local government representation for our student community. It’s not just about ensuring equal democratic access to governance. All of us can greatly benefit from the perspective and experience that students can offer. As a non-traditional student, with real-world work and service experiences, Ryan has a lot to offer. I believe his position on the city council could positively impact the vitality and genuineness of our campus culture of inclusion.

I’m very grateful for my contemporaries who have spent their lives serving and giving back to our community. I’m now looking for those who will serve in the future, and seeking ways to support them.

Thanks, Ryan, for your passion to serve our community.


Below are some comments from others regarding Ryan Hall.

“We have a substantial student population, so it’s very important to the fabric of Iowa City that our students are well-represented.” ~ Kingsley Botchway (Source: Daily Iowan, 22 Aug 2017)

“I am proudly supporting Kingsley Botchway, Mazahir Salih, and Ryan Hall, not because of the number of years they lived here, or the number of times they have traveled around the sun, but because these dynamic leaders will give us hope in these dark times. They all possess the inclusive values, good judgment, positive attitude, and yes, the right experience to lead our community forward towards a more inclusive and prosperous future for all of Iowa City.” ~ Rockne Cole (Source: Facebook Post, 1 Nov 2017)

“I have been troubled by attacks on Ryan Hall’s age while ignoring his intelligence, skill and proven track record of service. Young adults are a vital resource in this community. They provide social and economic capital to this city. And our state is one that is hit harder than most by the brain drain, with many of our best and brightest leaving for what they see as finer pastures. Why disparage young people when we are specifically trying to avoid that? Before moving to Iowa City, Ryan Hall spent three years with AmeriCorps in cities across the country. Ask the people of Columbus, Ohio. Ask the people of Decorah, Iowa. Ask all of the people he met in his 4,000-mile bike trip across the country. They will speak to his record of public service. That’s the kind of experience I wish to see on the city council.” ~ Marc Saladino (Source: Press-Citizen, 1 Nov 2017)

“I support Ryan Hall for City Council in Iowa City. A strong progressive voice at 24, Hall has an impressive track record of service, building community, and bringing attention to issues that matter to everyday people. He served three years with AmeriCorps after having to take a break from the unfortunate financial burden of a college education. He provided mentoring and tutoring services to underfunded public schools in Ohio, acted as a woodland firefighter in Colorado for a year, and helped people save money on their utility bills in Decorah. I am excited to see him work to engage the student population in Iowa City with their local government, and fight for improved wages for university students. We need a council representative of our city, and Hall will be an advocate for the students Iowa City relies on to invest in business, and for our community. He knows we have a wealth of talent and knowledge to solve problems and improve our community; to effectively address issues of affordable housing; to protect our water; promote more renewable energy, support small businesses, and local food production; to make Iowa City more walkable, and bicycle friendly. He is eager to get to work to make Iowa City more inclusive for more people. Let’s help him with our votes on Nov. 7.” ~ Kate Revaux (The Gazette, 29 Oct 2017)

“Even though I live in Coralville, I am writing to express my support for Ryan Hall for Iowa City Council. Iowa City and the surrounding areas are something of a “company town,” and the “company” is the University of Iowa. They are our lifeblood, and students have always, and will continue to, provide boundless energy, excitement, ideas and money to our area. There is a large gap sometimes between University students and local civic engagement. Ryan Hall will bridge that gap and bring a fresh new voice into Iowa City’s deliberations. I encourage the voters of Iowa City to vote for Ryan Hall with one of their three votes for Iowa City Council on or before Nov. 7.” ~ J.P. Claussen (Source: Little Village, 5 Nov 2017)

County Board of Supervisors

The following members of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors have also endorsed Ryan Hall.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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