2 in Council Bluffs vie to fill Tom Hanafan's mayoral shoes - Omaha.com
Published Monday, November 4, 2013 at 1:30 am / Updated at 11:13 pm
Election time
2 in Council Bluffs vie to fill Tom Hanafan's mayoral shoes
Voter turnout of 7 percent expected in city election
COUNCIL BLUFFS — Kristi Everett, chief deputy auditor for elections in Pottawattamie County, has predicted a 7 percent total turnout in Council Bluffs for its city election Tuesday.

Just 3.86 percent of Council Bluffs' registered voters participated in the Oct. 8 primary election that narrowed the field of City Council candidates from six to four.

These four candidates are seeking the two seats on the council: incumbent Melissa Head, Al Ringgenberg, Brandon Juon and Chad Hannan.

— World-Herald News Service

COUNCIL BLUFFS — On Tuesday, Council Bluffs voters will choose a mayor other than Tom Hanafan for the first time in a quarter century.

Brent Siegrist and Matt Walsh are vying to replace Hanafan, who is stepping down after 25 years. The Democrat is the longest-serving current mayor of any major Iowa city.

Siegrist, 61, and Walsh, 57, are both Republicans in the officially nonpartisan race.

Siegrist hails the city’s progress but says that doesn’t mean a “fresh look” isn’t the best way to approach the future.

“There’s a real feeling out there that it’s time for a change, time to take a fresh look,” Siegrist said. “I think I represent that change.”

Walsh contends he knows the ins and outs of daily city government functions better than anyone except Hanafan.

“Our town has had an amazing transformation,” he adds, “and I would like to help continue with that.”

Walsh, a commercial lender for Security National Bank, has served the past 18 years on the Council Bluffs City Council. Siegrist, executive director of the Area Education Agencies of Iowa for the past nine years, represented Council Bluffs for 18 years in the Iowa House, including several years as majority leader. He did not seek re-election in 2002.

Siegrist wants to get more residents involved in city government. To that end, on the Monday evenings when the City Council is not in session, Siegrist would hold meetings throughout the community to make it easier for the public to offer input.

“You’ve got to reach out and try to engage the public,” Siegrist said.

He cites his administrative experience and says that, if elected, he would bring department heads together to find ways to run the city more efficiently. He also said he would convene a summit on the city’s housing needs and begin the steps toward creating a strategic action plan for Council Bluffs.

Though Walsh says “the city is doing well,” he said he knows Council Bluffs will face challenges in the near future.

Now that state lawmakers have approved legislation to reduce commercial property taxes, Walsh said, it will be more imperative than ever that new businesses need to be recruited and that those in the city remain.

He said his experience working with business owners over the years gives him an advantage in economic development recruitment efforts.

One area where economic development can occur, along with beautification, is West Broadway, he said.

“We need to vastly improve the look of West Broadway with the current lane structure. There are ways we can landscape the area. We can do decorative lighting, rebuild sidewalks, put in landscaping.”

The demolition of the vacant Bunge elevators and the removal of unused railroad tracks south of the West Broadway corridor will provide expansive space needed for large retailers, Walsh said.

Siegrist’s list of endorsements includes Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Republican.

Hanafan and the current members of the City Council are among those who have endorsed Walsh.

Read more related stories
Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss
Bluffs City Council approves dozens of new numbered street lights
National Law Enforcement Memorial Week set for May
Lori Jenkins, charged as accessory in 4 murders, waives speedy trial
Ted Cruz backs Pete Ricketts' campaign for governor
Omahan charged with 5th-offense DUI after street race causes rollover
2 blocks of Grover Street closed
Safety board report blames pilot error in 2013 crash that killed UNO student, passenger
Omaha man accused in shooting ordered held on $75,000 bail
2 men charged with conspiracy to distribute meth held on $1 million bail each
Waitress who served alcohol to teen before fatal crash gets jail time, probation
La Vista plans meeting on sales tax proposal, 84th Street redevelopment
6-mile stretch of Highway 75 is the road not taken
Database: How much did Medicare pay your doctor?
Millard school board bans e-cigarettes from all district properties, events
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a child climbed inside a claw machine. Hey, Florida kid: Nobody likes a copycat.
Breaking Brad: Even Chuck Hassebrook's throwing mud!
The Nebraska campaigns have turned so ugly, Democrat Chuck Hassebrook lobbed unfounded accusations at an imaginary opponent.
Breaking Brad: Kraft wiener recall is business opportunity for TD Ameritrade Park
Instead of returning the wieners, TD Ameritrade Park is calling them "cheese dogs" and charging double.
Breaking Brad: Photos with the Easter Bunny are so 2010
In a sign of the times, most kids ran out of patience waiting for a photo with the Easter Bunny at the mall, just snapped a selfie and went home.
Kelly: 70 years after a deadly D-Day rehearsal, Omahan, WWII vet will return to Europe
A World War II veteran from Omaha will return this week to Europe to commemorate a tragedy in the run-up to D-Day.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
PHOTO GALLERIES »
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Omaha World-Herald Contests
Enter for a chance to win great prizes.
OWH Store: Buy photos, books and articles
Buy photos, books and articles
Travel Snaps Photo
Going on Vacation? Take the Omaha World-Herald with you and you could the next Travel Snaps winner.
Click here to donate to Goodfellows
The 2011 Goodfellows fund drive provided holiday meals to nearly 5,000 families and their children, and raised more than $500,000 to help families in crisis year round.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »