Two weeks ago Tuesday I found myself experiencing strange and sudden symptoms that I could not explain. I stopped by the City Center clinic, which is when sharp chest pains started occurring.
If you were wondering, those are the magic words to win a one-way ticket to the emergency room. Although I love Crawford County Memorial Hospital and its staff, I can’t say I encourage anyone to meet them in this manner.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been consulting with doctors and cardiologists and they’ve made one thing clear: I need to prioritize my own health.
It is with their recommendation that I have decided not to seek a second term as your mayor in 2019. This decision goes against every bone in my body, as I have thoroughly enjoyed my term in office.
I love Denison and I want to continue fighting for everyone who calls this wonderful little city their home. I want to continue the work we’ve done to modernize city hall and streamline local government.
In my second term, I was very much looking forward to continuing the leaps and bounds we’ve made on housing and growing tourism and economic development.
Most importantly, I planned on continuing to tug on the weeds of the deeply-seeded corruption in our government - something I plan to expand on in a future column.
Just know, my central creed has always been this: your public officials are here to serve you, no one else, and certainly not themselves.
Unfortunately, as much as I wish to continue, it’s just not possible at this time, although there are some major projects that are in the works, with at least one I plan on continuing to act as liaison to help see it through.
I leave office proud of what we have accomplished over the past two years.
We scored the federal opportunity zone designation to boost economic activity. We’ve added more than 100 jobs from new employers. We not only brought RAGBRAI back but were the best stop of 2018.
The new multi-phase housing development will break ground. The addition of the George Wyman Memorial will not only enrich our downtown but will bring annual tourists.
What I’m most proud of, though, is working alongside you to put Denison back on the map.
Being able to represent Denison at meetings around the state and under the golden dome was a great honor. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to solve problems. We just need to ask for help. Making connections at state and federal agencies was a no-brainer. If people don’t know what we need help with, they can’t offer assistance.
I made such an impression in my first year I was selected to represent Denison and Iowa internationally on the annual pork and beef trade mission to Japan. Our goal was to increase market access for Iowa farmers, and we actually got it done. Just days ago, a trade agreement was announced focusing on U.S. meat exports to Japan, including lowering tariffs and allowing more products to be exported.
I was excited to be invited back this year but have opted to not attend due to these new health developments.
I plan on fulfilling my current term and handing off the reins to whomever you see best fit to elect this coming November. I want the next mayor, as well as you, to know that our work to move Denison forward must continue, and I will be of service in any way I can. I trust you’ll do the same. There is too much at stake. In a time when rural America is reaching for lifelines, Denison is bucking the trend and continuing to grow.
Thank you for entrusting me to lead our community these last two years. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers going forward, and thank you for supporting me in our work to build a wonderful life in Denison.