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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Ames, Iowa Mayor - 2017

The City of Ames elects its Mayor every four years. The Mayor presides at City Council meetings and casts a vote to break ties. The Mayor also represents the City to numerous groups and appoints citizens to serve on the City's boards and commissions. For a map of Ames’ wards, go to Election day is November 7. For locations/times and absentee voting info, visit the Auditor’s page on
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    John Haila John Haila is the founder and former owner of the Ames based architecture and engineering firm HAILA Architecture Structure Planning and is a licensed professional engineer.

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    Victoria Szopinski

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Biographical Information

The city of Ames is proud of its diversity. As mayor, how would you go about measuring and improving Ames’ inclusiveness?

If elected, would you pursue making the city-wide high speed internet a reality?

How would you use current city resources to better inform the public of the improved traffic designs as they are implemented?

If elected as Mayor, what do you see as your primary goal?

Campaign Phone (515) 290-5436
Campaign Email
Community Involvement He is in his third term as President of the CyRide Board, past President of Campustown Action Association, and has served on various other Ames based volunteer organizations.
Other Relevant Experience His forty-year career includes working primarily on public sector projects (K-12, city, counties, higher ed.), and facilitating well over 1,500 meetings, many with competing stakeholders.
From a “measurement” perspective, if a recognized, unbiased and statistically accurate survey tool can be found it may be prudent for the City to utilize it within the community. It could create a baseline data and road map for determining how to strategically enhance Ames’ inclusiveness.

The Mayor has the responsibility to appoint approximately 120 individuals to City Boards and Commissions. I will use this opportunity to appoint people from all walks of life in Ames: age, geographically, educational levels, color, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. By ensuring that Boards and Commissions are genuinely inclusive ‘diversity of thought’ will be provided to the City Council. This will assist Council in making decisions that are reflective and representative of our entire citizen base.
I am committed to exploring ways to improve high speed Internet to all areas of the City, be it by working with existing ISP’s and/or looking for other creative and cost effective ways to provide this essential service.

Within every corner of Ames, high speed Internet has now become the expectation and requirement. It is central to the continued success of students and businesses, to attract technology companies (and it’s workforce) to the Research Park and help residents access the system for school, business and entertainment use.
Post videos on the City website, Facebook page, Twitter feed to explain and/or illustrate how new traffic patterns, bike lanes, flashing pedestrian crossing signs are to be navigated.

At new locations where changes are made, utilize the Planning and Zoning announcement sandwich/sign boards to direct resident’s attention to different media explanations.

Leverage existing relationships with, and communicate through, the Ames Bicycle Coalition, Ames Tribune, KASI and KHOI to promote and educate Ames residents.

Use the insert in the monthly utility bill to visually depict/explain the changes as implemented and direct readers to electronic media for enhanced education.
My primary goal is to ensure that Ames continues to be one of the most welcoming cities in America; a premiere community in which to live, work and play.

One of my first initiatives will be to work with City Council in setting City wide goals – ones that will continue to strengthen the community including all neighborhoods.

Secondly I will develop relationships with the new University President; the Ames School District Board and administration; surrounding community’s mayors; and Story County Board of Supervisors.

My third initiative will be to work collaboratively with Council, staff and the community to develop a long-term vision for our City (via the Comprehensive Plan).

And fourthly begin focusing on diversity and inclusivity issues within our community and in partnership with ISU.
Campaign Mailing Address 3710 Ross Road
Ames, Iowa 50014
Campaign Phone (515) 292-4165
Community Involvement Iowa ACLU Board, Friendship Ark Homes and Community Services, Ames Progressive Alliance, Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ames Reads ACCESS
Other Relevant Experience Ward 4 representative on the Ames City Council
The Ames community is primarily “diverse” because of Iowa State University. Statistically, community members who identify themselves as belonging to a unique group are small. We use the word “inclusive” frequently, however, we need to be better at truly creating opportunities to connect. I believe this happens through deliberate small group interaction like the “Inclusive Ames: A Time to Act” initiative that brought ideas to actions. As a city we can and should be revisiting this type of event and be seeking other models used in other communities.
Absolutely! Good, reliable internet service is an essential to daily living in this country, comparable to electrical service, water, etc. We depend on internet service for our livelihoods, our education, our health and many other links to the world. We need to investigate how other communities are providing internet service and make sure that we have access to the best service.
The phrase “use current city resources” is where we meet the primary issue of our campaign. We need to understand all the avenues through which community members currently receive or want to receive information. There is a hunger for more information and we need to connect through a variety of digital platforms, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, emails, etc.
“Connecting the Power of Community” is not just a tagline. We have a very well run city with many professional staff members, however, we our ability to be creative and innovative has been stifled by limited staff time.  It’s time for a new model. Let’s engage and appreciate all the history, experience and expertise of our community members. We all want to be part of making Ames better. logo


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