Ryan Hall launches second bid for Iowa City City Council

UI student Ryan Hall announced his campaign Aug. 6 to fill Kingsley Botchway’s at-large City Council seat.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa City City Council District B candidate Ryan Hall speaks during the UISG City Council Forum in the IMU on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The event gave students and community members the opportunity to ask city council candidates about various issues. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Naomi Hofferber, Arts Editor

After an unsuccessful campaign for the Iowa City City Council in 2017, University of Iowa student Ryan Hall announced on Aug. 6 at City Hall that he will mount another bid for the council.

Hall is a hopeful in an election scheduled for Oct. 2 that will determine who fills the vacancy left by former City Councilor Kingsley Botchway. Botchway, who was re-elected to his at-large seat Nov. 7, 2017, announced his resignation in July to work as chief officer of human resources and equity for the Waterloo School District.

Hall ran in the 2017 election against incumbent Susan Mims, who won with 59 percent of the vote.

Approximately 40 Hall supporters gathered in front of City Hall on Aug. 6, chanting, “Who do we want in City Hall? Ryan Hall” as Hall delivered his candidacy speech.

“This campaign is not about me,” he said. “My name’s on the ballot, but this is about us. This is about the poor people’s campaign. This is about fighting poverty, speaking truth to power, ending our war economy, lowering our cost of living in the community.”

Hall advocates for a $15 minimum wage, economic and racial justice, affordable housing, opening up public transportation for those who don’t work a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift, and environmentally friendly policies.

Karen Kubby, who was a city councilor from 1989 to 2000, is now a part of Hall’s campaign. Iowa City needs young, experienced voices fit for office, she said.

“We have activists on the City Council,” she said during Hall’s announcement. “When we add another one, it changes how issues are vetted.”

Kubby said organizing the campaign was a quick enterprise, and she plans to focus on fundraising and getting people to the polls.

“Because it’s a special election, people aren’t paying attention,” she said. “Because it’s a special election during the midterms, people aren’t paying attention. Local office holders, I think, hold the highest office in the land … people see you on the streets, at festivals, in the grocery line. You are the most accountable.”

Hall said he hopes to do justice to Botchway’s vacancy if elected. Leading up to the election, his campaign plans to focus on knocking on doors, registering voters as students return to campus, and making Hall known in the community.

“Eventually, people have to buy into the identity of me when they vote, because that’s how American politics is,” Hall said.

He said having student voices on the council could help prevent issues such as the lack of affordable housing for students in the city and having queer individuals on council is important for visibility for the community. In addition, he said, he wants to acknowledge his platform and privilege as a white individual and use that platform to work toward racial justice.

“I’m not going to run away from any of my identities,” he said in his speech. “I’m a gender-queer, nonbinary, pansexual, working-class student. [You can] call me a democratic socialist. Throw the labels at me, but the labels mean justice, equity, and action.”

A primary election could be held Sept. 4 if needed. Candidates must file petitions to make it on the ballot by Aug. 10.