Editorial: DI endorses Bruce Teague in City Council election

Two candidates are vying for the open city council seat. The DI Editorial Board believes Bruce Teague is the best choice for the position.


Katina Zentz

City Council candidate Bruce Teague stands by his election sign at Billy's High Hat Diner on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. Teague received the second highest number of votes overall.

Tuesday marks the special election to fill the vacant seat on the Iowa City City Council. The candidates on the ballot are Ann Freerks and Bruce Teague. The Daily Iowan had the pleasure of speaking to both candidates.

When asked what their top issues were, Freerks and Teague agree that affordable housing and transportation are major problems that the city will continue to face. Because Freerks has served on the Iowa City Planning & Zoning Commission and various other local boards, her credentials make Freerks seem like the obvious choice. However, Teague’s experience and dedication to diversity make him the better candidate for the job.

There are more issues facing Iowa City outside of transportation and affordable housing, of course. To address those needs, Teague wants to make Iowa City a human-rights city. This means the city would place a higher priority on such necessities as water, shelter, and food and a lower level of priority on desires.

RELATED: Ann Freerks touts experience and understanding of issues in Iowa City City Council bid

No one is more equipped to understand which members of community are in need than Teague. Having lived in Iowa City since he was 17, he has said, “this city has raised me.”

Since then, Teague has endeavored to serve the community and its members. At age 19, he worked at Iowa City Hospice, which allowed him to work directly with families and members of the Iowa City community.

After attending Kirkwood and the UI, Teague founded Caring Hands and More LLC, a business that provides services for seniors and people with disabilities. Through his business, Teague has worked with countless members of our community, which gives him the knowledge to understand where needs exist.

Different groups of people in Iowa City face unique issues; this includes students. When asked how he planned to keep students engaged, Teague said he has no problem reaching out to people to start conversations. He noted that he believes city councilors should take the first step to include students in decisions that affect them.

Teague believes he is uniquely qualified to reach out to all members of the community because he knows what it feels like to have his voice silenced or marginalized. “I’m really diverse. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m black,” Teague joked. “So I do have this minority experience. I am also a gay man, so I know what it is to live in groups where your voice is silenced.”

Other people and city councilors may be able to go out and ask what it is like to be a minority in Iowa City, he said. And although they may have the best intentions, they will not always consider what it is like to be a minority when making decisions for the community as a whole.

RELATED: City Council candidate Bruce Teague focuses on transportation, affordable housing

Teague used the following anecdote to illustrate his point. If a person’s good friend’s child died, most people would feel a great sense of distress for the friend and the loss. Over time, most people, however, would begin to forget about the child’s death. But the parent of the child will never go a day without thinking about the loss. Teague said this is what it is like to be a minority. “My lived experience really will remain with me when I am sitting there, making decisions for Iowa City.”

Iowa City needs a candidate who will take the first step to include every member of the community. Teague is that person.

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