City Councilor Susan Mims won’t seek reelection in November city election

Twelve-year Iowa City City Councilor Susan Mims will not seek reelection this November, instead focusing on her own business.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa City City Council District B candidate Susan Mims 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 the issues. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Claire Benson, News Reporter

Iowa City City Councilor Susan Mims, 64, will not be running for reelection this November, after three terms and 12 years with the city council.

“I haven’t made any secret of it,” Mims said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “I’ve been talking about it to a lot of people that I wasn’t going to run for reelection, but I hadn’t really made any public announcements, so to speak.”

During a city council work session on Jan. 9, Mims mentioned that this year would be her “12th and last year” she said as she gave the council financial advice on tax levies.

During her time in office — first elected in 2009 — Mims served as Iowa City District B’s representative and was elected by the city council to serve as Mayor Pro Tem from 2012 to 2015. District B makes up the residential areas on the east side of Iowa City.

Mims said she decided this would be her last term a few years ago, adding that no longer being part of the city council will allow her to pivot her focus toward her business – Mims Financial Services LLC, where she provides comprehensive financial planning to individuals and business owners.

“Well, the city council certainly is not a full-time career,” Mims said. “I made my decision three or four years ago when I decided I was going to run for a third term. I knew at that point in time I was not going to run again, I figured 12 years was enough and time for other people to weigh in and have an opportunity. And it gives me more time to focus on [my position as a] financial advisor at my own business.”

Other members of the council up for reelection in November are Mayor Bruce Teague and Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih.

Mims, an Iowa City resident since 1977, moved to the area to run track at the University of Iowa. She graduated from the UI with a degree in biomedical engineering in 1980, and earned her masters degree from the UI in industrial engineering in 1982.

Before serving on the council, Mims said she was involved with various organizations around Iowa City, including serving on the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors from 1996 to 1999 and the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Coming out of 2020, what Mims described to be a challenging year, she said there is still much to discuss and work on within the council during her last year as a member.

Mims said topics of greatest importance include ensuring that the city is in a stable financial situation and looking at zoning changes for annexations within the city.

RELATED: Iowa City considers 2.5 percent police budget increase

She said it is also important to continue looking at the racial-justice resolution the council passed in June in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, along with the proposed police reform plan presented by City Manager Geoff Fruin.

“We have a lot on our plate for the year,” Mims said. “We’ll be still dealing with a pandemic and how we’re going to come out of that, so there’s a lot of work to keep us busy, there’s no question about it.”

Her seat will be up for grabs in the November 2021 city and school local elections. Mayor Bruce Teague, and City Councilor Mazahir Salih will also be up for reelection. Four school board members will also be on the ballot in November.

Iowa City City Councilor John Thomas said he and Mims worked together on planning and zoning issues within Iowa City. Thomas said although the two didn’t always agree on matters within this subject area, he said she was a great asset to the city council.

“Twelve years is a long time,” Thomas said. “She had her three terms, and she will be missed.”

Iowa City City Councilor Janice Weiner said Mims has supported her even before Weiner was elected to the city council in 2019. Mims gave her advice on what to focus on in her campaign and was someone Weiner said she spoke with regularly.

Weiner said with Mims’ expansive finance knowledge, the three-term rep has aided in making budgetary decisions on the council, and she even plans on potentially turning to Mims for financial questions in the future.

“She’s been a really valuable colleague,” Weiner said. “I’ve learned a lot from her, from the perspective she brings from having been on council for so long, [that’s something] I believe will be missed as well. Nobody agrees on everything, but I found her to be a very valuable colleague in terms of bouncing ideas around…and basically talking things through.”