I am writing this letter from a perspective not many have or would ever want to take on as a citizen of Fort Madison. I am writing this letter as a citizen who has also dedicated six years as a member of Fort Madison City Council from 2011-2017 in second ward and currently as a member of the Tourism Commission. As a member of city council, it’s more than first and third Tuesdays. It’s increased shopping times at the store or a less than warm meal at the restaurants due to people coming to you with their issues and “suggestions”. Being on city council is not for the money or glory from it because it’s many headaches and stress filled decisions. But none of those who have taken the oath to serve our community would ever take anything back or be sorry we put ourselves out there. We understand our call to uphold the interests of those we represent and make decisions for the city we feel will produce the best possible outcome. My duty was to always do what was in the best interest of the city and its citizens. Some on council past and present may have a different way as to how they approach and vote each agenda item turned ordinance or city project. Each representative is duly elected by the will of the people, but decisions as to each agenda item should be in my opinion as to what is in the best interest of the city and its citizenry when those officials are elected.
Recently, the newly adopted ordinance allowing golf carts, ATVs, and UTVs to be street legal and access to streets throughout the city was a hot button issue with many citizens. Anything can be a hot button and anything to anyone is everything even if just an issue like the recent golf cart, ATVs, and UTVs ordinance. While I was personally against the adoption of this ordinance due to safety concerns and other factors, one issue shouldn’t decide your vote to elect a member of council who may be on the ballot. While in the back of my mind I have my opinions and thoughts as to why or how the ordinance could pass and why certain officials voted in favor, that wasn’t the singular factor to me casting a vote in the November election. In my opinion the whole of one’s body of work on the city council should be taken into consideration, but I understand each voter has that right to vote their conscious and elect who they feel best represents their vision for our city.
I have known At-Large Councilman Kevin Rink since 2011 and knew of him prior. I know Kevin to be a good man who would do anything for anyone whether he knew you or not. But that shouldn’t be why one would cast a vote for him. You should vote for Kevin if you believe he will best represent your vision for the city and your respective views and has done so in his tenure, not because Kevin is a good guy and would do anything for anyone. Kevin has a body of work on city council that is more than an ordinance allowing golf carts, ATVs, and UTVs to be used on our streets. He is more than the vote he casts on agenda items or anything the city has input. He is a councilman that has voted to allow TIF money for Siemens to bring manufacturing to our city and jobs to hundreds of people. He is a councilman who has questioned and worked to get the best possible outcome financially and project details that make living in Fort Madison sustainable and livable for all within the constraints and guidelines set forth by either another governing body like FEMA or other factors and entities given as to how one will vote on certain issues.
I have had conversations with the candidates for each office on the ballot and genuinely have no issues or feelings of animosity towards any of the names on the ballot. I agree with some and others not at all, and yet some I have agreement and disagreement on many issues but that in no way sways my vote in favor or not. Personally, I don’t vote for a candidate because he or she is a great person or has the best morals and integrity, hell I voted for Donald Trump and I don’t believe he has either of those or he may have a little of both. SIDEBAR! I hate that the president tweets and makes disparaging remarks when he has made progress or had a big win when it comes to the American people as a collective. I look at the president’s whole body of work and see our country moving forward and progress. But that’s not why I voted for him as president, I voted for him because he could get the job done and had the same vision for the country as I do and he as an elected official could make our country the best it could be across all fronts. Kevin Rink has morals and integrity, that has never been questioned and won’t be in question. But again, that’s not the reason to vote for him. Vote for Kevin because he represents your vision and has moved our city forward and progressed making for the betterment of our city and its citizens. I think all the candidates for city council are genuinely good people and have the best interest of the city in mind like Kevin Rink. I don’t think any of the candidates are morally corrupt or integrity is brought into question, but again those aren’t reasons as to why I would or wouldn’t cast a vote for them.
Don’t vote for Kevin because he’s a great guy and would do anything for you, vote for him because he represents your vision for the city and the whole body of work he has compiled since taking office, making decisions as one vote on a council of seven. The moral and integrity that Kevin has is just a plus to his voting record when it comes to the betterment of our city and moving forward.
The great thing about democracy and the election process is you have choice and a right to voice that choice through casting a ballot in November or prior to at the county offices for the candidate you see best fits your vision for the city to move forward or has progressed for the better. Best of luck to all the candidates for city council and remember there’s always another election.