Ames Forum Featured Two Candidates For Mayor

AMES, Iowa- A candidate forum was sponsored by the Ames Chamber of Commerce. Two candidates are seeking to replace long time Ames Mayor, Ann Campbell.

John Haila has been the owner of an architectural design firm for 30 years, and has served on the Cy-Ride Transit Board, and Campustown Action Association.

Victoria Szopinski has been a member of the Ames City Council, has served on numerous community boards, and is the founder of the Ames Progressive Alliance.

“I listen to the needs and desires of each stake holder,” said Haila. “I always encourage collaboration, while keeping our clients vision and goals in focus, and I dealt with everybody openly.”

“This local election is more significant than any that have preceded because we know there is a growing divide between groups and individuals in this country,” said Szopinski. “I do believe that those challenges which appear overwhelming when we’re looking at the entire nation, can be opportunities for us as a community to do better.”

The Chamber Forum was held along with a live broadcast of the Trent Rice show on 1430 KASI radio. A number of issues were raised including a proposed Ames Healthy Life Center, which is being studied, as the indoor Ames Pool is needing to be replaced.

“ I’m also uniquely qualified being in architecture and engineering for over 30 years I understand what goes in the projects so that gets my juices flowing,” said Haila.

“The healthy life center fits into amenities, could be a significant economic driver, for retaining and attracting businesses, and retaining and attracting residents,” said Szopinski.

Another issue raised was should Ames allow tax abatements for businesses opening shop in town.

“I think abatements are really good tool for the city to use or to incentivize development or businesses that come to town that fit with our vision goals and objectives,” said Haila.

“I think there are some cases where abatements make sense,”said Szopinski. “I think we always have to consider when we are talking about dollars from our community, do those dollars benefit the greatest number of individuals.”

Candidates agreed that relations between the City, and Iowa State University are good.