Des Moines City Council Ward 3 Candidates Make Their Case

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Polk County Auditor, Jamie Fitzgerald, is expecting record turnout at the polls this year and one of the reasons for that is the race for the Ward 3 Des Moines City Council seat.

Collectively, the candidates for Ward 3 spent over $300,000 on the campaign for a position where they are only making $26,000 per year.

Here are some questions Channel 13 Reporter Laura Barczewski asked the candidates:

If you are elected, what is your main focus regarding development?

Abshir Omar, Ward 3 Candidate

"So when I look at people working in the City of Des Moines, being the engines of our economic development, if you live in the City of Des Moines, you should be able to live in the city. You should be able to afford it and not need government assistance. So my focus is pushing development towards mixed income equitable development. Where we have housing stock available for those in our working sector, the working class of Des Moines that can afford to live in the city," Omar said.

Michael Kiernan, Ward 3 Candidate

"I think the strength of Des Moines is when it all works together. I think there's no doubt that the neighborhoods now need more attention than they've gotten. We've really focused on downtown over the past decade and we are seeing that pay off. But right now the arteries, that go to the heart of our city need attention and need to focus on the neighborhood based commercial districts. And strengthening our neighborhoods and that gets back to infrastructure as well," Kiernan said.

Josh Mandelbaum, Ward 3 Candidate

"We should really be focusing on our corridors and how we connect downtown to the neighborhoods. So in the third ward it's focusing on Southwest Ninth, Fleur, Sixth Avenue, University, Ingersoll and making those corridors more accessible, more walkable, bikeable and transit accessible and in the process you make them safer," Mandelbaum said.

If you are elected, what is your main focus regarding crime and public safety?

Abshir Omar, Ward 3 Candidate

"So first of all we have to reestablish that trust and also making sure we have a neighborhood resource officers one per neighborhood. That can actually be the boots on the ground meeting neighbors, building that trust with the community, to start figuring out who's who and what's going on. But we have to reconnect the community with its police department and make sure the community trust their police department."

Michael Kiernan, Ward 3 Candidate

"I think we have a great chief of police and I think it's important that we start to address the issues around public safety. In my opinion, we have a mental health care crisis facing this community that takes up a lot of police officers' times. I think you have to get back to community based policing and that requires putting more capable bodies on the street and getting back to neighborhoods," Kiernan said.

Josh Mandelbaum, Ward 3 Candidate

"I think we should be focusing more of our resources on the crimes that matter most. So violent crime, gun crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, and for example I think we should make low level drug possession a low priority and we shouldn't be using Des Moines' limited resources enforcing federal immigration law," Mandelbaum said.

If you are elected, what is your main priority?

Abshir Omar, Ward 3 Candidate

“The top three issues that I’m focusing on are social justice, economic justice and environmental justice. I think those three issues encompass a vast majority of the issues that Iowans face, especially Des Moines residents, on a day to day basis. They are very holistic in scope,” Omar said.

Michael Kiernan, Ward 3 Candidate

“My main focus is public safety. I think we need to address public safety in Des Moines. Really what drove me into the race was when a father got shot in front of his three kids and it’s time to address public safety and the issues that go along with it,” Kiernan said.

Josh Mandelbaum, Ward 3 Candidate

“I think Des Moines needs someone who is going to stand up for water quality and the ongoing water quality debate. We have serious water quality problems in our state and Des Moines residents are on the frontlines of facing those problems. I think we should focus on public safety and it’s important that we get the resources that our police and our fire need to keep our community safe and I’ve engaged a lot with our first responders and I’m proud to have the endorsement of our police and firefighters in this race. And I think we should focus on creating strong neighborhoods and that is everything from taking care of basics like roads and infrastructure, to thinking about how we coordinate between our council and our school board, to thinking about how we pull some of the success we’ve experienced downtown out into neighborhoods,” Mandelbaum said.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and if you need to register or find your polling location head over to the Secretary of State's website.