MUSCATINE — Climate change, marketing of the city and the future of the roads were all topics of conversation when the candidates running for Muscatine City Council came together Tuesday evening for a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

During the forum, Ward 5 candidates Kirk Edwards and John Jindrich, as well as the four candidates for a vacant at-large seat — Daniel Salazar, Larry Murray, DeWayne Hopkins, and Kerry Denison — answered questions provided by the League as well as attendees. Absentee voting has already started. The election is Nov. 5. 

The opening question, which had been provided to the candidates before the forum by the League, dealt with climate change and how Muscatine could respond. Jindrich spoke about encouraging staff to use resources wisely. He also spoke of the use of solar energy but felt Muscatine should keep its options open. Salazar said he hopes to form an energy management team to create a baseline of electrical use in the city and set goals to improve usage. Murray feels Muscatine Power and Water (MPW) has a good system and questioned if the charging of electrical cars is powered by coal burning if there is really a savings. Hopkins explained it was a simple concept to “shut the lights off” and said MPW is always monitoring improvements in power production.

When asked about a strength they would bring to the table on the council, Denison cited his ability to communicate with people effectively. Hopkins said his experience as mayor for two terms gives him insight into the city’s problems. Murray commented that he is a normal person and feels that is who Muscatine voters want on the council. Salazar said he is a student, which teaches him to learn more about subjects and to find the best solution. Jindrich cited his ability to make leaders. Edwards said experience as an investigator for the state public defender’s office had given him strong fact-finding skills.

A question from the audience asked the candidates’ thoughts on the exterior marketing strategy for the city.

Hopkins said he did not believe it was good enough. He said people feel Muscatine has a bad reputation and that correct information needs to be distributed. Murray said the current marketing can bring people to town but does nothing to bring them back or keep them in town. Salazar cited the need for renewable energy and things such as charging stations for electric cars. Jindrich believes Muscatine has great facilities and many strong points but not a great marketing strategy. Edwards also said a better job could be done marketing the city. Denison explained Muscatine needs better branding.

During the forum, unopposed candidates also addressed the public. Candidates included incumbent mayor Diana Broderson, Ward 1 candidate Dennis Froelich and Ward 3 candidate Peggy Gordon.

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