In the Nov. 5 election, Cedar Rapids voters will choose three members for city council.
Incumbent Scott Overland is challenged by Sofia Mehaffey in District 2. There are two open at-large seats and three candidates running: incumbent Ann Poe, Patrick Loeffler and Jorel Robinson. Incumbent Scott Olson is running unopposed in District 4.
Little Village is interviewing the five city council candidates in contested races. These interviews are a follow up from the candidate guide that was published earlier this month.
Patrick Loeffler, a labor union leader and small business owner, said he’s running for the Cedar Rapids City Council to help others. It’s the same reason he and his wife, Kymm, opened Corner Store Apothecary & More, he explained.
The Czech Village store, which opened in February 2017, sells CBD oil and hemp-based products. Loeffler has intractable epilepsy and uses CBD oil to control his seizure activity.
“We opened this [store] up to help more people and spread the word because I’ve got my life back and I want everybody else to have that opportunity,” the at-large candidate said.
As a small business owner, Loeffler said it’s important for Cedar Rapids businesses to be supported and recognized, and the phrase “buy local, build local” has been a big part of his campaign.
Loeffler also serves as co-chair of the Master Facilities Oversight Planning Committee for the Cedar Rapids Community School District. He said he believes there are ways for the city council and school board to work directly with one another.
Addressing public safety, homelessness and flood protection in Cedar Rapids are other priorities for Loeffler.
“We’re the size of a city that we shouldn’t have a homelessness issue,” he said in a recent interview. “We’ve got enough vacant, empty buildings that we can refurbish them. We can set up these temporary shelters in Cedar Rapids. There is some type of funding mechanism out there. There are different entities that are willing to donate that are compassionate and want to help people. We just have to seek them out.”
Loeffler said he would be able to bring the skills he developed while negiotiating contracts as vice president of the Carpenters Union Local 308 to the city council.
“I’m really good at bringing people together, finding that common ground and building on that common ground,” Loeffler said.
Loeffler believes his experience working with different developers in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas would also be beneficial as the city moves forward with deciding what should be built at the First and First West site. That decision has to be informed by input from residents, Loeffler said.
“I will dedicate myself to making Cedar Rapids a better city,” Loeffler told the audience at a candidate forum in September. “This is my passion, to help people, help everybody, not just my union members or the construction world. It’s about helping Cedar Rapids. … Cedar Rapids has a lot to look forward in the future, and I really want to be a part of that.”