Mayor Bruce Teague is running for reelection

Bruce Teague speaks during a forum at The Mill during his first, successful campaign for city council. Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Mayor Bruce Teague announced on Thursday he is running for reelection to his at-large seat on the Iowa City Council.

“I hope the people of Iowa City have seen how hard I have worked to listen to all voices and will give me the opportunity to continue serving them as we move past this difficult time into a period of growth, healing and betterment for our future,” Teague said in a written statement.

Teague was elected to the city council in the October 2018 special election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Councilmember Kingsley Botchway. It was his first time running for office.

Teague was elected mayor by his fellow councilmembers to fill the position after Jim Throgmorton, who had served two terms as mayor, decided not to run for reelection in 2019. He was sworn in on Jan. 2, 2020.

Under the Iowa City Charter, the city council elects one of its members to a two-year term as mayor. The mayor remains a voting member of the city council, presides over council meetings and serves as the city’s official representative.

Speaking to Little Village in November, Teague reflected on his first year as mayor, which was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as protests for racial justice and against police violence that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

“This has been a challenging year, but I am so grateful that 2020 happened,” Teague said.

“When it comes to the coronavirus, I think it really did band our community together and show us that we could come together to handle it.”

Turning to the subject of last summer’s protests, Teague began by discussing his own reaction to watching the video of Floyd being murdered.

“As an individual, as a Black man, what I saw in that video crushed me to my core,” he said. “But as mayor, I knew our whole community was hurting, and it was important for people to grieve together as a community.”

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague speaks at the rally at the Pentacrest, May 30, 2020. — Jason Smith/Little Village

The mayor pointed to the 17-point resolution unanimously passed by the city council on June 16 last year as demonstrating that the city is working to address the problems associated with systemic racism. The resolution was modeled on the demands presented to the council by the Iowa Freedom Riders (IFR), who emerged as leaders of the protests in the city. IFR and others have sharply criticized Teague and the other members of the council for moving too slowly to address their concerns, and not doing more than make superficial changes.

Teague said he is proud of the work the council and city agencies has done since last summer, but acknowledged IFR’s criticisms.

“I understand that,” he said. “There’s a need for change, and it should have happened yesterday.” In the November interview, he stressed the actions taken so far are only the first steps.

“We need to make some huge progress,” Teague continued. “This year has sidetracked some of that, because of the major events we’ve experienced. But I do believe we will recalibrate and move forward on making some bold changes within our community that are so desperately needed.”

On his campaign site, Teague lists three priorities for a second term on the city council: promoting inclusive policies and practices, improving expanding public transportation and making respect for human rights the framework for city decisions.

On this last point, Teague wrote, “It is so important for everyone to have access to the essentials of life like food, clean water, housing, education, and healthcare… I believe that everyone that is working should at least make a livable wage so that they can afford to get all of these things.”

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague expressed excitement as the city council passed its 17-point resolution during their virtual special session on Tuesday, June 16, 2020. — video still

There will be two at-large council seats on the ballot in this year’s election. Mayor Pro Tem Mazahir Salih currently holds the other at-large seat, but has said she intends to run for the District B council seat, which will be open since Councilmember Susan Mims has decided not to run for another term.

Megan Alter, a senior manager at ACT, announced in April she is running for an at-large council seat. Last month, Jason Glass, a business consultant and lecturer at the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business, announced a run for city council, but has not yet declared whether he will seek an at-large seat or the District B seat.

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