Mayor will not seek re-election

Lowrance says no to a second term; filing period begins Monday


Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance has re-considered, and will not run for re-election.

Lowrance confirmed his decision with the Times-Republican in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon.

Lowrance, 67, had told the T-R in April he would take out nomination papers, but the decision was “hard.”

During Thursday’s interview, he cited several factors which led to the reversal.

One was “personal reasons.”

Secondly, he identified significant progress on two city-brokered projects.

“Ground was broken earlier this month on the new, joint police/fire headquarters” he said. “And the ‘Dangerous and Dilapidated initiative got off to a good start last year demolishing five structures.”

Additionally he said the city was in good hands

“We have a good city administrator and council,” he said. “It is time for me to try some other things.”

Lowrance, a retired bank executive, will complete his first term Dec. 31. He was elected with nearly 65 percent of the vote in 2013, defeating fourth ward councilor Al Hoop and Phillip Gavagnan. Lowrance received 1,377 votes to Hoop’s 640 and Gavagnan’s 105.

Businessman Gary Thompson announced in April he would run for mayor.

Thompson is the former owner of the UPS Store on Merle Hibbs Blvd.

If he does take out nomination papers, it will be his second attempt to serve in an elective city position.

In April he was unsuccessful in his bid to be appointed by the city council to fill the then vacant first ward seat, vacated by the death of Robert Schubert earlier this year.

Dan Kester was selected by a 5-1 vote council to fill Schubert’s term, which concludes Dec. 31.

Nomination papers

Monday is the first day eligible residents may submit nomination papers to City Clerk Sheri Coughenour for city elective offices. The final day is 5 p.m. Sept. 21.

On Nov. 7, Marshalltown residents will go to the polls to elect a mayor, and two at-large councilors. Voters in the first and third wards will also elect councilors.

At-Large councilor Bethany Wirin announced plans earlier this year to run for re-election.

At-Large councilor Bill Martin said he would take out nomination papers, as did incumbents Kester and Mike Gowdy.

Martin and Wirin

Martin and Wirin were the top two vote getters in all city councilor races four years ago.

Wirin received 1,377 votes, or 34 percent, and Martin 1,096, or 29 percent.

Wirin is the only woman on the council and is completing her third four-year term.

She is mayor pro-tem, meaning she assumes mayoral duties when Mayor Lowrance is not available. Wirin and her husband, Bruce Wirin, have two young children. She periodically helps her husband in the management of his business, Edward Jones.

She recently was hired for a leadership position with Marshalltown Christian Schools.

Martin is a retired school counselor and educator, who most recently served Iowa Valley Community College District,

Wirin and Martin have taken a strong interest in the budget, street improvements, and joint fire department/police department headquarters approved by voters in August of 2016.

First Ward

Kester beat our eight other candidates at a special city council meeting to pick Schubert’s successor.

All were asked questions on a variety of city-related issues.

Kester told the council he would run for re-election if selected.

He will serve four years if elected in November.

Councilors said Kester’s business experience, and that he and spouse Lora Kester had invested significantly remodeling a downtown property for living quarters, among other factors, convinced them he was the best candidate.

“I see the city facing more and more challenges, especially in setting budget priorities and balancing the budget in the years ahead,” Kester said during the interview.

Since his appointment, he has taken a strong interest in the city budget, and has closely followed progress on the police/fire headquarters.

Kester, a 1985 Marshalltown High School graduate, has served in a volunteer capacity on the Marshalltown YWCA-YMCA board of directors, Night of Stars Committee, Downtown Treasures Tour, and coach of the Central Iowa Scholastic Shooters among others.

Third Ward

Incumbent Gowdy is running for re-election after serving his first four-year term.

“I was open to stepping aside if a qualified younger person wanted to run,” said Gowdy in April. “I do not think that is going to happen. Additionally, there are a number of projects we (the city council) started I want to see finished.”

Gowdy said it is important voters retain experienced councilors because of Schubert’s death. (Schubert was the council’s longest serving member with 25 years experience).

Gowdy has shown keen interest in street construction and the police/fire headquarters project, among other issues. Now retired, he worked 30-plus years as an optician/maintenance technician for Benson Optical and Newton Professional Purchasing. He is commander of The Sons of the American Legion, which is part of the local American Legion Post.

How to file for city office

Nomination papers may be picked up at at the city clerk’s office in city hall, or the Marshall County Auditor at the courthouse, or downloaded from the secretary of state’s website,

Nominees must obtain 25 eligible signatures of voters. Individuals signing nomination petitions must be a resident of the appropriate ward and eligible to vote for the candidate and not necessarily a registered voter.

Candidates elected will take office Jan. 1, 2018.

The mayor is paid $7,000 annually and councilors $3,000 annually.

For more information, contact 641-754-5799, or visit


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or