Cahill: ‘Always looking for new challenges’

A long-time resident and educator is making her second attempt to represent Marshalltown’s first ward.

This time she wants a different outcome.

Sue Cahill, 58, was unsuccessful earlier this year to be appointed by the city council to complete the unexpired term of the late Bob Schubert.

Schubert died in March.

He had represented the predominately working class and ethnically-diverse first ward 25 years.

By Iowa law, the council could select a replacement. Schubert had been elected in November, 2013 to represent the ward through Dec. 31.

They picked first ward resident and local businessman Dan Kester after a competitive process where all nine candidates vying for the right to replace Schubert answered a series of questions.

Councilors voted 5-1 in favor of Kester over current mayoral candidate and businessman Gary Thompson.

On Nov. 7 however, it will be first ward voters making the selection between Cahill and Kester.

Cahill, a widow and the mother of six sons, hopes her roots in the ward will make a difference.

She and family moved to Marshalltown in 1990.

The former Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center (now UnityPoint Health Marshalltown) had hired her late husband John.

The Cahills found a home and have lived there in the first ward since.

A Kansas City, Mo. native, she is in her 19th year of employment with the Marshalltown Community School District.

She is currently instructional coach at Woodbury Elementary School, also in the ward.

In her previous 18 years at Woodbury, she worked as a bilingual kindergarten teacher and librarian

“I enjoy my new job,” she sad. “I am always looking to taking on a new challenges. I love Woodbury School, the kids, the families and the staff. Over the years as a resident and educator, I have really come to know them … they are the meat of the district. I have been in their homes. I have walked by their houses. I am ready to take on a new challenge of serving on the city council.”

Cahill also told an audience at at Chamber of Commerce City Council Candidate Forum last week she is running to “help move Marshalltown into the future.”

She said her skills in identifying alternative funding sources and working with people would make her an ideal candidate.

“Working in the school district is not unlike city government,” she said. “There is a limited amount of funding, meaning priorities are identified and choices made. At Woodbury, I have been part of that decision making process. I have had to make those tough decisions.”

Cahill said she is making her second attempt to represent the ward because “I felt strongly we need someone with deep roots in the community … someone who understands it. As a 27-year ward resident, and Woodbury educator, I want to represent my neighbors and the city.”

If elected, Cahill said she work to ensure Marshalltownians are safe, and the community offers amenities which would make it attractive for current residents to stay as well as attracting new.

She said those amenities apply to the business community.

“We have to help our businesses, she said. “Our community must be attractive for customers. I love what they have done downtown, creating senior and moderate-income housing at Marshalltown Senior Residences (formerly the Iowa Wholesale Building in the 200 block of East Main) it is a spectacular building. Jim Clark’s Calhoun Apartments in the 100 block of West Main Street is another fine example. We need to continue those efforts. Housing will increase traffic, in turn, residents will patronize restaurants and grocery stores. We have done some beautiful things downtown, such as the new Gallery Garden (100 block of East Main)

Providing housing and other assets which would make Marshalltown attractive to employees of Emerson Process Management/Fisher Control, Lennox Manufacturing and those of other employers is important.

Cahill identified a downtown icon as one meriting serious consideration.

“I am a proponent for making the Veterans Memorial Coliseum a destination, one that would be ideal for hosting events,” she said.

Last week the city council voted 7-0 to support a resolution letting a team of grant writers prepare an application which, if approved, could bode well for making needed improvements in the nearly 90-year old structure.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or