Cahill pledges to be first ward ‘voice’

Gowdy champions youth

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on Wednesday night’s Times-Republican-Iowa Valley Community College sponsored City Council Candidate debate. Today’s story focuses on challenger Sue Cahill in the first ward and incumbent Mike Gowdy in third ward.

Thursday’s story showcased mayoral candidates Joel Greer and Gary Thompson.



Nearly eight months after his death, the memory of the late Bob Schubert lives on.

Schubert, who died in February, served the working-class dominated and ethnically diverse first ward for approximately 25 years.

He was cited as an influence by city council candidates Mike Gowdy and Sue Cahill Wednesday night at the Times-Republican-Iowa Valley Community College City Council Debates held on the campus of Marshalltown Community College.

Gowdy in running unopposed in the third ward.

“During a conversation at the American Legion, Bob suggested I run in 2013,” said Gowdy. “I followed his advice. It has been a pleasure to serve the residents of the third ward since.”

Cahill said she admired Schubert as a true representative of the people.

“He was a highly respected public servant,” she said.

Cahill is running against first ward incumbent Dan Kester.

Kester was selected over eight others — including Cahill and current mayoral candidate Gary Thompson — to complete Schubert’s term at a special April 3 City Council meeting.

The incumbent is vice-president of sales and marketing at Marshalltown Co. He was unable to participate in Wednesday’s debate because of previously scheduled business trip.

However, Cahill, 58, outlined her vision for the ward and Marshalltown.

She is a 27-year resident of the ward, and is in her 19th year of employment at Woodbury Elementary School, also in the ward.

She is an instructional coach, having previously worked as a bilingual kindergarten educator and librarian.

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.

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

She gave opinions on several community issues during a question and answer session moderated by Managing Editor Jeff Hutton of the Times-Republican.

— With expectations a nearly $435,500 “backfill” provided by the state to the city will be reduced or eliminated in the immediate future, Cahill said she is an “eternal optimist” and would work with fellow councilors and city staff to set up a viable plan to prevent staff cuts and offset reductions to basic services such as public safety, street repair, and others.

“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 “due process” is being followed by the city and two homeowners on the edge of southern city limits who desire to sever their properties from the city. The petitioners allege they are not receiving city services for taxes paid, a claim the city vehemently denies. Two hearings have been held by the City Development Board — a state entity who has authority to rule in the matter — to evaluate evidence from both sides. The CDB has scheduled a third hearing Nov. 8, and has up to 90 days to issue a ruling.

“I support the decision by the city to pay $35,000 in underground electric utility improvements installed by Alliant Energy on North 13th Street earlier this year, she said. “The city and 13th Street business district had previously, and jointly invested thousands of dollars into the street. The street — once dilapidated — has been renovated … empty store fronts are occupied.

— Cahill said she endorses the city giving funds to the Marshalltown Regional Partnership.

“The MRP, Marshall Economic Development, and Convention & Visitors Bureau all work to support the city and help it grow,” she said. “it is mutually beneficial.”

For third ward-Mike Gowdy

Gowdy was invited to make brief remarks at the debate since he is unopposed.

The 66-year old retiree from a Newton optical company is a Melbourne native, was first elected in November, 2013.

He succeeded Marla Grabenbauer who retired from public service, but is still active as a local businesswoman with a Main Street enterprise.

His prime motivation in running for a second term is “to see through” several projects, such as construction of the joint Marshalltown Police Department/Fire Department Headquarters.

(A groundbreaking was celebrated earlier this week. The site has been graded and cement will be poured in the immediate future).

Gowdy, who recently stepped down as Commander of Sons of the American Legion, praised Marshalltown young adults, who he said were the community’s future.

He said it was gratifying to see one (Brittany O’Shea, 31,) running for a councilor-at-large seat.

Gowdy said he enthusiastically endorsed the city funding the Marshalltown Regional Partnership.

“The MRP does a great job selling Marshalltown to the state and the nation,” he said.

Gowdy said a significant council accomplishment was keeping the city on sound footing financially.

“We had a report from the city finance director at a city council meeting earlier this week which showed a positive outlook of cash reserves, plus a previous report, which showed the city was rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investment Service,” he said.

He also commended City Administrator Jessica Kinser for her efforts as she nears her first anniversary with the city Nov. 15.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or