O’Shea: ‘I will focus on safety, beauty and spending’

Earning votes, and then convincing Marshalltown youth to vote, is part of one young candidate’s strategy to winning a Marshalltown city council at-large seat Nov. 7.

“I have a voters list,” Brittany O’Shea, 31, told the Times-Republican. “And people I associate with are not on the list. They generally don’t vote in city council elections. I am hoping to motivate more people to vote in this city election.”

Going door-to-door, as done in her Highland Acres Road neighborhood, and then throughout town, is in her game plan.

Also included are yard signs and networking with groups such as the I Give a Damn About Marshalltown organization.

O’Shea emphasized she has scheduled meetings with city department heads regarding pressing city issues.

She has developed a platform centering around making Marshalltown a community that offers her three children and those of others, “a safe, beautiful, community providing them with opportunities and support.”

If elected, she pledged: “To do whatever I can to make that (platform) possible. I offer a different perspective than most current council members. It (perspective) can serve as a benefit to everyone to hear different points of view.”

Her perspective is shaped by living in Marshalltown eight years — time to observe the town’s pros and cons.

(O’Shea and husband moved to town in 2009, when he was offered employment with Emerson Process Management/Fisher Controls).

O’Shea was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Iowa State University in Ames. Consequently, she is eager to share problem-solving ideas on civic issues in both.

Her perspective has been forged by leadership — she advanced from cashier to management at a Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee store.

Locally, she became active with the Fisher Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization four years ago, and this school year, is its president. (Her three children, ages 8, 7 and 4 attend).

Budgeting, learning to advocate policies, and working with others toward a common goal make up the PTO skill set.

Her work in PTO sparked in interest to seek an appointment last year on the Marshalltown Community School District Board.

A seat became open unexpectedly when a board member abruptly resigned.

She competed with several others residents, but was not selected in a vote by school board members.

Undaunted, she moved her sights on the city council.

Other planks in her platform are improving community appearance, while reviewing the former Neighborhood Watch program.

“Nobody wants to live in an ugly and unsafe neighborhood,”

she wrote.

If she earns one of two at-large seats Nov. 7, O’Shea said she will investigate and discuss a uniform city-wide trash pick-up system and a comprehensive recycling program.

She candidly acknowledged establishing a uniform, city-wide system could be challenging.

“It is not beautiful to have trash sitting out because there are multiple garbage collectors, all picking up on different days of the week,” said O’Shea. That results in trash being seen throughout the week. Trash also invites animals.”

Enhanced code enforcement and removal of blighted structures would be enhanced and continued.

The lack of a uniform recycling program is a major concern.

“There is not a comprehensive recycling program in town, and I feel that it would benefit the community to investigate the options exist to establish such a program,” she said.

Regarding safety, O’Shea said she would study re-establishing the Neighborhood Watch program while also soliciting the views of the Marshalltown Police Department.

“The Crime Stoppers security cameras (to be installed throughout the county) are a positive addition in terms of safety, and I think enhanced communications will serve to increase safety measures as well. We have a great police force, and all members of the community should feel safe reaching out to them.”

Another critical part of her platform is spending.

“I was raised in a frugal household,” she said. “My parents instilled values such as ‘don’t spend what you don’t have,” and ‘be prepared for it (an item) to cost more than you think,’ she said. “I have been able to utilize these values in my own life and consider it of utmost importance to be conscientious of all types of spending. The city should be operated the same way. Property taxes are high in Marshalltown, and budget issues will continue to be of paramount importance in coming years. The budget must be balanced even if that means cutting expenditures.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com