Isom: Committed to the city’s progress

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of five articles about the five candidates vying for the second-ward seat on the Marshalltown City Council.

Timing is everything.

And that is one of several reasons why Gabriel “Gabe” Isom, 28, is running to represent the second ward on the Marshalltown City Council.

The Emerson Process Management/Fisher Controls employee is one of five candidates seeking the second-ward seat.

F. Leigh Bauder, Jay Carollo, Brittany O’Shea and Bob Untiedt are also running in the Feb. 27, winner take-all special election.

Isom is the political newcomer.

His opponents all have experience in the political arena, albeit limited.

They either applied to the city earlier this year for appointment to the second ward seat, or have run for office previously.

Regardless, Isom said he is up for the challenge to succeed former second ward councilor Joel Greer, who had to vacate the seat Jan. 2 when Marshalltown voters elected him mayor.

Isom said he is eager and prepared to make the jump from volunteer to city councilor.

The latter being in a highly visible public setting where each decision can merit evaluation and sometimes, be hotly contested.

“I had been a ‘hands-on’ volunteer with (Marshalltown) Parks and Recreation, and I was on the original board of directors for I Give a Damn About Marshalltown (a volunteer group created in 2015 by the local Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation to improve Marshalltown’s public image, among other efforts. It counts many residents in their “20s to 40s” as members).

His volunteer initiatives were interrupted for two years when he admittedly “stepped back” to work on a master’s degree in business administration, and later, plan his wedding.

He was awarded an MBA from the University of Iowa in May last year, and he wed earlier this month to Christine (nee Hunt) of Marshalltown.

Consequently, the Kansas City, Mo. native said he is eager to serve again.

“I had the fortune of perfect timing when the second ward seat came up,” he said. “I have the necessary time to devote to councilor duties. I would be dedicated to the job of serving second ward residents.”

Isom said leadership skills in college at Missouri University of Science & Technology (2012 graduate) and in corporate training through his employer would be an asset in serving as councilor.

He specifically cited “Leadership Through People Skills” and Karrass Negotiation & Solutions Selling.

The Marshalltown City Council has held two special budget meetings this month for fiscal year 2019 beginning July 1, and will be holding more.

Isom was asked how he would address a decline in anticipated revenue should the state of Iowa’s annual “backfill” funding to the city of $435,000 be eliminated or reduced (Several years ago the state created “backfill” funding for city and county governments to make up for lost revenue caused when the state reduced commercial property tax rates).

“Having only recently decided to run for the second ward seat, I am still working to get versed with what the (city’s) Capital Improvement Program looks like, what their long term goal is, which I think ties back into the conversation (about hypothetical backfill reduction) he said. “What is a necessity, what is not, as far as the progress of Marshalltown, and that being a need for structural integrity to improvement to the needs and wants of the community. Prioritizing (to determine) what is at the top of the list and what is at the bottom.”

Isom said he has lived in Marshalltown more than five years, with two years in the second ward.

“I do not have a pre-set agenda,” said Isom. “(If elected) I want to go into with open eyes and open ears. My goal is to be unbiased, I want to listen to the community, and make sure as a city we do what we say we will do.”

However, he cited a strong interest to make a Marshalltown a good place to live, work and play.

“I want us as a community, to make Marshalltown a destination, to continue to give people a reason to stay, to make a home here,” he said. “I want the community to give young professionals a reason to put their roots down like I did.”

Isom and his wife have declared a fondness for Marshalltown.

“(We) love the community, and continue to enjoy being a part whether through participating in local events such as Oktemberfest, the art festival, enjoying the Linn Creek Recreation Trail/Iowa River Trail system, to taking our dogs for a walk in the neighborhood,” he said. “I look forward to having the chance to not only represent the second ward, but Marshalltown as a whole.”

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