CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: City Council — Jeff Schneider
Editor’s note: Ahead of the November 2 election, the Times-Republican sent out questionnaires to all of the declared candidates in the city council, mayoral and school board races. We will print responses from one candidate per day in the city council and school board races this week in alphabetical order.
In the city council race, Mike Ladehoff of the First Ward is the only incumbent seeking re-election. Dex Walker is running uncontested in the Third Ward after incumbent Mike Gowdy did not turn in paperwork to seek re-election, and four candidates- Mark Eaton, Barry Kell, Jeff Schneider and Dean Stucky- are vying for two at-large seats after incumbents Bill Martin and Gary Thompson opted not to seek re-election.
Profession: Director of IT at MARSHALLTOWN Company. Oversee my department in Iowa and Arkansas.
Education: B.S. Computer Science – University of Iowa
Family: My wife, Kelli (daughter of Don and Paula Smith), is a Title I Reading Teacher at Anson Elementary and our dog, Windy, is a 16.5 year old Yellow Lab who is doing great! My parents are Dan and LeAnne Schneider (daughter of Lloyd and Gay Cutler) are retired from Farm Bureau and Emerson respectively. My brother, Clint, works at Emerson and my sister-in-law, Taryn (daughter of Bernie and Melanie Johnston), is a Radiology Tech in the Cardiac Cath Lab at Mercy. We all enjoy golfing, traveling together, cooking, and many other things.
Experience: I have a practical understanding of business and technology. I’ve run my own small business and have experienced the opportunities and challenges first-hand. In my current role, my IT department’s main responsibilities include maintaining and enhancing our business systems and processes to continually get better. My job is all about managing complexity which has given me a firm grasp on how to approach complex problems. I understand what motivates people and businesses and that makes me a qualified decision-maker for our city where community involvement is essential to create the right changes. I serve on a multitude of boards for organizations in Marshalltown which has given me the opportunity to know and have positive relationships with many of the people actively involved in the community and those within local government.
1. What do you feel are the top two most important issues Marshalltown will be facing during your term as a city councilor? How do you plan to address those issues? Economic Development – We need more quality employers in Marshalltown and to make our current employers more competitive. I’d continue work the city has started on industrial areas on the northeast side as laid out in the Hwy 14 Corridor plan and work to improve access to necessary resources that employers need like land, water, and other utilities with as little red tape as possible. The goal is to streamline the experience for quality companies to start or expand operations in Marshalltown.
Quality Housing — We need more quality housing to attract people who work in Marshalltown to live in Marshalltown and for people who live in Marshalltown but desire nicer housing to acquire. This creates a natural upward cycle for everyone desiring improved housing in Marshalltown.
2. The city has supported a diverse set of projects this year, such as funding the launch of MPACT. It also agreed to continue making payments toward the Fisher Community Building. What are your thoughts on the city spending on projects involving private entities and nonprofits? They all need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There are a lot of things only a municipality can do and there are a lot of things that should be done with private money. All costs need to be analyzed to see if the programs are an asset or liability to the city and that will help inform the decision.
3. Marshalltown is still rebounding from two natural disasters and a global pandemic. What will the city council need to do to assure Marshalltown positions itself for the best possible outcome? There isn’t much you can do about things that have already happened, but looking forward we need to make sure the city will grow. Managing growth is much better than managing decline. To do this we need quality employers, quality houses, and more residents. Marshalltown has always been a high-end entrepreneurial, agricultural, industrial, and engineering community. We haven’t lost that, but I think we have lost focus on that. Marshalltown produces lots of high-achievers, and while we will never be able to keep them all, I think we should be able to retain more and make it attractive for those folks to move back. In addition to the above, we need to improve our public perception, physical appearance, and quality of life of our community. That’s why I’ve been passionate about CLEANIAC and TRAILS Inc. in my personal life.
4. Marshalltown has a goal of increasing its population and is supporting several development projects to increase housing. What type of housing (single/multi-family, low/medium income) should the city be focusing on to spark population growth? It seems there has been focus low-income housing for the past few years, with some exceptions of course. It’s time to change direction and focus on middle and high end housing. If these types of homes/multi-family units become available there will be upward mobility for all levels of housing due to market forces.
5. Why do you think voters should support your candidacy for city council? I have a positive outlook for the future of our city and am ALL IN on Marshalltown. I have the business experience necessary to make good financial decisions. I am a hard worker and responsible. My understanding of modern technology is unmatched by any of the other candidates or current members of the city council.