Dubuque City Council elections: Larson hopes to shine a light on Ward 3
BY THOMAS J. BARTON
Kate Larson wants to shine a light on Dubuque’s North End — both metaphorically and literally.
Larson, a 32-year-old advertising account manager at Boyd Gaming, is running for the Ward 3 Dubuque City Council seat in the Nov. 7 city elections. The ward includes the city’s North End.
Incumbent Joyce Connors is not seeking re-election. Damian Waid, 32, an events and marketing coordinator at Cartegraph, also is running for the seat.
Dispelling stereotypes and perceptions about the North End being crime-ridden and impoverished and promoting a city initiative to improve home ownership top Larson’s list of priorities.
“(I want to help) the North End get a piece of the economic prosperity and growth that it seems the rest of the city is enjoying,” she said.
That includes increasing street and alley lighting and continuing the city’s expansion of security and traffic cameras — which now number close to 900 — to deter crime by aiding police in quickly identifying and apprehending perpetrators.
She also supports a campaign by Greater Dubuque Development Corp. and the city to convert dilapidated rental properties into single-family homes. The intent is to eliminate slum and blight and promote home ownership.
The development group is in the process of collecting polling data in partnership with Loras College to gauge how residents feel about the area as part of an effort to combat real and perceived issues facing the North End.
“I think that, unfortunately, there are some racial undertones in some of that perception — ‘If people don’t look like me and don’t act like me or dress like me, then they’re not people I want to be around,’” Larson said. “And we need to work on that, and make sure everyone feels welcome and have a truly inclusive community.”
She feels the recently completed Upper Bee Branch Creek restoration project “is a great place to start making those connections and chipping away the perceptions of the North End.”
Larson was appointed to the city Parks and Recreation Commission in 2013. During her time, she successfully pushed for reducing the use of pesticides in parks and making them more accessible to those with disabilities.
She also would like to see city leaders commit to another pet park, allow leashed dogs in more city parks and add staff to reflect increased maintenance responsibilities.
Larson also has been active in the local arts scene and is a member of the social advocacy group “Let’s Do This, Dubuque,” an organization that works to “keep progressive values alive,” according to its Facebook page.
Larson said that her time on the commission has given her valuable insight into how the city operates and fiscal restraints that impact city priorities and budget decisions.
“The 3rd Ward needs a strong leader on City Council,” she said. “Someone who will advocate for them and shine a light on the good that we have to offer. I’ve been that leader on parks and rec. I’ve worked hard and done my homework, and I’ll do the same for them on the City Council.”
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