Oct 26, 2023 - Politics

Des Moines Voter Guide: Meet the candidates for Ward 2

Photo illustration of Linda Westergaard and Chelsea Lepley.

Linda Westergaard, left, and Chelsea Lepley. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Courtesy of the candidates' campaigns.

Two candidates are vying for Des Moines' Ward 2 seat in the Nov. 7 election.

Why it matters: The ward represents the city's northeast side β€” an area adjacent to Pleasant Hill and Altoona that's experiencing growth.

πŸ“› The candidates

  • Chelsea Lepley, 41, is a manager at Hatchlings, a local mobile games development company. She has worked on multiple metro boards to promote housing, neighborhoods and community service groups.
  • Linda Westergaard, 71, is the Ward 1 incumbent, serving since 2016. She is Re/MAX realtor and has worked on multiple city and county boards to promote housing and neighborhoods.

πŸ‘πŸ‘Ž Speed round:

🀰 Would you support or oppose a city ordinance to make DSM an abortion sanctuary city?

  • Lepley: πŸ‘ Assuming we can do it in a way that complies with state law.
  • Westergaard: πŸ‘Ž I do, however, support women's rights.

🧨 Would you support allocating a special annual police force to patrol and write illegal fireworks citations?

  • Lepley: πŸ‘ Assuming the police department also likes the idea.
  • Westergaard: πŸ‘

πŸš— Would you support more (πŸ‘) or fewer (πŸ‘Ž) DSM street diets?

  • Lepley: πŸ‘ Assuming they're planned and implemented well (no more sharp unpainted curbs like on Euclid).
  • Westergaard: πŸ‘

❌ Should the city set an attendance policy for council members and the mayor?

  • Lepley: πŸ‘
  • Westergaard: πŸ‘

⛔️ Would you support banning soliciting from streets, regardless of median widths?

  • Lepley: πŸ‘Ž Unless I see more data to demonstrate genuine safety risks. This is a shallow response to a deep problem – let's focus on making it hard to get poor, not hard to be poor.
  • Westergaard: πŸ‘ Yes, but we must follow the law.

πŸ”Ž Going deeper

🧐 What do you think is the biggest problem facing DSM?

  • Lepley: Des Moines isn't ready for the problems it will face in the next 50 years. We need to be a city where people want to live, not feel stuck. We also need to re-envision public safety to include more aspects of security and well-being than law enforcement and first responders.
  • Westergaard: Public safety, neighborhoods and housing. Residents want to feel safe in their neighborhood. We need more of all types of housing for residents.

πŸ€Ήβ€β™‚οΈ How should the city help downtown enhance its vibrancy?

  • Lepley: Alternative question: how should we help other neighborhoods enhance their vibrancy? A lot of areas would benefit from investment in public spaces, pedestrian safety, mixed-use development and workforce housing. Residents all over the city want amenities and access to common space, cultural programming and recreational events.
  • Westergaard: Work to make the businesses, residents and visitors feel safe all the time. Downtown should be a destination that is welcoming and walkable for people of all ages.

😎 What's 1 fun thing voters don't know about you?

  • Lepley: I was a Girl Scout, and my troop started a curbside recycling program for seniors before the city did curbside collection.
  • Westergaard: I love to bake cookies with my grandchildren.

✍️ Summarize the city in five words or less.

  • Lepley: Getting ready for the future.

Westergaard: Something for everyone.

Review where candidates for mayor and Ward 1 stand on the issues.


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