Iowa State alumnus Joe Van Erdewyk is running for Ames City Council’s Ward 4 seat in the November 5 election. Ward 4 includes much of Campustown and the Iowa State campus.
Van Erdewyk graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in history and currently works as a transit driver for CyRide.
“There are multiple solutions to a problem that people can debate about, and that’s important, but when it comes to how I want to serve Ames is we have to find a way to forge a unified community, because half the population is students — half the population is permanent residents,” Van Erdewyk said.
Van Erdewyk said he feels he can bridge the gap between the student population and the permanent population because he sees how both live in the community through his work for CyRide.
“I see both the students, I also see the working people of Ames who have to have a roommate to afford their rent, who have to deal with the fact that when summer rolls around, their job might have drastic cuts in their hours and therefore they have to go find a second job for three months,” Van Erdewyk said. “Because I’ve experienced all of those things, I can actually find the solutions that make sense.”
Van Erdewyk said City Council needs to be working with Iowa State more and utilizing the creative and technical skills of students.
“Whether it’s how to design a library, whether it’s doing traffic studies in civil engineering classes as a senior project ... If Monsanto can come in and have a full semester-long senior project dedicated to studying plant genetics, we should be able to find ways to utilize the engineering schools and the other schools of Iowa State to come up with solutions,” Van Erdewyk said.
On the incumbent city councilor, Chris Nelson, Van Erdewyk said he can’t speak badly of him, but he feels he can do the job better because of the Ames 2040 plan.
The Ames Plan 2040 is a comprehensive outline of how the city will address goals of the city related to growth. The plan was created in 2018 by the City Council to address the increase in the city’s population.
Van Erdewyk said he spends his free time looking at solutions other cities have used and their effects.
“I really think it’s about blending it all. I think it’s about finding the people who have an interest in a project or policy position and making sure that their voices are heard, making sure that you explain how the policy is working and why you’re trying to achieve it,” Van Erdewyk said.