If elected to City Council in the November race to represent the fourth ward, Rachel Junck would be the youngest woman elected to any political position in Iowa's history.
20-year-old Junck, a senior in chemical engineering at Iowa State, said she believes as a full-time resident of Ames — and a student — she could offer a fresh perspective on the council.
“[A student on the council] would also represent a lot more of the people in ward four … I understand a lot of the issues, I have been my entire life, and that’s why I think I could represent everyone well,” Junck said.
Ward four includes Campustown and the Iowa State campus.
Junck said she is a life-long resident of Ames, and Ames is where she wants to build her future.
When asked what her priorities would be if elected to City Council, Junck said she wants to build an Ames people will stay in.
“[B]uilding an Ames that young people want to move to, and Iowa State graduates want to stay in.” Junck said. “An Ames that everyone who lives here, whether it’s students who live here for 10 months of the year or people who live here year-round and work — an Ames that everyone can call home.”
Junck also said combating climate change would be one of her priorities on the council.
“Ames has made some good strides in the past few years to switch from coal to natural gas and work on incorporating a lot of solar power, but I think we can do more.” Junck said. “Climate change is such a pressing issue, especially for young people. I think we could expand our renewable energy as well as work on sustainability.”
The Ames City Council includes an ex-officio Iowa State student member, appointed by Student Government to serve as a “voice of student opinion” and provide “insight on various topics” during council meetings. The ex-officio, however, does not have a vote.
“I think that a vote would be better than just a voice. The ex-officio does a great job of advocating for the needs of students, but when it really comes down to it they don’t get to vote,” Junck said. “I think that there’s a lot of really important issues that have come up in the past few years pertaining to students where a vote would be really important.”
Junck listed housing, the rental cap, Campustown and the development of Welch Avenue as issues she said she believes a student vote would have been important.
Junck said she does not believe she is too young to be on the council.
“I’m used to being overlooked as a woman in STEM and underestimated, and I don’t think I’m too young to be on the council, because I have lived here my whole life … I know the issues and I know the community and I want to build an Ames that works for everyone here,” Junck said.