Wade Kelley

Wade Kelley

Courtesy photo

WAVERLY — Wade Kelley hasn’t run for office before, and he’s only been in Waverly for the last couple of years.

But he believes he’s got a better idea of what the residents of Ward 5 want than the council member currently occupying that seat.

Kelley, 40, who works at the John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, will run for the Ward 5 seat currently held by Tim Kangas.

Kangas announced in June he would seek another term in office, the only one of four council seats on the ballot in November to run for re-election.

Kelley holds a metallurgical engineering degree from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a master’s degree in industrial math from the University of Northern Iowa. His job title at John Deere is Six Sigma master black belt.

Kelley declined to go into many specifics about what he felt Kangas could do better, but said recent zoning decisions — from agricultural to residential land — were a major factor in his deciding to run.

“We just don’t feel that the residents of Ward 5 are being well represented in these decisions,” Kelley said. “It seems like there’s a feeling of choosing outside of the residents’ wishes.”

He said he also was against a proposed solar panel field in his ward, which hasn’t yet come before the City Council.

Kelley said if he had been involved in the green bridge decision, he would have voted yes on repair — Kangas voted not to repair it in a split 4-3 vote. Kelley said, however, he didn’t believe a vehicular option was the way to go.

“I can’t support a two-lane bridge, because it forces people out of their homes,” Kelley said.

He stopped short of saying he would have voted for the pedestrian-only bridge, like Kangas did, instead saying he was a data-driven person who needed more information.

“Throughout all of this, I am trying to remove the emotional piece out of it,” he said.

Several candidates in Waverly this year have mentioned the city’s taxes and utility rates, which Kelley agreed were too high.

“We moved to Waverly two years ago; we knew the taxes were high, and they’ve gone up since then,” he said.

He said he wanted to dive deeper into the city’s expenditures before suggesting ways to cut spending.

Kelley mentioned he approved of the Champions Ridge project, opposed eminent domain proceedings related to the airport’s expansion and opposed repairing 20th Street.

“Four million to repair a road that currently doesn’t affect a lot of people?” Kelley said. “That’s one that, again, I would like to understand better. If it’s just potential future development, we can postpone or cancel.”

Just like in his day-to-day work at John Deere, Kelley said he would use a data-driven approach to problem solving if elected to the council.

“Identify the need and what’s the question being asked, and using data to answer the question,” Kelley said. “I believe I bring a unique skill set to problem-solving and data analysis that I would like to offer to the community.”

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Multimedia Reporter

Multimedia Reporter at The Courier

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