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Chris Shimp

WATERLOO -- Chris Shimp is resigning his Waterloo City Council seat after less than nine months in office.

Shimp announced he was resigning immediately Friday due to personal and family reasons, which included being the constant target of harsh comments from political opponents.

"Serving the people of Ward 5 has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Shimp said in a news release. "The most important title I’ve earned in life, however, is dad.

"Unfortunately, local politics has become extremely hostile, and I can no longer subject my family to the media attention and harsh discourse that comes along with serving in public office,” he said. “Returning to private life and just being 'dad' is the best move for me right now.”

Shimp, 33, was elected in November by defeating Cody Leistikow in the race to replace longtime Ward 5 Councilman Ron Welper, who did not seek re-election. His term was set to expire at the end of 2021.

The announcement came days after police questioned Shimp about an incident last weekend where his neighbor claimed Shimp had attempted to enter his home. This was the night Shimp had been seen working concessions at Irish Fest.

According to police, the neighbor said Shimp came to his door and tried to get inside around 12:35 a.m. Aug. 4. After about 10 minutes of trying the front and side doors, Shimp apparently left.

Once the sun rose, the neighbor discovered the mailbox attached to his house was damaged, and he called police at about 7:20 a.m.

Shimp denied any involvement when questioned by officers, said Capt. David Mohlis with the Waterloo Police Department, and the neighbor declined to pursue charges.

Shortly before he was sworn in as a City Council member in January, Shimp pleaded to public intoxication charges stemming from an October encounter with University of Northern Iowa police.

Shimp said he takes full responsibility for past mistakes. But he reiterated his resignation was due to concerns about his family and the tone of criticism in general related to his position in public office.

Under Iowa law, the remaining six council members can call for a special election to complete Shimp's term or appoint someone to replace him until the next city election in November 2019. If they appoint a replacement, residents still can petition for a special election.

During his short time in office, Shimp was frequently part of a voting bloc including council members Steve Schmitt, Bruce Jacobs and Margaret Klein. He was instrumental in March helping the council reach a compromise after they appeared to be hopelessly deadlocked on this year's budget.

Courier staff writer Jeff Reinitz contributed to this article.

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