Julie Becker is running for mayor of Dallas Center. Becker discussed her campaign in a YouTube video, saying in March of 2020, the mayor closed local government due to COVID.
“You remember, when America was going to close the country for two weeks to ‘flatten the curve,'” she said. “Two weeks in Dallas Center turned into 14 months of our city hall being closed to the people it serves and to those who pay its bills.
“Every day our local seat of government was shuttered to Dallas Center residents, the people were cut off from the symbolic representation of leadership in our city. Leadership is a necessity in times of crisis, it’s not optional.”
Becker said city officials and essential city employees were allowed to operate with virtually no public oversight for 14 months.
“Who wouldn’t want to stay shuttered for 14 months with no real oversight,” she asked. “It’s so much easier to govern without that pesky oversight or public transparency.”
Becker said it was “tragic” that city hall was closed for 14 months and served as evidence of no real leadership in Dallas Center and no real transparency in operating the city government.
“In times of crisis, elected officials are frontline responders, as are necessary city employees,” Becker said. “I am very angry that while grocery stores and their employees stayed at their post and manned food distribution during the entire crisis, our local government did not think it essential to open our local seat of government, our city hall, for 14 months to the people it serves.”
The mayor, council members and appointed officials would “bump into each other” at the local LGBTQ+, transgender, flag-flying coffee shop and the local tavern.
“Both of which were open while city hall was closed,” Becker said. “And there they would ‘unofficially’ discuss issues. And yes, this is a big deal.”
Becker is running for mayor to provide leadership and transparency citizens deserve in their local city government, she said.
“As mayor of Dallas Center, I will never close the local seat of government for an extended length of time,” she said. “It was wrong that our city government remained closed for 14 months to the citizens it serves and for whom it provides leadership and guidance during times of crisis. This will never happen if I am elected mayor.”
Becker said she will personally man the phones and front desk if need be to keep the “light of freedom” on in local city government.
“Government is an essential service that should never close down for 14 months,” she said. “But governing is much easier when you don’t have to account to those you serve or face them for 14 months.”
Becker said after re-opening in May of 2021 — 14 months after shutting down — the most pressing issue for the mayor was to introduce identity politics into Dallas Center by issuing an LGBTQ+ proclamation, declaring June LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Dallas Center.
“It is not the role of government to promote divisive agendas,” Becker said. “The role of government is to protect the rights of all citizens under the Constitution. Nothing says you are more out of touch with the needs of your community than issuing a divisive proclamation for an LGBTQ+ agenda in a Christian and borthern community like Dallas Center. In a blatant attempt to create a victim class of citizens, to divide Dallas Center and to promote a specific agenda, as if the biggest problem facing Dallas Center after being closed for 14 months was the oppression of the LGBTQ+ community in Dallas Center. There is no place for identity politics in our local government.”
Becker’s YouTube video can be seen here.
Michael Kidd, the mayor of Dallas Center, told The Iowa Standard the mayor and council are “very aware and agree” with Iowa’s open meeting rules.
“We do not have city business meetings at the coffee shop or the tavern,” he said. “We do see each other around town at church, the ball fields, school events, coffee shop, the tavern and restaurants.”
Kidd also said he wanted to clarify that during COVID, City Hall was not open to in-person visitors but was fully open for business.
“Many transactions were handled via the phone or online,” he said. “We also had a pick-up or drop-off window available. During this time the city council met via online conference calls to protect everyone’s health. Just like many other government agencies.”