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Iowa City Council Candidate Profiles: Michelle Payne

Patch.com is doing profiles on all of the candidates for City Council before the elections so you can be informed before you make your vote.

Here's a profile on Michelle Payne, an operations supervisor with MidAmerican Energy and a member of the city's Planning and Zoning committees.

Payne, who says budgeting, community development and regional planning are the most important issues to her, is seeking one of the two At-Large seats up for grabs in Tuesday's election, filling the slot by At-Large council member Mike Wright, who decided not to run.

There will be a primary Oct. 11 that will narrow the field of At-Large candidates from seven to four.

Iowa City Patch: Where are you from originally and what is your tie to Iowa City?

Michelle Payne:  Hometown - Orion, IL. Transferred to the Iowa City area in 1995 with my job at MidAmerican Energy Company.

Iowa City Patch: How old are you and how long have you lived in Iowa City for?

Payne: I am 45 years old (born March 22, 1966). I have lived in Iowa City since 2005

Iowa City Patch: What is your profession?

Payne: Operations Supervisor with MidAmerican Energy Co

Iowa City Patch: What motivated you to run for city council?

Payne: I am currently serving in my second term on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission.  My grandfather and father both served on the city council in my hometown, so I have local politics in my background.  Both of my children are now grown, and the time is right for the next step (from Planning and Zoning to council).

Iowa City Patch: What would your priorities be as a council member?

Payne: We need to grow our community through economic development.  Growing the existing businesses and encouraging new development will increase our tax base and create more jobs.  Which will, in turn, encourage people and families to buy homes, build homes, and purchase goods and services in our community.  This all leads to a prosperous and thriving community.  In the next four years I would like to see all areas of our community grow and thrive -- downtown, the Towncrest area, Riverfront Crossings, and Moss Green, just to name a few.

All of the communities in the Corridor need to work together to bring out the best in each individual city or town.  We need to engage in the idea of 'fair trade' in the Corridor in order to promote each city or town, without hurting the economic growth and development in a neighboring community.

I would like to make it easier for home owners, businesses, developers, and others to do business with the City.  Some ideas to achieve this, are to streamline the process, where it makes sense.  Encourage City Staff to review processes and procedures and become more efficient with paperwork.  Review codes and ordinances and update where possible.

Iowa City Patch: Why do you think you are qualified to be on the city council? What voters in Iowa City do you think you will appeal to and why?

Payne: I served on the Board of Adjustments from 2006-2007, and am in my second term on the Planning & Zoning Commission.  In serving on the board of commission, I have interacted with city staff members on at least a monthly basis for over five years.  Also, as a single parent I have juggled parenting, a demanding job, and doing extra activities (earning my four-year degree), which indicates I am well organized and motivated.  At work, I have dealt with budgeting, working on teams, and supervising work groups of up to 22 people.  All of the things combined make me well-rounded and prepared to represent my community on the council.

I believe I appeal to those who want continued diversity on the council.  Also, I should appeal to those who want someone who has business sense, and those who wish to grow our entire community representing them on the council.  I am a common sense person with a personality-type that will ask questions, and not quit until satisfied with the answers.

Iowa City Patch: Which issues do you feel will be the most important in the upcoming election?

Payne: How to keep the budget balanced. Developing our community. Fair play within the Corridor. Regional planning.

Background of the profile series:

Iowa City Patch sent the current Iowa City Council candidates a list of the same seven questions to provide people with a greater understanding of the individuals who are running in the Nov. 8 election for the Iowa City Council.

The seven council members serve four year terms, with four seats up in November (effective 2012) for one District A, one District C and two At-large slots on the council. The remaining three slots are up in 2013 (effective 2014).  City elections are held every two years.

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