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Iowa City City Council Profiles: Raj Patel

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.

This morning's profile is on local student Raj Patel.

Patel, a former University of Iowa Student Government liaison to the City Council is vying for one of the two At-Large spots in Tuesday's Iowa City City Council election. Check back later for Iowa City Patch.com's voter guide to help you get informed before you make your vote.

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

Raj Patel: I am an Iowa native born in Burlington, Iowa. I moved to Iowa City three years ago for school. I am a student here in Iowa City.

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

Patel: I am 20 years old. I have lived in Iowa City for three years.

Iowa City Patch: What is your profession?

Patel: I am a student.

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

Patel: This past year I served as the University of Iowa liaison to the Iowa City City Council. During my time on the council, I sat with the council at all their work sessions and attended formal meetings. I thoroughly read the agenda's beforehand. During my tenure on the city council we looked at downtown comprehensive plans, permitted moped parking downtown, kept vendors on Melrose Avenue, along with many other accomplishments.

Although my opinion was highly valued by the council, I did not have a vote. I was motivated to run for city council so I could have a vote on some of these issues that were very important to me and so I could represent the entire Iowa City community as opposed to just the University. I have always believed that you can make the most change on the local level.

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

Patel: If elected to the City Council job creation, expanding our tax base, and sustaining our quality of life would be a top priority of mine.

Iowa City Patch: Why do you think you are qualified to be on the city council?

Patel: I believe my previous City Council experience, good work ethic, and dedication to Iowa City qualifies me to be on the City Council.

Iowa City Patch: What voters in Iowa City do you think you will appeal to and why?

Patel: I appeal to a large cross section of this community that a city council candidate may not have appealed to in a very long time. I have knocked on over 5,000 doors throughout my campaign, I have made it through all 25 of Iowa City's precincts. I have also talked to hundreds of students. I have heard every concern from every precinct of our community. It was an incredible experience. I know I have a solid understanding and grasp on the concerns of our community as I have heard them first hand. If elected to the City Council I look forward to continually listening to our community's concerns, finding solutions, and bringing them to City Hall.

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

Patel: Our city faces a vast challenge these next four years. There are many issues that need to be addressed. The common concern echoed to me throughout every precinct is: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

We need to work to bring jobs to Iowa City and expanding our tax base so we can provide adequate funding to the public services we all enjoy here in Iowa City. We can do this by cutting red tape at city hall that makes Iowa City difficult for a business to come to. We need to work to diversify our downtown so it's not a place where only students are going on weekend nights.

There are opportunities to bring business other than bars to downtown while also working to incubate this great community of writers and artists we have here in Iowa City. I will work hard not to sanitize Iowa City of the uniqueness we have. We need to work to promote a sustainable future in Iowa City. We need to keep Iowa City a vibrant place that is attractive to our young professionals, families, and the like. Those a few of the important issues we face.

To hear about all the issues I address please visit my website at www.patelcitycouncil.com

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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