Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

August 26, 2013

Unfinished business leads to Roberts' council run

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Knoxville — Mike Roberts was elected to the Knoxville City Council in 2007, but before he was sworn in, he accepted the position of Fire Chief. Roberts is again seeking a seat on the council, in part, because he wants to do the things he promised when people elected him six years ago. 

Roberts said he wants to fulfill the obligation he made to the several Knoxville residents who voted for him. One of his goals if elected is to improve economic development in the City. 

He has already been working to bring business to Knoxville. As an employee of Knoxville Manufacturing, Roberts has been working for over a year to try to attract subtenants to the VA campus. Roberts also travels for his duties with the Knoxville Raceway, for whom he has worked since 1999. Through these travels, he has consistently tried to market Knoxville as an entire community. 

Roberts is a lifelong Knoxville resident, with the exception of one year he spent in Des Moines. While living there, Roberts says he "couldn't wait to get home." 

His travels for the race track have also given him glimpses at cities of different size. Seeing these places have given him some ideas about ways to improve Knoxville. He believes Knoxville has a lot to offer, and should tout its proximity to Interstates 35 and 80 to grow. 

Though he did not serve on the council, and is neither employed by the City any longer, he has worked with the City while trying to fill the VA. He said he has a good relationship with City Manager Harold Stewart.

"There's hardly a week that goes by in which we don't have a discussion," Roberts said of Stewart. He was asked about the role of the city manager versus the city council. He believes the manager's role should be to oversee the city, and that direction is probably provided to the manager through closed sessions. 

Roberts stressed the need to encourage businesses of all size to come to Knoxville, while continuing to support businesses already here. He especially wants to encourage his fellow residents to patronize downtown businesses affected by the streetscape project. 

"We live in a community we should be proud of," Roberts said. He wants to help the city move forward and has several ideas to make that happen. 

"I don't want to be one of those people who sit on the sidelines," Roberts said. "I look forward to serving the community."