Can you tell us a little about yourself? This can include family, occupation, etc.
My parents were lifelong residents of Marion County. My family has been in Marion County since 1850. I grew up in Tracy, Iowa, and went to Tracy Elementary and then to Twin Cedars. After high school, I attended William Penn College and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences and Education. In 1993, I returned to Iowa and in 1996 started teaching at Knoxville High School. In 2000, I married my wife Jackie, who teaches choral music at Knoxville High School. We live in Knoxville. I have one son, Martin Duffy V. He is married and lives in Oskaloosa. He has one daughter, Lily, and another on the way.
Why did you choose to run for mayor?
I was asked to run! When called, citizens should serve. I want the position of Mayor because a lifetime of experience may just be what Knoxville needs at this time. I’ve been a teacher, coach, businessman, manager, and executive. I started business both large and small.
What is the greatest existing challenge Knoxville faces today, or will face in the next four years?
The problems facing Knoxville is not unique. Our young people are leaving Knoxville to live in larger cities. We need jobs that keep people in Knoxville.
What is Knoxville’s greatest asset?
Knoxville’s greatest assets are its’ proximity to Des Moines; Lake Red Rock and the title, Sprint Car Capital. We have excellent access to outdoor activities, a good school system, business opportunities, and property that are priced right.
Is there a priority or a group of priorities you feel the next city administration should address immediately?
Knoxville’s priorities should be addressing the future of the VA property; community involvement in school improvement; assistance for senior citizens; and establishing a positive business climate that encourages capital improvement and innovation that will help provide the jobs we need for our future.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was raised here in Knoxville and aside from my time in the military and school have lived here most of my life. I am a 1971 Graduate of Knoxville High School and a member of the Knoxville Alumni Association. I am the Publisher of the Iowa Veterans Magazine which will be going from a local regional paper to a statewide paper the beginning of 2010. I have been a Veterans Advocate for many years and a lobbyist for Veterans for the past 4 years. I am very active in the local AMVETS Post and currently hold the State Office of Adjutant and a member of the American Legion Post here in Knoxville. . I was the Commander of the local post from 2005 until this year and now hold the post of Adjutant/Finance Officer. I also help found the Iowa Veterans Task Force.
Why did you choose to run for Mayor?
I believe that I can help the city in many ways. I was a 5+year member of the City Planning and Zoning Commission and I have seen ways that I believe the City can improve. I also believe that I can help the City with growth and since I am self employed I can make the time to put forth the effort it is going to take to do this.
What is the greatest existing challenge Knoxville faces today, or will face in the next 4 years?
Unquestionably it will be the economy and how to keep providing the same services on a tighter budget. We must expand out tax base to be able to do this. We can not keep adding taxes upon taxes to the population and expect to get by. I see Knoxville and Newton in similar situations with the loss of major industries. The main difference is that Knoxville didn’t have to lose theirs but it was ignored despite many years of warnings. Newton is starting to prosper now. This is in part because of its Mayor Chaz Allen. Chaz is a lobbyist for Iowa Telecom and does an exceptional job. I am at the Capital 2-3 times per week during session and Chaz is also there handing out his cards asking companies to come visit Newton and many are doing so. I can do this as well; I have the time and opportunity.
Knoxville is a city with a unique quality in that we harbor the best racetrack in the world for Sprint Car racing. I certainly believe that we need to support and expand the industry of racing here in Knoxville.
What is Knoxville’s greatest asset?
Beyond a doubt it is the people of Knoxville. The people of Knoxville are a caring and hard working people that volunteer and work hard towards the betterment of the City. What better example than the volunteers who worked painting the square this summer and the ACTS people that went about cleaning up the city a few weeks ago.
Is there a priority or group of priorities you feel the next administration should address immediately?
Yes. There are actually several but the most immediate need is to bring more jobs and economic development to the city. We need to work in conjunction with the New Chamber of Commerce and work out a scheme that when a prospective business comes to Knoxville that they can meet with the Chamber and City Officials at the same time and go away with the idea that Knoxville is willing to work with them instead of against them
2nd priority should be that the City should be more "user friendly" I believe that local contractors should be given notice on any upcoming bids for City Contracts and if they have made a bid within 5% of the lowest bid that the local contractor should get that bid. This rejuvenates the Cities money 4-5 times rather than sending it out to outside sources.
3rd priority should be that the City is much more transparent. This has begun already with the Cities Website but it should be improved so that if someone has a question they can go to one person in City Hall and have their answer within 48 hours. This improves communication in 2 ways. It leaves more time for City officials to work on city problems and 2 also gets the citizenry their answers with a 2 day period.
Putting it bluntly the status quo isn’t working so well so we need to improve it. I have the time and certainly the energy to work on these and other problems. I can do my job anytime and I am not hampered by working at the time when most problems arise. I would continue the Coffee with the Mayor Program that Mayor Sprafka began as well as the VA Task Force but I would expand the latter to include the Veterans Service Organizations of not just Knoxville but the surrounding areas as well. I have worked hard on putting something on the VA campus that would compliment the VA’s efforts and would continue to do so.
Several times I have been at the Capital and found bills that would affect the City of Knoxville and have notified the City of them. As Mayor I could work on either getting these bills passed or not depending on how it could adversely affect our city.
I would like to thank the people in advance for voting for me and giving me the opportunity to serve the City of Knoxville again.