The Gazette Editorial Board’s search for civic-minded folks to join our new Community Conversation Corps has been fruitful. Our first three members will be on board beginning Tuesday.
As advertised, they will participate in weekly Editorial Board discussions. We want them to ask questions, offer ideas and challenge us. And they’ll have the opportunity to write about their experiences, too.
We had two dozen applicants in this initial round, and virtually all of them met our primary qualifications: strong connections to their community and/or neighborhood, and an open-minded approach to public policy and community-building. Choosing was not easy but it was a good “problem” to have. Now it’s time to officially introduce them to you:
l Linda Seger — The president of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association has been a strong, reasoned voice for her flood-stricken neighbors and also a participant in various city and community groups. In June, she received the city’s citizenship award. Retired, she spent most of her career in health care services, plus a stint as an overhead crane operator.
l Karl Cassell — The executive director of the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission also heads the Regional Economic Development Institute, created in 2011 to provide a support network for minorities who want to start a business and develop leadership skills. Both positions take him deep into neighborhood challenges and opportunities. He is also active in many community groups and formerly was director of the Jane Boyd Community House that serves youth and families.
l Macy Koch — This young entrepreneur and native of Mechanicsville has been immersed in Cedar Rapids since the flood. She has a startup company, RecBob, as well as a consulting business, working with other entrepreneurs in Cedar Rapids. Her community ties include the board of Murals & More, a non-profit focused on telling local history through public art.
Welcome aboard to all! We look forward to what you add to our conversation over the next several months.
n Jeff Tecklenburg is Gazette Opinion Page Editor and Gazette Editorial Board coordinator. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 398-8262.