Write-ins join race

Jacob Lane · Tuesday, October 24, 2017
There will be three candidates running for two council positions Tuesday, Nov. 7, during the West Liberty city council election.

Current council member Robbie Rock will be joined by write-in candidates David Smith and Jose Zacarias.

Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Robert Hartman will, once again, run unopposed for the position of mayor.

Write-in candidate David Smith is the only council candidate without previous council experience in West Liberty, but he wants to give back to the community.

“A couple years ago the community and this town really came forward for my family when my daughter had cancer, so I want to give back,” he says.

Smith’s daughter Kayla underwent her last chemo treatment two years ago. He and his wife Tammy have two daughters, Kayla and Haley.

“I think a good part of doing this is helping out the community and maybe understanding our town a little better,” adds Smith.

Smith has lived in West Liberty for 20 years while his wife has been here her whole life.

He currently works at Oral-B in Iowa City as a mechanic, but spent 10 years as a member of the West Liberty Fire Department as an EMT.

Speaking of which, Robbie Rock has decided to give council another go. He’s the only current member of council running again, attempting to reclaim his own seat.

He’s also the only candidate in the council race that will have his name on the ballot, since he turned in the official paperwork.

Rock has worked at the Muscatine County Fire Department for 11 years as a firefighter and paramedic.

However, most in town will know him as a volunteer for the West Liberty Fire Department for the last 15 years, where he also served as chief for several years.

His wife, Nicole, runs Nicole Rock’s School of Dance. Together they have three children, Tyler, Lyvia and Huxley

Rock first joined the West Liberty council last year in order to fill out the remainder of a term started by Felicie Simmons, who moved away from town.

Finally, Jose Zacarias is also running as a write-in candidate for council. He’s not a current member, but Zacarias has served as a member of the council for four years.

“The Latino/Hispanic population needs representation,” he says. “This is one of the circumstances where I’m going to be the representative.”

Zacarias has lived in West Liberty for 33 years. Born in Leon, Mexico, he immigrated to the United Sates.

He moved to West Liberty in 1984, thinking he would only be in the town for three years. Obviously it didn’t turn out that way. “I am part of this community at this point,” he says.

Zacarias has two biological children and two adopted children. He recently retired from his job in West Liberty. He’s also served as a member of the school board.

His first term as a member of the city council ended back in 2015 during a race when eight community members ran for three seats.

The current city council consists of Mayor Robert Hartman and Council Members Cara McFerren, Diane Beranek, Robbie Rock, Melody Russel and Joey Iske.

Polls are open for the city council election in West Liberty, Atalissa and Nichols on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from Noon to 8 p.m.

In West Liberty voting is done in the Activity Center of the Muscatine County Fairgrounds, in Nichols at the Nichols City Hall and in Atalissa in the Atalissa City Hall.

The West Liberty Index will follow-up next week with a more in-depth look at all three of West Liberty’s candidates for city council.
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