In a significant prelude to the upcoming March special election, six at-large candidates for the Des Moines City Council congregated at Brody Middle School to voice their perspectives on some of the city’s most pressing concerns. The forum, attended by over 40 community members, served as a critical platform for candidates to outline their stances on homelessness, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) system, and climate change initiatives.

DART System: Funding and Services in Focus

The forum kicked off with a discussion on the DART system, spotlighting its need for additional funding and the quality of its services. Candidates expressed varied views, emphasizing the importance of equitable contributions from the region, the necessity of shelters at bus stops, and the need for thorough research before allocating further funds. The consensus highlighted the regional significance of DART, underscoring the collective responsibility in enhancing its services.

Addressing Homelessness and Affordable Housing

The conversation shifted to the critical issue of homelessness and the city’s affordable housing crisis. Candidates shared poignant insights, stressing the need to humanize the homelessness issue and ensure housing accessibility for all, including vulnerable populations and individuals with criminal records. The forum revealed a strong inclination towards expanding affordable housing options and bolstering support services to address the root causes of homelessness.

Climate Change and the ADAPT DSM Plan

The candidates also tackled the topic of climate change, particularly focusing on the ADAPT DSM climate action plan. While acknowledging the reality of climate change, several candidates admitted the need for further research on the city’s climate action plan. The discussion underscored the importance of integrating such plans into enforceable ordinances to ensure they lead to tangible actions rather than remaining idle.

Upcoming Opportunities to Engage

The forum concluded with a reminder of additional opportunities for the public to engage with the candidates before the special election on March 19. These events offer a vital chance for Des Moines residents to further explore each candidate’s proposals and visions for addressing the city’s challenges.