I’m supporting Chelsea Chism-Vargas for Des Moines City Council, and the reason why is a lot different than my usual line of thinking.
In the past, I’ve been perfectly candid about my disappointment with several elected officials in the Des Moines area, including my current city council member, Joe Gatto. When I heard that Chelsea was running, my initial excitement centered around the possibility of removing another self-serving political figure from office.
So I began to look into her candidacy, wanting to learn more about the person who would be challenging the incumbent. Off the bat, Chelsea’s personal story was impressive — born and raised on the South Side, daughter of an immigrant, currently working as Advocacy Manager of Iowa for Planned Parenthood.
Then, I decided to start volunteering for her campaign and saw her in action.
While training volunteers for her canvass kickoff event, instead of reading off three or four key issues mentioned in her literature, she reminded everyone, “These are my neighbors.” She talked about knocking on doors in a friendly manner, advising volunteers to gesture with peace signs to put neighbors at ease.
For the first time in a while, I felt motivated to help this candidate for office, rather than complaining on Twitter about someone I wanted to be voted out. Chelsea is the real deal, genuinely concerned about her neighbors’ safety, futures, and well-being.
My wife and I moved to Des Moines in 2014, first living downtown for four years, then moving to the East Village. The city has changed a lot in the short amount of time that we’ve been here, and Chelsea is uniquely qualified to represent the growing changes of Ward 4.
By Will Oppermann