Iowa City City Council District B candidate Ryan Hall speaks during the UISG City Council Forum in the IMU on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. The event gave students and community members the opportunity to ask city council candidates about issues. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa City City Council candidate Ryan Hall wants to bring young voices to the table

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Ryan Hall aims to bring UI and Iowa City together in conversations of sustainability, affordability, and racial justice.

By Sarah Watson

sarah-e-watson@uiowa.edu

Ryan Hall wants to bring a different perspective to the City Council — a student voice.

Hall, 24, is a nontraditional student at the University of Iowa studying environmental policy as a junior. Hall grew up in the Detroit area, and after attending college in Michigan for two years, he took a three-year gap, in which he served for AmeriCorps in three locations.

In Columbus, Ohio, he worked at an inner-city public school. He then served as a firefighter in Colorado until he moved to Decorah, Iowa, where he worked with renewable-energy efficiency. After biking from Oregon to Washington, where he campaigned about the dangers of climate change, he decided to return to Iowa to finish his education.

“If we are to be a community really leading the way, we need to include new and young voices at the table,” Hall said.

His three-campaign platform items include sustainability, economic and racial justice, and more collaboration between the UI community and the city.

Hall’s No. 1 priorities are sustainability and combating climate change. He said he would support green policies such as transitioning to more renewable energy, building bicycle and walking infrastructure, and continuing the city’s work on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

“I believe that climate change is the No. 1 issue facing humanity,” Hall said. “It’s also the No. 1 opportunity for job growth for public-health sector people.”

RELATED: UI student aims to bring student perspective to City Council

In economic and racial justice, his priorities include addressing affordable housing, transportation, raising wages, and supporting unions. Although the state Legislature has invalidated any power the city government had to enforce a county-wide minimum wage, Hall said he is committed to doing all he can to better wages in the community.

“As far as what the city can do, our contracts can be union labor, our TIF policies can support union labor,” he said. “I come from a union labor family, and I would continue to support it wherever it is to be found and however the city can manage that.”

He said his experience serving in Ohio has made him passionate about economic and racial justice.

“I’ll pull from a lot of my AmeriCorps experience; I was trying to help students who were several grade levels behind get on track to graduation,” Hall said. “Meanwhile, they were combating systemic racism, and it happens here in our community, too.

“That’s why I’m speaking a lot about racial justice because I’m trying to raise wages, have better jobs, have better transportation, address food insecurity, and improve relations with the police.”

As a voice for the City Council, Hall said he would prioritize the city collaborating with the UI to combat problems, and bring more student concerns to the table.

“There exists two worlds in Iowa City,” he said. “There’s the university campus and then there’s the city and its residents. I don’t know that that gap needs to continue to be there. Building a bridge means bringing students together with seniors to tackle affordable housing, it means having the city work more collaboratively with the university to try to provide more housing alternatives.”

 

Fast Facts

  Age: 24

  Experience: University of Iowa Student, served in Americorp

  Education: pursuing Environmental Policy B.A., University of Iowa

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