Ed Malloy won his ninth term as mayor of Fairfield in November, but now he?s setting his sights on a higher office.
Malloy announced his candidacy Monday for the Iowa Senate seat in District 41, currently held by Republican Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa. Malloy will run as a Democrat.
People have tried unsuccessfully to get Malloy to run for years, he said. It wasn?t until last year that he began to take those pleas seriously.
?I was so happy personally with what we were doing in Fairfield that I didn?t want to disengage from that,? he said. ?But I realized, with the election coming up in 2018, this was the ideal time to run. It was either now or never.?
District 41 contains all of Van Buren and Davis counties, plus most of Wapello and Jefferson counties. Voters in the district will select who they want to represent their party during the primary election June 5.
Malloy?s background is in local government and business. Before he became mayor during the 2001 election, he served two terms on city council. When he moved to Fairfield in 1983, he began working for Danaher Oil Company, a refined oil products brokerage. He became the president of the company and partner in 1994.
Malloy said running a business has given him experience in personnel management, budgeting and building customer trust.
?I?ve carried that into my political positions as well,? he said. ?The biggest challenge was establishing trust with people to get on the council. I had to do the same thing when I ran for mayor, and I?ll do it again running for state Senate.?
One of the mayor?s priorities is to revitalize rural communities. He said Fairfield has led the way in that regard, having earned one recognition after another. For instance, the town was named ?America?s Most Entrepreneurial City under 10,000? in 2003; the ?Seventh best small city in America to visit? in 2013 by Smithsonian Magazine; and named ?One of the best places to escape? this year by Expedia.com.
?In order for the state to have enough revenue, we have to grow it,? Malloy said.
At the same time, he said some of the methods intended to grow the economy have not worked. He talked about how the state has tried to jump start investment by cutting commercial property taxes. He said there hasn?t been much growth from those tax cuts, and instead simply left the state with less revenue.
Malloy hosted a conference on water quality a few months ago, and the issue remains among his top concerns. He supports the water trust fund established in 2010 to provide a three-eights cent sales tax for clean water and recreational projects. He said some state legislators have put forward much more modest bills to raise money for water quality, perhaps generating one-third to one-quarter the revenue of the plan he?d like to implement.
?A commitment to clean water sends the right message about how the issue impacts rural communities,? he said. ?Conservation districts know our watersheds, and know where to apply filters to take nitrates out of the water and hold our soil. Soil retention is as important as clean water.?
Funding public education is near the top of Malloy?s list of goals. He said increasing economic activity will help rural schools across the state like it has for Fairfield. He said the state should continue to invest in skills-based workforce opportunities.
?We have to fund higher education, too, because students from our universities can be the future entrepreneurs of Iowa,? he said.
Runs in the family?
Malloy said he does not come from a political family, and that he?s the only one in the family to have sought elected office of any kind. Perhaps the one caveat is that his father, Edward, was a representative for a police union in Nassau County, New York, which was an elected position. His mother, Gloria, worked at the local middle school.
Malloy graduated from Ricker College in Houlton, Maine, where he was also captain of the basketball team.
He and his wife, Vicki, have lived in Fairfield since 1983, and raised their two children here, Justin and Kelly.
Organizations that Malloy belongs to include Fairfield Entrepreneurs Association (which he helped found in 1989), Mayors for World Peace, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Fairfield Rotary Club, Climate Mayors, Iowans for a Better Future, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and is a trustee of Maharishi University of Management.
If he wins?
If Malloy wins the election to the Iowa Senate, Fairfield would hold a special election to fill his role as mayor as soon as possible.
In the meantime, mayor pro tempore Michael Halley would assume the mayor?s duties.