Lifelong Muscatine resident Diana Broderson will take over the responsibilities of Muscatine Mayor next month. While she does not plan to leave her current full-time position at the Muscatine Community YMCA, Broderson stated that she will keep regular hours at City Hall. Broderson spoke with the Voice of Muscatine recently regarding her preparations for the position and on a few of the issues which are important to her.
Before deciding to run for mayor, Broderson noted that she did a lot of reading and research to help make sure she knew about everything that was going to be on her plate. Since the election, she has been meeting with city council members as well as various committees, boards and organizations in the community that report to the council and to city departments. “I really have been taking this time to get up to speed on everything,” she said. “I take it very seriously that Muscatine elected me. I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure that I can get as much information as possible to do the best job,” adding that she has found the community to be very supportive.
Broderson said that as mayor she will take an active role with the plans and ideas that are proposed and expressed her desire to search for ways to address issues faced by working families who are struggling with poverty. She noted that even with a relatively large number of high paying jobs in Muscatine over half of the area schoolchildren receive free or reduced lunches. “That points a red flag to us,” she said, adding that she would like to help create a stronger set of parameters for hiring and accepting bids in the community. She emphasized that she would like to see more priority placed on hiring local contractors who pay their full time employees sustainable wages.
With regards to the city’s capital improvement projects, Broderson expressed optimism toward the riverfront beautification and Mississippi Drive Corridor reconstruction. “We need to keep that momentum moving forward.” She also spoke about her plans to include input from young people regarding the city’s decision making process. “I really do not think that we adequately get information from the younger age group in our community. They are the ones who are going to be most impacted by the decisions and choices that we are currently making. We need to have their input in our community and we need to have them take some ownership,” she said.
Broderson also noted that regarding Muscatine’s China Initiative, her focus at this time is on the sister cities relationships. She said that currently the sister cities group is working on finding a clear direction for steps moving forward. “We have some very good possibilities going on.”
Broderson and her husband Rodger have six children and nine grandchildren. When asked what she looks forward to most in her new role as mayor she said, “Just being out there and being more active with the people. Hearing their ideas and being able to actually be a voice for them.”