July 12, 2024

Steve Mullan appointed to Ward 4 seat on city council

Retired teacher and former council member makes his return to the dais

Steve Mullan is back on the Newton City Council.

Following the resignation of councilperson Vicki Wade in June, the city council on July 1 opted to appoint someone to the Ward 4 seat rather than hold a special election. And that someone just so happened to be a former member of the Newton City Council. At the time of his resignation in 2021, he served 15 years.

Two individuals living in Ward 4 had submitted applications to the city wanting to serve the remaining one-and-a-half years of Wade’s term. Apart from Mullan, the only other person who wanted the seat was Newton resident Miranda Caldwell, who has volunteered for many boards and organizations.

Each prospective appointee was given a few minutes to speak before council voted for their choice. Caldwell has lived in Newton for the past eight years, and in that time she has been heavily involved in the community. She has worked with Main Street, YMCA, Kiwanis, Jasper County Cares Coalition, etc.

Although she is currently employed at Newton Village, she has worked in a downtown retail space for a short time. Caldwell said she wanted to put her name up for appointment because she saw a need. Despite only living in town for eight years, she loves the city and wanted to be able to contribute fresh ideas.

“I love being involved in both nonprofit and city and private areas,” she said.

Curiously enough, Mullan continued his speech from the last time he threw in his name for an appointment on the city council. At that time the appointment was to fill the at-large seat left vacant after Evelyn George was elected mayor. Council members decided to appoint former council member Randy Ervin instead.

In his speech, Mullan asked council members to remember these three words: character, compromise and courage.

For each word he spoke about an anecdotal experience from his life. He finally was able to finish his story for “courage.” Like a true retired school teacher, he recalled the address of Teddy Roosevelt and a passage by Ernest Hemingway. He then spoke highly of the city, and its character and its potential.

“We must continue offering incentives to builders and families to join us, adding a variety of housing and amenities,” Mullan said. “More homes and people will encourage our local businesses to expand and make us more attractive to outside businesses as well. We must continue improving our infrastructure.”

Council members should also be ambassadors of Newton.

“We are not perfect, but we’re striving to be so,” he said. “And we are a work in progress. Mary and I enjoy this community and have for a long time. We built our home here and we do what we can to spread its potential. And so I throw my name into the ring — ready, willing and able to face any challenges.”

In a 4-1 vote, Mullan was chosen to fill the seat and was sworn in immediately to conduct the regular city business at the July 1 meeting.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.