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Grinnell November Election: Mayoral Matchup, Convicted Contender, Superintendent Search

Khanh Do

Candidates running for local office this November include a convict with outstanding charges, two previous mayoral contenders facing off in a rematch and school board members who will help select the next superintendent of the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District (CSD).

The Nov. 7 election features contested races for mayor, city council ward four and Grinnell-Newburg School Board director at large. Council ward two and council at large are uncontested. All information about candidates has been sourced from personal websites and public records. Direct quotes are from Grinnell League of Women Voters forums featuring the city/school candidates on Oct. 17 and Oct. 23, respectively.


Mayoral Race

Dan Agnew

Incumbent Dan Agnew has served three two-year terms as mayor of Grinnell. Prior to his election in 2017, he served as president and CEO of Grinnell Mutual Insurance for 19 years. Agnew’s priorities are the construction of apartment-style housing on 11th Avenue, the creation of a new water treatment plant and solar field, proactive maintenance of roads and the foundation of a community ambulance service to replace the current private third-party service. In 2021’s mayoral race, Agnew defeated Hammouda with 68 percent of the vote.

Kamal Hammouda

Second-time mayoral candidate Kamal Hammouda, owner of restaurant Relish and former Grinnell College imam, is focused on diversity, labor force revitalization and food insecurity. He and his wife created the Iowa Kitchen in 2020, a not-for-profit that serves free meals once a week to anyone in the Grinnell community. “I am running because not every voice is heard in this community,” Hammouda said. “Not every face is welcome in this community.”

Gary Glandon

Gary Glandon, a veteran, former high school teacher and owner of a local construction and woodworking business, is running on a platform of affordable housing, new facilities for schools, creation of new jobs and government transparency. “I think it’s time for a change,” Glandon said. “We need to start looking forward. We need to figure out ways to bring new people in.”


City Council Ward Four

Matt Karjalahti

Real estate broker Matt Karjalahti owns the local RE/MAX on Main Street. His campaign focuses on growing Grinnell through housing and business development initiatives. Karjalahti’s growth-centered policy stems from experience with nonprofits and investment in the community. “I like the details,” Karjalahti said. “I want to see not just how we could put this all together or take it all apart, but how we can streamline things.”

Rob Corry 

Rob Corry issued a 10-point plan for improving Grinnell, focusing heavily on securing better drinking water, initiating a city-wide recycling program, raising pay for police, repealing the city ordinance requiring train horns and installing a “baby box” at the hospital or fire station. Corry moved to Grinnell in 2020 from Colorado, where he co-authored Colorado’s Amendment 64, legalizing limited recreational marijuana sales in 2012. The disbarred Coloradan attorney has been convicted of misdemeanor assault and domestic violence and faces charges of operating while under the influence and child endangerment, according to the Grinnell Herald-Register. 


School Board Director at Large

Chris Grundler

Chris Grundler has previously served six years on Grinnell-Newburg Connected Parent Teacher Organization. “The School District and the community itself means a lot to me,” Grundler said about his motivations for running. “I’m running to make sure that each student that goes through the system has an inclusive and safe education environment they can learn in.” The school board will soon be tasked with selecting a superintendent for the Grinnell-Newburg CSD. Grundler described his ideal superintendent as someone “that can get buy-in from the teachers, buy-in from the community, buy-in from the students. Someone who really has the best interest of all the key parties involved.”

Joshua Yeager

Joshua Yeager describes himself as a “Christian conservative” who has “very strong opinions” but is “willing and able to compromise when facts persuade me to do so.” When considering what he looks for in a candidate, Yeager said, “I personally am looking for someone a little bit right-leaning.” His goal is to inspire others in the community to be more involved in the education of their children.


Unopposed Seats

Ward Two: Incumbent Jo Wray is a graduate of Grinnell High School and has been on the Grinnell City Council since 2010. She is a lifelong resident of Poweshiek County. 


Council At-Large: Incumbent Byron Hueftle-Worley is a former student at Grinnell College and veteran who has lived in Grinnell for more than 40 years. He has been a council member since 2000.


Director District Four: Jessica Anderson graduated from Grinnell High School in 2001 and moved back to Grinnell 10 years ago. She works at the Iowa Department for Health and Human Services, focusing on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid eligibility. Her priorities are staff retention and exploring the idea of combining the elementary schools. 


Iowa Valley Community College Director District Seven: Paul Pohlson has worked in the insurance and investment business for 40 years. He ran for Poweshiek County Supervisor in 2022.


Director District Three: No candidate is on the ballot for Director District Three. 


Public Measure SF

On the back side of the ballot is Public Measure SF, which, if approved, would renew an existing city tax levy that allows the Grinnell-Newburg CSD to repair buildings and make acquisitions, among other similar projects. All three school board candidates indicated that they support the measure.


Voter Turnout and Registration

Registered students and residents must present a state-issued Voter ID Card to vote. Unregistered students and residents can register on Election Day. To register, students and residents must show valid ID and proof of residence. Students living on campus received an email from Residence Life with a letter that they can print and take to the polling place that shows proof of residence. A registered voter from your precinct may attest for you if you cannot provide documents that prove your identity and address.

Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 7. You can find your polling place on the Iowa Secretary of State website. Results will be available on the Poweshiek County Election Central website


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About the Contributors
Zach Spindler-Krage
Zach Spindler-Krage, News Editor
Zach Spindler-Krage is a third-year political science major and policy studies concentrator. He is from Rochester, Minnesota and has an unbelievable amount of state pride. Zach spends his time hiking, playing and listening to music, trying to submit op-eds for every class writing assignment, and wishing he was in Minnesota.
Henry Horn
Henry Horn, Staff Writer
Henry Horn is a second-year history major from Pasadena, California. He likes riding his bike, listening to songs that don't belong together, and watching soccer. He can easily be bribed with Hot Tamales or a bloody mary sandwich with no tomato but with jalapeños from Jay's Deli.
Khanh Do
Khanh Do, Visuals Editor
Khanh Do is a first-year Computer Science intended. She calls the famous melting pot of culture and food, Hanoi city, Vietnam, home, and so, as you can guess, she is *surviving* D-hall.
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