Ron Corbett is still out there running for mayor all by himself, though word is that council incumbents Monica Vernon and Brian Fagan – if not others – are biding their time, waiting to enter the race.
On Tuesday, Corbett, a former Republican state legislator and former president/CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, won the endorsement of the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO.
Scott Smith, the council’s president, said Tuesday that the council’s endorsement of Corbett was by a unanimous vote.
The council represents nearly 5,000 workers in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas.
“Ron has a great track record of building coalitions and providing leadership,” Smith said. “We are proud to endorse his candidacy for Cedar Rapids mayor.”
Smith called the trades council’s early endorsement “an unusual step” for the council. But he said the endorsement was intended to send a message that those in the union trades “are looking for a consensus candidate for mayor.” That’s Corbett, he said.
Corbett brought out dozens of union trades workers in mid-March when he spoke outside the city’s flood-damaged and all-but empty Veterans Memorial Building, which is home to City Hall. Corbett castigated the current mayor and City Council on that day, accusing them of embracing a “culture of delay” and failing to get the city’s key, flood-damaged facilities back up and functioning.
Ray Dochterman, business manager for the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local #125, was there that March day, and on Tuesday, he, too, spoke on behalf of the trades council in endorsing Corbett.
“It is time to rebuild this city, and we believe Ron Corbett is the best person to take charge and do that,” Dochterman said.
Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST Inc., on Tuesday thanked the trades council for its backing.
“Like this organization, I want to work together with community members and businesses to create jobs and find the best path forward for Cedar Rapids,” Corbett said in a published statement.