Cedar Rapids may have just Ron Corbett so far when it comes to candidates who have formally announced a campaign for mayor.
However, Gary Hinzman, director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and a one-time Cedar Rapids police chief, is front and center with his own Web site, “Gary Hinzman for Mayor, A Voice for All People, A Force for Positive Change.”
Hinzman, who has not run for elective office before, has been on Corbett’s mind for a few months now as Corbett, a former state representative and, in that role, a former speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, has readied to make his own run for mayor.
Early in the year, Corbett or Corbett backers conducted a phone survey in the city to see just which names might have some traction in this year’s mayoral race. In addition to the Corbett name, the list included Scott Olson, a commercial Realtor who was narrowly defeated in the 2005 mayoral race; council members Brian Fagan and Monica Vernon; and Hinzman.
In recent weeks, Hinzman joined the other four names on that list in saying that he supported the local-option sales tax for flood relief and property-tax relief, a tax that voters easily passed on March 3.
Once Corbett jumped out and formally announced his mayoral campaign on March 9, Hinzman said recently that he would wait for a time before announcing his intentions.
Hinzman is a national leader in the field of community corrections as exemplified by his position as president of the American Parole and Probation Association.
He has been head of the six-county community corrections operation since 1989, and in that time, he has overseen the creation of a sprawling campus of correctional buildings off Sixth Street SW.
Hinzman came to the agency at a time when it needed to expand and it was facing resistance from neighbors who didn’t want correctional services in the neighborhoods. Hinzman took the center of the operation to an out-of-the-way industrial area of the city, and more recently, has returned some staff members to neighborhood centers in the city.
Hinzman’s Web site says he oversees an $18-million-plus annual budget and 250 employees.
As for Web site, candidate Corbett has one, too: Ron Corbett, “Leadership for Cedar Rapids.”
On the Corbett site, you can buy a T-shirt, coffee mug or dog shirt, sign up to get text messages or e-mails from the campaign and watch a video of Corbett’s campaign announcement speech.
Corbett is vice president for human resources at trucking firm CRST and is former president/CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Kay Halloran has said she will wait until after the state legislative session this spring before announcing her City Hall plans.
The election is Nov. 3.