The Ottumwa Courier


July 16, 2013

Finding candidates for elected office an uphill battle


"I think a diversity of candidates in any situation just makes things better," he said. "You have more choices. You have more ideas coming to the table."

Women also rarely run for City Council or mayor in Ottumwa. Addison was the city's most recent female council member, whose first and only term ended in January 2010.

"It's always kind of baffled me because I think there are a lot of ladies in this community who would definitely be an asset to have on the council," Rodgers said. "They seem to do well at the polls, but getting them to sign up is another matter."

Addison agreed, noting several women in Ottumwa who would be "dynamite" on council.

She's one of only five women to ever be elected to Ottumwa's City Council. The other three were Laura Siegel — the first woman ever elected to Ottumwa's city council, in the mid-1980s — Sarah Sels, Darlene Peta and Rhea Huddleston.

"It used to be that it was always one person in the family who worked," Addison said. "A good portion of people in Ottumwa were that way until it became necessary for both people to start working in order to be able to survive. When that happened, we lost the ability to get people to be active."

But women have always seemed reluctant to run for a council that was predominantly male, she said.

"I think some are thinking, 'Will I even have a voice?'" Addison said. "And I think a lot of women either don't want to take the time or make the time. They're reluctant simply because they have a lot of responsibilities ... and they don't have the time to devote to council.

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