Race for Davenport Mayor: Steve Duffy says he’ll change the way the city communicates

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- When Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch announced he would not be running for a second term, he opened the field of candidates wide open. Six candidates are running for mayor of Davenport. On October 8, they must clear the first hurdle by becoming one of two top vote-getters in the non-partisan primary.

Steve Duffy, a retired insurance man, is one of them.

News 8 caught up with him on a Monday afternoon, September 30 at his home. The car enthusiast showed off his pride and joy, a dark green 1932 Ford Roadster.

In the passenger seat, sat a life-sized mannequin dressed in a red T-shirt, the words "Steve Duffy for Mayor" emblazoned on it.

"That’s my campaign person," Duffy joked. "I call him Clyde."

Clyde didn't do much talking but Duffy was happy to drive home his own message.

"Davenport is Steve Duffy," he said. "I’ve lived my entire life here in Davenport, Iowa. I’ve volunteered for youth activities, Big Brother Big Sister programs, I managed the swimming pools when I was in college. I served on the RiverCenter, I served on other departments for the city, and I handled their insurance and their claims."

As mayor, he said he wants to champion two constituent groups.

"My priorities are public service. That’s number one," giving more resources to law enforcement and first responders, he said. "From talking to the police department and people in the policemen association, I need to work with them to help increase the police departments and their departments."

His second priority: the youth.

"I’m very concerned about the young people," he said. "Not just in the city of Davenport, but in America."

"Juvenile crime, we need to get a handle on that," he said.

Taking a page from his decades of experience coaching and mentoring youth to prevent crime, he told News 8:  "One thing that I’d like to approach the police department with, or the chief police department, is a police athletic league. A police athletic league is a national program, where police officers work with various kids up through say fourth, fifth grade, and they coach them in basketball, flag football, baseball whatever. But they develop a relationship with kids at that younger age."

On flood mitigation, he preferred a temporary wall.

"My take is, the tax payers would never stand for the cost of a permanent flood wall. It would be too high of a cost to do that. " But he adds, "we do need to protect all the people in the city, including everybody downtown, as well as the businesses downtown."

Duffy said having spent his career working with municipalities has taught him one lesson.

"When I was in business, and I represented self-insured municipalities for nearly 40 years, all the major cities in Iowa, counties in Illinois, part of Nebraska, I always urged my staff including myself to return a phone call.

It's the one thing he wants to see change as mayor.

"One thing I hear when I call city hall? Nobody calls me back."

It's why he has included his number on his calling card.

The Davenport primary election is on Tuesday, October 8, 2019. The two candidates with the most votes advance to the general election in November.

Check out the full interview below:

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