Brad Cavanagh: An excellent choice for mayor

Devyn Shea (TheLorian)

On Nov. 2, many parts of the nation will be casting their votes. Virginia and New Jersey have legislative and gubernatorial elections, while cities like Miami and New York will vote for mayor. Another city that votes on Nov. 2 is one right in our backyard… literally. Dubuque is going to the polls to vote for mayor and city council, among other things. 

Roy Buol is not seeking reelection as mayor, which will be the first time since 2005 he will not be a candidate for mayor. In the race to succeed him are two city council members: Dave Resnick (at-large) and Brad Cavanaugh (4th ward). Although I am not a voter in Dubuque or even Iowa, this election is strangely important to me. As a resident of Platteville, Wisconsin, many people like myself and my family commute every day for either school or work. Whoever is the mayor of Dubuque and what they do and say will have an indirect effect on people like myself who don’t even live in the same state. This compelled me to take a closer look at what’s going on in Dubuque politics. 

I, personally, used to be much more involved with the “on the ground” events of politics. Meaning, I used to go to rallies, conventions, meet and greets, parades, etc. I have done things with both Democrats and Republicans, from knocking on doors for Republicans in 2018 to voting for both parties in 2020 and 2021. I have met a wide range of people on the political spectrum, anywhere from the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, to President Joe Biden. I have met two governors of Wisconsin, whom I have a lot of respect for, who just happen to be a part of two different political parties. 

Since the start of 2020, however, I decided to stay away from politics and went from being in the mosh pit to just observing the action. The main reason I did this was because of our hyper-partisan politics. The politics that have neighbors at each others’ throats, the kinds of politics that enable hatred and incentivize ignorance. As a poll worker in a couple of elections, one of which was 2020, I found it mind-boggling that our now former president had blamed his loss on voter fraud. He and his allies (such as Mike Lindell) pushed lies that the election was stolen from them without an ounce of evidence. I was quite taken aback by these accusations, but I didn’t think anyone would go along with it or even believe it. Then the vicious attack on our Capitol on Jan. 6 took place. After this, it became evident that our state of democracy is currently weak. Partisan politics and idolizing politicians who don’t have the people’s interests ahead of their own have put us in a dangerous setting. There is a way to change the current tide, however. It is by electing politicians, public servants if you will, who want to help the communities they live in. We must elect public servants who will not try to undermine our democracy, who will hold office with a sense of humility, who will advocate and fight for the people no matter what. Finally, we need public servants who seek to unite, even when it is so easy to divide. 

As a neighbor to Dubuque, an employee, and a student in the city, I find myself in an interesting position. The race for mayor of Dubuque is not just important to me as someone who lives in the area, who is employed in the city, and who goes to school in the city, but as someone who is an American citizen. This past May, I took a course called “The Working Poor.” It was taught by Brad Cavanagh. I was taking the class through Zoom, and after some time of being in class, I thought to myself: “I’ve never seen someone so empathetic and caring for those who are struggling so much.” Cavanagh cares so much as a social worker, as a professor, and as a member of the city council. Cavanagh deeply cares about those around him. I had the honor of talking to Cavanagh in person about politics and helping him knock on doors. It was so surprising that in a city of roughly 50,000 people or so, so many would know Cavanagh; many of which knew him personally or had a child who knew him. After being in Cavanagh’s class in May, I thought he would make an excellent mayor when he announced his candidacy in the early summer. As many in Dubuque and around the nation are losing faith in their government and democracy, I think Brad Cavanagh can help bring back that faith and trust that is so crucial. I believe Brad Cavanagh is the start of a new generation of public servants who will inspire and help their community, who will uphold our democracy, who will look out for our interests, and most importantly, who will unite us. Brad Cavanagh will be an excellent mayor of Dubuque!

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