Liz Sporrer is seeking the at-large seat on the Pella City Council which is up for election on Nov. 5. She is the Communications Corporate Manager for Vermeer, a company with which she has worked for seven years.
Sporrer grew up in Pella and attended college in northwest Iowa. In the time since receiving her degree, she has lived in a few different communities before returning to Pella with her husband.
This is her first time running for office. She chose to get into the race because, over the last couple of years, she has seen new endeavors attempt to come to Pella, only to run into a “road block” at the City government level.
“When you look at the history of Pella, we were founded by a risk-taker,” she said. The town has always taken chances and done things differently. She hopes to be part of a city council who works with entrepreneurs to bring new businesses and opportunities to town.
While she expresses disappointment with some decisions made by the current council, she wanted to share how much respect she has for those who serve, as well as her fellow candidates. She knows serving the City is a time-consuming endeavor.
But part of her job is talent acquisition. What she has learned through that job is that people do not want to move here.
“There is so much here,” she said. “What can we do to break that stigma?”
Her research has shown that the median age of a Pella resident is 34.2 years. She is the median age, but on the current council, there is no representation of working young professionals.
“I feel that voice needs to be more prevalent at the table,” Sporrer said.
She loves that everyone can see the Dutch heritage in a tangible way. She would like to see this preserved, especially the community center, but she also wants to see the space better utilized. If elected, she would work to fully vet the facility and take it to the next level.
Sporrer is a proponent of the South Central Regional Airport. She grew up on a Century Farm and fully respects and values the positions of the members of the agriculture community who stand against the project. But she sees a greater benefit to combining the Pella and Oskaloosa airports and provide a safer way for businesses to travel by air.
She struggles with the issue of disc golf at Big Rock Park. The way the issue unfolded was a real disservice to both sides, she believes. Both sides have a valid argument, and she believes the park can be preserved for nature while also promoting community experiences.
“All I see are opportunities,” Sporrer says of Pella overall. She believes most of the challenges the community faces stem from miscommunication. Her vision is to bring representatives of major corporations, small businesses, the council and every other stakeholder in town to create a dialogue to help identify challenges and the best way to address them. Everyone should work toward a goal of a better community by prioritizing resources.
“What I have been allowed to see and hear has been a true delight,” Sporrer said. “So many people are passionate about this community.” She went on to say, “The biggest opportunity is our people.”
Sporrer’s view of Pella is that it was founded by a risk-taker and built on innovation and a strong work ethic. Dutch heritage, she believes, is more defined on the qualities displayed by the people and not necessarily just architecture. While she supports maintaining the image on the streets, storefronts, etc., what really demonstrates the town’s character is who is on the inside.
She is concerned that while there has been business growth in town, there has been a slow population decrease. The red flag to her is that people come to work here, but choose not to stay here.
“We need to be seeing growth in our community,” she said. This ties back to housing, as there needs to be options at the kinds of homes available, in various price ranges.
“I want everyone to find a great place to live in our community,” she said.