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Race for Davenport Mayor: Dan Portes says he can bring business acumen and people skills

Businessman Dan Portes is one of six candidates running for Davenport Mayor. The top two vote-getters of the October 8 primary election will advance to the gene...

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport holds its primary election on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, and the seat for mayor is hotly contested by six candidates hoping to replace Mayor Frank Klipsch who is not running for a second term.

Dan Portes, chief executive officer of MRG, a human resources management company, says his business experience can help with his civic duties if he is elected mayor.

"I’m pretty good at collaborating and working with others," he told News 8 at a recent meeting in his office to discuss his campaign.

"It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. I have a business that I started 30 years ago, a very successful business."

But he said, it was a natural move.

"I love doing great things for Davenport. This is like the top job of being able to give back to the community and a group of people came to me and said, Dan, it’s time you should do this, and I jumped in," he said.

Portes points to his work with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce to get a local option sales tax passed to renovate schools and his efforts to get grants to improve the city's center.

"We’ve done a good job of developing our downtown. We now need to protect it."

He said he would rely on experts and council members to set the parameters for flood protection, with one premise:

"Having River Drive closed for three months is not acceptable."

Then there are the things he wants to do as mayor:

"I want to develop the river. I want to bring people down to it, to enjoy it and we don’t have that," he said, citing Dubuque and Clinton as models.

Portes said he wants to hire consultants to evaluate options in maintaining the aging sewer plant. He's also got ideas on how to fix the streets.

"One of my ideas is pretty simple one. I just want to put signs out on streets and say, 'We see what you see. This road is in disrepair, and  we intend to repair it,' and give them the date," he suggested.

He said he wants to fight crime through prevention.

"I’m really interested in trying to prevent crime. I’ll leave the policing up to the police chief."

Portes isn't opposed to resorting to a tool he has used before to develop the region.

"There`s a new idea that`s out there, which I think I really favor. It would be a regional tax, a quarter penny."

While it would be something the community would have to vote on in a referendum, he said, 'with that we could do some really big things for our community."

Portes said he plans to stay a businessman. The Davenport mayoral system was intended to be a weak mayor system, he explained, with the mayor providing leadership but relying on a strong staff and administration.

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