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Race for Davenport Mayor: Mike Matson sets sights higher, looks to grow the region

Six candidates are running for Davenport Mayor, hoping to succeed Frank Klipsch when his term ends. News 8 spoke with Alderman Mike Matson about his priorities ...

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Half a dozen men and women are vying for the top two spots in the October 8 primary election for Davenport Mayor. The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the November general election.

Alderman for the 7th Ward, Mike Matson has been there, having been elected alderman twice. He was first to announce his candidacy in February, after Mayor Frank Klipsch announced he would not seek a second term.

"I didn’t have to be pushed, I didn’t have to be asked. I want to lead the city," Matson told News 8 at a campaign event at Veterans' Memorial Park organized by veterans who supported the alderman.

Still the teacher and Army veteran himself is not taking this race for granted, making the that there's no learning curve if he is elected.

"My working with two mayors, a multitude of city council folks,...  I understand the staff, I understand the schools, so I can bring that experience to help with many of these issues," he said.

"Number one priority: public safety. I want to provide more tools, more resources, to the folks that do the job, so we can make this a safe place for everyone."

Matson said he will expand the relationship between schools and the community to grow the city.

"I’d like to bring the community colleges, the local education people, like St. Ambrose and Augustana, and our labor folks, and our chamber folks and our business folks together, because we all have the same issue," he said. "So let’s try to find a way to help our kids find that pipeline maybe so they see an end to where that job is and we can get them and solve our workforce needs."

He's setting his sights beyond the city.

"As mayor of Davenport, you’re also ad hoc leader of the region. And I want to work with both our colleagues on this side of the river and the other side of the river to help grow our region. I believe in Davenport, but I want to help grow the region also."

And he's keeping an open mind when it comes to flood protection.

"To put a permanent flood wall along the river, nine miles, $250-300 million, I don't know how we would pay for that."

"What we do long term, that’s still in the discussion, so I’m happy to hear from a lot of people," he said.

Matson said he plans to keep his day job as a junior ROTC instructor.

"I think being a teacher is a great asset to being a mayor," he said.