27 year old’s victory shakes up Des Moines city council


DES MOINES, Iowa — The races for the three Des Moines City Council seats were a mixed bag for the experienced candidates with two incumbents holding firm. The shocker of the night comes from a 27-year-old that spent much of the past year and half as an attendee at council meetings trying to push for change that now she’ll be able to help make as a councilmember.

As of Tuesday evening at 10:30 p.m. all of these results are unofficial. In the at-large city council race, incumbent Connie Boesen led challenger Justyn Lewis 54% to 46%.

In Ward Three incumbent Josh Mandelbaum has a strong lead on the field. Mandelbaum with 67% of the votes. Challenger Cory McAnelly with 20% and Brandi Webber with 13%.

Ward one has been the surprise. 27-year-old Indira Sheumaker received 47% while seven-year incumbent Bill Gray received 36% of the votes. Marcus Coenen also got 17%.

Born and raised in northwest Des Moines, Sheumaker says she wanted to put action to her words after helping organize numerous racial justice marches in 2020. Seeing Tuesday night’s results of Ward 1 left her shocked and proud of the people she’ll now represent as city councilmember.

“I have a strong sense of justice in what I believe is right or wrong so I’m not worried about that. I think the institution is designed to quell change and it makes it hard. My goal is to not be pulled in by any of that. My goal is to be grounded in my community to stay grounded in the people that got me here,” said Sheumaker.

Sheumaker’s only real political experience came after the death of George Floyd when she helped organize marches in the capital city to fight for racial justice. She has been working with the Black Liberation Movement and one of their main fights has been defunding the police. While that has become a buzzword and a hot button issue Sheumaker says her top priority is to keep Des Moines safe for everyone.

“I have no intention to make Des Moines less safe. I want to make it more safe. My goal is to build up safety, build up justice and build up a system where we are not in a hard spot and people are gonna do something that could be harmful but we aren’t perpetuating violence and trauma and bringing in a violent force to tear apart our families our communities for not having resources and not having homes,” Sheumaker said.

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