DES MOINES, Iowa — Four total seats are up for election on the Des Moines City Council: three ward representatives and one of the two at-large seats.

Carl Voss, the incumbent, is just wrapping up his first term on the Des Moines City Council. He told WHO 13 News that he was proud of the progress the city has made during that time, regardless of how annoying some types of progress can be.

“Are there things that we could, should be doing more or less of? And so I think they’ve noticed that we’re doing more for streets, some complaints about why are you tearing up so many streets or so. Well how do we fix things? We’ve got to tear them up,” said Voss. “So sometimes progress can be a pain in the arse, but we are working our way through that.”

When Voss ran back in 2019, he focused his campaign on fixing streets, mental health resources and clean water initiatives. Now, for this election cycle, Voss wants to look at homelessness in Des Moines. He told WHO 13 News he would like to see a tiny homes pilot program for homeless individuals to see how a potential program could work. He also wants to have the Des Moines Public School District involved in more public conversations with the council, as he views the district as a critical tool for attracting and retaining families.

His opponent, AJ Drew, is a newcomer in the political world. He said during early 2020 he became more tuned in to local politics and that is where he believes his interest in seeking office started.

In terms of a campaign platform, his overarching theme is more communication, transparency and inclusivity in local government.

“Why aren’t we actually actively reaching out to people and saying ‘hey we want to make these changes, here’s the ideas, we have to implement them, let’s get your feedback and come up with a solution that everyone’s happy about’,” said Drew. “I’m not saying these changes don’t need to be done but how they’re implemented, how they’re done there’s usually a negotiation area for that kind of stuff. And with a little bit of a change, a little bit of a twist, I think we’d have less people feeling negative about city government.”

Voss doesn’t say policy changes have been good or have been bad at the local level. He just wants some type of open communication with Des Moines residents to allow them behind the curtain of how decisions are made.