DES MOINES, Iowa — Two Tuesday’s away from Election day, with voters needing to decide on city and school elections.

Several seats are up on the Des Moines City Council, including the mayor’s office. Voters in Ward 1 will need to decide a special election to fill the vacated seat of Indira Shumaker.

Seven total candidates are running in the race: Rob Barron, Chris Coleman, Kathy Hellstern, Rose Marie Smith, Kimberley Strope-Boggus, RJ Miller and Dennis McCullough.

McCullough is a parent who works full time. He describes himself as an independent who wants to focus on community needs and spending tax dollars appropriately.

“I want to see someone try something different in Des Moines,” said McCullough. “…The candidates are all nice people but they are status quo. Nobody’s going to actually question why money is being spent this way.”

McCullough said that he used to work for DART, and he wants to look in the yearly funding the city provides compared to state and federal entities. He questions why funding is going up along with, what he says, are rising costs.

When McCullough talks to voters, he said a major theme starts to arise: curbing violence in the community.

“One of the major subjects that are being brough up to me is crime, alright. People are not feeling safe. One person I actually did speak with, and trust me he is very passionate about it, he lives in the Riverbend neighborhood,” said McCullough. And just because we live in the Riverbend neighborhood doesn’t mean you should have to worry about your own safety day and night.”

McCullough also said education is another top priority for him and it became a focal point during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic.

In terms of infrastructure, he wants to see if there are ways to bring back old stores that were convenient in location for the older population.

“I would love to see about getting a grocery store up on Merle Hay Avenue,” said McCullough. “Losing that grocery store at Merle Hay really hurt them.”