DES MOINES, Iowa — The first week of October serves as a reminder that the first Tuesday in November is approaching quickly, which means Election Day.

Voters will decide city and school elections in just over a month’s time. And for residents of Ward 1, a vacant seat needs to be filled and there are seven candidates to choose from.

One of those candidates is Kathy Hellstern, who has been living in Des Moines for 20 years and is the president of the River Bend Neighborhood Association.

“I decided to run sort of out of the blue,” said Hellstern. “People kept asking me ‘are you going to run’, and I am not a politician I have never considered running for office anywhere.”

Hellstern said that her role as a neighborhood leader in Ward 1, running for this vacant seat would be comparable, but on a larger scale.

Some of her top priorities include affordable housing and housing for those without it, business development and the safety of roads and sidewalks in the district.

“Walkability, our streets are not the safest for people who don’t have access to vehicles,” said Hellstern. “I live in a neighborhood that’s very pedestrian. People don’t have multiple cars so they are walking….there should be lines on intersections, there should be quieter streets, the road diets should be taking place but people should be able to ride a bike to be able to get to their job.”

Hellstern, like other candidates, want to restore people’s faith in the Ward 1 seat after being left vacant by Indira Shumaker. She added that it’s great for people in the district to have so many people running so that the voice of the constituents can be heard after a couple years of no representation.

You can find out more about Hellstern and her campaign on her website.