Veteran Dyersville Mayor Jim Heavens has announced to the Dyersville Commercial that he will not be running for the mayor’s seat in the upcoming Nov. 2 election, ending an almost decade-and-a-half stay in office.
After weighing several factors, Heavens surmised that it is simply time to make his exit from the political arena.
“I’m going to enjoy watching from the sidelines,” Heavens said. “When you get involved in city government, it kind of gets in your blood, but I think it’s just a good time for me to move on.”
While he said it was a decision he spent some time contemplating, one stand-out factor brought him a great sense of solace — with this move, he would be able to go out on top.
“I don’t think you could get out at a higher point in Dyersville’s history than right now,” Heavens said.
Heavens began his mayoral career winning his seat in 2003, but went on a brief political hiatus following his 2013 defeat in the city election and another narrow loss in the Republican primary for an Iowa Senate seat in 2014.
He said he respected the decision made by the voters and had planned on bowing out, but he changed his mind when asked to run again by friend and then-mayor Dan Willenborg in 2017.
“The only reason I came back was because Mayor Willenborg asked me to help out and I think I’ve done that,” Heavens said. “I think I could look him in the eye and say I did what he would have done if he were here.”
In the midst of his 14th year serving as Dyersville’s Mayor, Heavens also noted that on a philosophical level, that constitutes a long enough stint in office.
“I’m a believer in term limits — I truly think you can stay on too long,” Heavens said.
In addition to the reasoning stemming from his personal political doctrine, Heavens said he is about to turn 70, is running four businesses and wants to spend more time with his family.
On the heels of Heaven’s announcement, two candidates have already filed paperwork to get on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Alvin Haas, who served as Dyersville’s mayor from 2014-2015 when he defeated Heavens, has already launched a website, alvinhaas.com, as well as an active Facebook page, Alvin Haas 2022.
“I’m concerned about our debt,” Haas told the Commercial. “I realize interest rates are low but they aren’t going to stay low forever. I’d also like to see the public get a little more input as to where the money is being spent and how.”
Political newcomer Jeff Jacque, who has received an early endorsement from Heavens, has also announced his candidacy and aspires to build upon some of the accomplishments the council has achieved in the last several years.
“Being this is my hometown, I think I know what will be good for Dyersville,” Jacque said. “I think the citizens deserve a good mayor and I will do my best if elected to fulfill the needs of the community.”
City Clerk Tricia Maiers said Haas and Jacque are the only two who have filed for the mayor’s seat as of Sept. 1, adding the filing deadline for the upcoming election is Thursday, Sept. 16 at 5 p.m.