Laura Roussell dedicated her more than 30-year career to serving customers and communities across Iowa as a senior community affairs manager with Black Hills Energy.

Her list of volunteer work and involvement with various civic groups takes up nearly half a page of her resume.

A lifelong Dubuquer who serves on two civic advisory commissions, Roussell retired early in June “so that I could focus on my community to the best of my ability.”

Roussell will face incumbent Ward 2 Dubuque City Council Member Luis Del Toro in the Nov. 5 general election. The ward stretches from John F. Kennedy Road to East 32nd Street, and from the Northwest Arterial south to Dodge Street.

The 62-year-old hopes to engage residents in protecting the environment, fighting climate change and creating community partnerships to “build a vibrant future for Dubuque.”

“I bring a passion for serving and a connection to the community and experience working side by side with people, listening to them, understanding their needs and match(ing) that up with how we can serve them,” Roussell told the Telegraph Herald. “Those connections can only be deepened by stepping up to the council table.”

Roussell said her top priority would be to build “strong, safe neighborhoods where families can thrive.”

That means creating more safe, affordable housing and improving access to quality child care by expanding city partnerships with community service agencies and moving forward with a poverty prevention plan and analysis of impediments to fair housing, Roussell said.

The founder and current president of Dubuque Trees Forever and a member of the city’s Resilient Community Advisory Commission, Roussell said she is committed to protecting Dubuque from climate change and continuing progress on a plan to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2003 levels by 2030.

Dozens of Dubuque-area citizens have asked city leaders to declare a climate emergency, presenting a petition urging city officials to “add regulatory teeth” to the climate action plan, which is based on voluntary compliance.

“I think we are very much on the path to address that,” Roussell said.

A violinist who used to perform with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Roussell supports a voter referendum on whether to move forward with a multimillion-dollar revamp of the Five Flags Civic Center. The city is pursuing a third round of studies into possible expansion of the aging arena.

“This is an amenity that brings people to your community and can help attract and retain employees,” Roussell said of Five Flags. “I would like to see if there are additional revenue streams that we can use to help fund it and not (put it) solely on the backs of the voters.”

Copyright, Telegraph Herald. This story cannot be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior authorization from the TH.