Tama Council Q&A: Emily Babinat
Tama City Council Candidate: Emily Babinat (incumbent)
Profession: Case Manager at Iowa Total Care serving individuals on Medicaid LTSS Waivers
Education: Graduated from South Tama in 1996, Bachelors in Social Work from Loras College,
licensed social worker
Family: Married to Jason Babinat. We have three boys, Gabriel, Ethan and Alex
What motivated you to run for this office?
I was first appointed in 2017 and then elected. Since I
have lived here all of my life and am raising my kids here, I wanted to help make this town the
best it can be!
What qualities and behaviors should school board/city council members and mayors exhibit?
Being able to look at all sides of the issues is very important. I also think not making snap
judgments and thinking everything over is very important. I know citizens get frustrated if we
don’t answer a problem or concern during a meeting. This typically means we don’t have
enough information to make an informed decision. It also means we typically have put a lot of
thought and research into it when we do make a decision.
What do you see as the primary roles and responsibilities for the position you are running for?
As a City of Tama council member I think it is important to work for all citizens, not just the ones
that come to meetings, email or call me. Being able to balance all of the needs of our
community is also a top priority. I also think working with other organizations is important. We
have several small committees that have formed recently and come to the city with ideas for
community betterment. I see the council’s role with these groups is to support them. Also
having involvement in bigger groups, like Tama County Economic Development and The City of
Toledo. Working together with Toledo is important. Our two cities need to work together in order to grow.
How would you handle requests if approached by an individual? Special interest group?
I have handled these requests multiple times as a City Council member. I answer them all the same. I need to see all the information and check with all parties involved. Sometimes it’s simple and other times it is more complicated. As city council members we should never make decisions or promises on our own. We are part of a team and need to discuss it as a team.
Why is it important for people to vote in school board/city elections?
I think it’s important to vote in order to have your voice heard. Local elections are the best place to have your voice heard!
What challenges do you see small, rural communities like yours facing today as compared to larger cities and suburbs? What do you plan to do to help meet those challenges as a city council member?
In the last few years we have seen so many challenges as a small town.
The budget issues, COVID, Derecho, nuisance properties, housing and staff turn-over just to name a few. We have tried as a council to balance all of these issues. Several of our police
officers and other staff positions have left to go to bigger cities where the pay is better. We can’t
compete with big cities when it comes to pay. Housing for workers that commute here is also a
big issue. If we had more housing those workers would live in the town that they work in, adding to our tax base and supporting local businesses. It is hard for small towns like Tama to
compete for contractors. They tend to build in big cities. The COVID relief money we have
gotten has helped us to recently increase some salaries and give hazard pay for our workers. We are also planning for the future when the Iowa Premium Beef plant will be through their tax
abatement. This will definitely help the city’s finances. For Tama, having a good plan in place is
important. I think we have taken steps to have a good plan and to move forward.
Why should people vote for you on November 2, 2021?
I want to continue the great work that our current council has started on so many projects. I’m excited to face the upcoming challenges and hopefully improve things along the way.