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WHERE I COME FROM

I am 44 years old (45 in July 2021) and live in Iowa City with my wife, two daughters and Labrador Retriever.

We have lived in Iowa City the last 7 years after 9 years in North Liberty. Since high school, I’ve spent all but three years of my life in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. This is home and where we have chosen to raise our children

I was born and raised in Fairfield, IA where my father was a volunteer Firefighter (later Fire Chief) and I was fortunate to be around the Fire Department growing up. I attended some of their training and gained an appreciation for the work of municipal governments and the dedicated people that provide these critical services. That appreciation grew when I spent my first two summers after high school working for the wastewater treatment plant in town (and yes, there were some “dirty jobs” involved!)

During my senior year of high school, I joined the 34th Army Band of the Iowa National Guard, mostly for the college benefits. I didn’t think then that I would still be serving 27 years later, but here I am. I’m now a Staff Sergeant and Drum Major for the band and enjoy performing around the state. I’ve had many great experiences, seen so much of Iowa and met many wonderful people who I’m proud to call neighbors.

I attended the University of Iowa where I received a BBA in Management & Organizations. I spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching and Pep Bands, where I met my wife and so many life-long friends. I worked several jobs and paid my own way through college with the help of military benefits. I also obtained my Master's of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Management from the University of Iowa in 2010 after taking classes part-time in the evenings. 

I spent 20 years working in Human Resources roles for various organizations in the area, big and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, office and factory. I have strived to create workplaces that are welcoming, equitable and safe. I have recruited countless people to Iowa, and I am a cheerleader for what we offer, both in Iowa City and statewide.

After 20 years in organizations, I have made the transition to teaching the concepts and lessons I’ve learned. I work with students at the undergrad and MBA level on how to better work with the people they interact with. I also assist leaders and organizations  on similar themes through my own small consulting business. I am passionate about people and have written and spoken extensively on workplace and management issues. I also served as President of a local chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) and am now on the Iowa State Council. 

 

BEING NONPARTISAN IN A NONPARTISAN OFFICE

I want to put the “non” back in nonpartisan. I will not endorse, donate to, or register with any political party or candidate for office. This includes work both inside and outside council chambers. My focus will be what is best for Iowa City residents, not any party platform.

There are 330 million people in this country and two major parties. Like many (if not most) of those 330M, I have a mix of views that don’t fit neatly into any one party platform. I am proud to have friends and colleagues that span the political spectrum and I so enjoy intelligent discussions about policy and how best to accomplish change. It is rare that I don’t find common ground and areas of agreement with those who are willing to have such discussions, regardless of their party affiliation or ideological approach.

I want to bring that approach to our city council. I want to leverage my relationships, ability to connect and collaborate to the benefit of Iowa City. While building positive, respectful relationships is no guarantee of influence, it’s the only way you’ve got a realistic chance.

I certainly understand the “team sport” nature of politics and the role of political parties. But I strongly believe that nonpartisan offices are such for a reason and I want to honor that. It is not always possible to be both an advocate for a party platform/leadership and an advocate for Iowa City. My commitment is to stay focused on the latter. 

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I LOVE IOWA CITY

We certainly have challenges in Iowa City and the need for continued change in many areas. We’ll be talking about these throughout the campaign and rightfully so. These discussions are best tackled from our areas of strength, however and Iowa City has many.

Growing up in Fairfield, Iowa City was the “big city” to me. There was a mall and a movie theatre with more than one screen! More than that though, there was so much energy and creativity. You could just feel it when you visited. I still have that sense of wonder about this place. To this day, Iowa City still has really cool places and businesses, and that energy is as palpable as ever. I believe it comes from residents that are passionate about our city and being involved. We see it in a musical or theatre performance, a demonstration on the Ped Mall reacting to current events or a political debate, and in new entrepreneurial ventures that pop up so often here.

Attending college at the University of Iowa in the 1990’s grew my connection to Iowa City, but there was a moment years later that really made my love concrete.

I was activated for state flood duty in 2008 (during my first Father’s Day, no less) and after mobilizing, the first mission I was a part of brought me to Iowa City. We worked a long day securing the power plant. On the ride into town on a green bus, we crossed Madison Street. I looked down and saw huge numbers of students filling sandbags and working to save the university buildings that were threatened. Under hot and stressful circumstances, they were working together for a common goal. Then I looked up Burlington Street. Iowa City residents of all ages were streaming toward the river, work clothes on and carrying shovels. The whole town was mobilizing and supporting each other in the face of adversity. The derecho this past summer evoked similar emotions. People of all political leanings and backgrounds out helping each other. This is our town and I know we can come together to make it better.

 

No individual is perfect, and no community is utopia. Too many Iowa City residents struggle, are not supported enough and feel let down by their neighbors and government. What I have seen in crisis gives me hope that we can tackle these challenges and succeed.

 

Jason Glass is a member of the Iowa Army National Guard. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense

 

MY COMMITMENT TO HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS

I have served since January 2020 on the Iowa City Human Rights Commission and was elected Vice-Chair this year. I have been actively involved in discussions and actions around race and policing this past year. I was a primary author of the Human Rights Commission Statement on Black Lives Matter and have had numerous conversations with city staff, council and city commission members and those involved with protests. I published an Opinion piece on a portion of this topic (see the "In The News" Section) and have been quoted in several news articles about our work.

 

I have always had a heightened sense of fairness. It probably started when my baseball career ended at a young age (a game I love but wasn't particularly good at) and I started umpiring games as a way to stay involved. I was passionate about process and “calling balls and strikes”. I felt it was important to dispassionately judge the situation, evaluate it and make the right call. Wasn’t always easy when many of the players were friends.

My first human resources position as a professional was in employee relations. I was heavily involved in workplace investigations, particularly around workplace violence, sexual harassment and illegal discrimination. I worked again to conduct a full accounting of a situation and hold those accountable that made poor choices. I trained leaders on how to best create an environment free of those things. I’ve been trusted with very sensitive situations and I knew that in order to have credibility in those area, I needed to hold myself to a very high standard in treating people with respect and conducting myself professionally. 

This led to a passion for human and civil rights. I had the opportunity to lead a nonprofit called Professional & Technical Diversity Network (PTDN) that focused on welcoming a diverse workforce to the Corridor. We created and expanded the “Corridor Welcome Receptions” that are now put on by the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids Chamber organizations. I have fought for underrepresented groups in the workplace and helped to assure the organizations I've worked for have been welcoming and inclusive. 

I served a term on the Iowa Human Right Board after being appointed by the Governor. I am the Equal Opportunity (EO) leader for my National Guard unit where I have conducted countless trainings and helped consult at the state level on diversity issues. 

My career and volunteer work has been about leaning into difficult and emotional topics and finding solutions in diverse environments. I’m ready to bring these experiences and approach to the Iowa City Council.

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