SIOUX CITY | Doug Waples' interest in local politics heightened in November 2013, when work on the four-lane bridge on Hamilton Boulevard spanning Perry Creek finished a week behind schedule.
Waples remembers reading a Journal article detailing how the $700,000 project, which caused a 10-minute detour for some commuters, was expected to languish for at least five days beyond the original time allotted for the contractor to complete it.
He said at the time, it struck him that a representative of the city's engineering department had commented she did not know why the project was behind schedule.
Then, last year, another bridge project near his home along Dearborn Boulevard languished, with the contractor racking up thousands of dollars in fines for going over the allotted time. Waples also believes that vibrations from heavy machinery have caused expensive damages to his home's foundation.
Frustration with those two projects prompted Waples to enter his name in the running for a City Council appointment earlier this year. Waples was among 14 people vying for the position left open when Keith Radig joined the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors with a year left on his council term.
The council ultimately appointed Alex Watters to fill the remainder of the term. Watters is one of three incumbents seeking re-election on Nov. 7, along with Dan Moore and Pete Groetken.
Waples is running for one of the three open seats with an emphasis on monitoring city projects and renewing the city's infrastructure.
"I think we just need to get competent help," he said. "I think we need to get a bigger staff of engineers and have our own people inspecting the projects. We hire those out-of-town inspectors, and that costs a lot of money."
Waples has lived in Sioux City for about 45 years. An Onawa native, he joined the Army in May 1970, where he served for two years as a mechanic and parts worker.
After his release, Waples moved to Sioux City to work at what is now Knoepfler Chevrolet. He would spend 18 years there. He spent about 23 years working at Guarantee Oil. He has been married to his wife, Sue, for 47 years. The couple has two children and two grandchildren.
Waples points to his military and management experience as a solid preparation for the leadership demands a City Council seat would bring.
"You've got to make daily decisions, and it's not a lot different from what you've got to do on the council," he said.
Waples said he believes the city is behind on its infrastructure, and he wants to ensure the city's streets, sewers and water lines are repaired more quickly. He said another point of emphasis includes ensuring the city's neighborhoods are safe to walk through.
"(Kids) need to be able to walk to school if they’re close enough, no matter if they’re on the north side, in Morningside or on the west side," he said. "We need to make everything safe."
He said he believes the current council is approachable, but he wants to vote in the interests of Sioux City residents, not necessarily rubber-stamping City Hall recommendations. He pointed to the council's approval to allow a contractor to build a proposed $20.2 million Courtyard by Marriott hotel on the current parking lot of the Sioux City Convention Center as an example.
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"Not one person I've talked to has come up to me and said, 'Boy, that hotel downtown is really a good deal,'" he said.
Waples finished fifth out of nine candidates in the Sioux City Council primary, receiving 603 votes.