SIOUX CITY | Alex Watters typically ends each City Council meeting the same way.
During the time allotted for council members' concerns, he uses his turn to highlight upcoming major events across Sioux City. Sometimes it's two or three. Other times it's a half-dozen.
In Watters' mind, there's never "nothing to do in Sioux City." And as a council member, he believes Sioux City can do more to promote what it has to offer.
"I think we need to start marketing ourselves and the awesome momentum we have," he said.
Seeking his first full term on the City Council, Watters said he not only thinks about Sioux City today, but also 20 years down the road. He also believes his own involvement and community presence puts him in a good position to make a difference.
"I have a proven track record of being involved," he said. "I believe in order to make your community better, you have to integrate. You have to engage in your community and listen to people and hear what their ideas are, and then try to implement them."
Watters, 31, is the youngest sitting member on the Sioux City Council by more than three decades, as well as the council's most recent addition. He took his oath in February when he was selected to fill the vacancy left when Keith Radig joined the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors through a high-interest appointment process that brought forward 14 total applicants, four of them former City Council members.
Now, Watters is seeking his first full term in the Nov. 7 election against a field of six candidates vying for three open seats. Watters came in second in the voting during the Oct. 10 primary.
Waters first moved to Sioux City to attend Morningside College in 2004. He grew up in Ocheyedan, Iowa, and moved to the Okoboji area in eighth grade.
Shortly into his freshman year of college, a diving accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. Watters looks back on the medical care he received in Sioux City and the community support as a reason the city holds a place in his heart.
"Sioux City picked me up when I was at one of my lowest points and really enabled me to feel like I could achieve whatever I wanted," he said.
Watters went on to earn a degree in political science from Morningside and a master's in negotiation and conflict resolution from Creighton University. He returned to Sioux City in 2012 and has since been involved with various groups including the Sioux City Growth Organization, Events Facilities Advisory Board and Young Professionals of Iowa.
"I don’t just talk about trying to make a difference, I’m going to the meetings and trying to be a part of the dialogue to see how we can shape the future of Sioux City," Watters said.
As a first-year adviser at Morningside College, Watters said he talks frequently with students about their concerns and what they want out of the city. He said attracting and retaining young people and families is one his main goals for the city.
Other main issues include continuing to market the community, add quality of life projects and repair infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way.