Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Following the Sept. 27 resignation of former West Liberty Mayor Katie McCullough, the West Liberty City Council unanimously voted to appoint Ethan Anderson to replace her following a motion by council member Dana Dominguez and a second by Ashley Smith. The council swore him in during a special meeting Oct. 24. The city received two applications for the open seat from, Anderson, a former city council member, and former mayor Robert Hartman. Anderson will serve as mayor until the end of McCullough’s original term, which ends Dec. 31, 2023.

Anderson moved to West Liberty about a decade ago when he and his wife got married. Previously a resident of Iowa City, Anderson came to love West Liberty as he passed through it each day on his way to and from his job in Muscatine. “I used to drive through this town regularly,” he recalled. “I always though, what a nice town–wouldn’t it be nice to live here?” Since first coming to West Liberty, Anderson has found the city, “has a lot going for it,” and has enjoyed raising his three children there and sending them to West Liberty Community School District.

An entrepreneur, Anderson runs his own web design agency, Big Imprint, out of West Liberty. A man of many interests, Anderson also pastors the Church of the Living Water in Muscatine.

As Anderson begins his time as mayor, he believes he and the council must address both the ongoing negotiations with the West Liberty Volunteer Fire Department to create a new 28E agreement and with Escucha Mi Voz about providing COVID-19 stimulus payments to undocumented workers who did not initially receive them. “Everyone knows there’s been a lot of unrest lately, a lot of division lately, and I think the community has made a lot of progress lately on those issues and they’re well on their way to being solved, which is good for the community as a whole,” he said.

Ethan Anderson taking his oath of office as mayor of West Liberty from Mayor Pro Tempore Cara McFerren Oct. 24. Photo courtesy Ken Brooks.

Anderson also believes emphasizing the importance of civil discourse and respectful disagreement will prove necessary, as the tone of previous public discussions concerns him. “Some of the ways we’ve approached issues have been unfortunate,” he said. “Sometimes we forget that the kids are watching and watching us to learn how to handle conflict.”

In his role as mayor, Anderson hopes to encourage consensus on how to move forward, uniting people through their common goals rather than focusing on the details that divide them. “The most important thing for the community at this moment is to realize we’re all on the same team,” he emphasized: “We all want the same thing. We want a nice community. We want a safe community. We want the emergency services to be well funded and we want emergency service workers to be happy and well trained.”

During his time as mayor, Anderson will primarily focus on resolving these concerns, “I will, along with the mostly new city council, navigate these challenges; If I can help navigate through this time, that’s the main thing,” he stated. Once the council moves past these issues, he plans to use his remaining time to focus on other areas of improvement that could benefit the city. Anderson welcomes the public to interact with him using his mayoral Facebook page.

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