Vilsack: Tragedy Three Decades Ago Emphasized Faith, Challenges

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The December 1986 murder of Mount Pleasant’s mayor at a City Council meeting taught his successor, former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, the value of faith and confidence to confront challenges, Vilsack said in a new IowaWatch Connection radio interview. A disgruntled resident shot and killed Edward King and wounded two City Council members, shouting obscenities about a dispute the resident had with the city. “That experience indicated to me that the community was willing to come together,” Vilsack said in the interview. “It also taught me the important role in public life of being willing to listen, and being close to people, and giving them the opportunity to share with you their hopes, their aspirations, their concerns, their irritations.” Vilsack established “mayor’s hours” after King’s death in the city’s public library after a failed attempt at City Hall — people were reticent to go to where the murder happened, Vilsack said — to talk with people about municipal concerns in Mount Pleasant.

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