HON. BOB GALLAGHER, MAYOR, MRCTI CO-CHAIR
Mayor Robert “Bob” Gallagher was raised in Bettendorf. He graduated from Bettendorf High School in 1987. He received his BA in Communication Studies and Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1991. He received his Juris Doctorate Degree from Marquette Law School in 1994. In 1996, Bob returned to Bettendorf to practice law with Gallagher, Millage and Gallagher, PLC and raise his family. Bob and his wife, Jennifer, have a total of five children, four of whom are college students, and one is in high school. Bob has served the City of Bettendorf and the Quad City Community for over 20 years. In 2004, Bob was named Volunteer of the Year for the Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce. In 2008, he received the Sheldon Sitrick Leadership Award for extraordinary leadership and distinguished Service to the Quad Cities. That same year, he was named a Quad Cities Area Leader Under 40. In 2013, Bob was inducted into the Bettendorf High School Hall of Honor.
Bob has served as Bettendorf’s Mayor since 2012. During his tenure, the city has experienced incredible growth in both residential and commercial sectors, while continuing to provide excellent city services in a financially sound manner. Bob is dedicated to helping Bettendorf reach its full potential.
HON. Sharon Weston Broome, MAYOR, MRCTI CO-CHAIR
Sharon Weston Broome is a firm believer in achieving progress through innovative and data-driven solutions.
Since taking office, Mayor Broome has placed a heavy focus on improving the quality of life for citizens while building resiliency through infrastructure improvements. Specifically, she has focused on addressing transportation, drainage, public safety, economic development, revitalizing neighborhoods, and education.
Before becoming the first female Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, Broome served as a Baton Rouge Metro City Council Member, a Louisiana State Representative, and a Louisiana State Senator.
While serving in the legislature, Broome became the first woman to hold the leadership positions of Speaker Pro Tempore in the House and President Pro Tempore in the Senate.
Over the years, she has also been recognized for her service and leadership by several organizations, including the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Louisiana Health Freedom Coalition, American Heart Association, Every Child Matters, Baton Rouge NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, Girl Scouts Louisiana East 2017 Women of Distinction Award, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Lambda Kappa Kappa Chapter) 2017 Citizen of the Year, and National Congress of Black Women.
Faith and family are priorities for Broome. She is a member of Star Hill Church and is happily married to Marvin Broome. They are the proud parents of three children and three grandchildren.
Broome holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse and an M.A. in Communications from Regent University. Broome has served as an adjunct instructor at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Community College, and Southern University. In addition, she was a reporter for five years for WBRZ-TV, the Baton Rouge ABC affiliate.
HON. SEAN DOWSE OF RED WING, MN
Sean Dowse served as the Executive Director at The Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing from 1989 until his retirement in 2015. During this time, he led a team responsible for presenting over 100 events each year, nurturing relationships with community cultural and civic groups, creating a community-wide cultural center, maintaining and improving a century old performing arts facility, and establishing a sustainable financial base for operations. In 2011 Governor Mark Dayton appointed Sean as a member of the Minnesota State Arts Board. Mr. Dowse continues to direct plays and musicals for Red Wing High School and Red Wing’s community theatre, The Phoenix.
Hon. Tim Kabat, Mayor, La Cross, WI
Tim Kabat was elected the 42nd Mayor of La Crosse in April 2013. Mayor Kabat serves as the Chief Executive Officer for city operations, including oversight and management of the city’s 17 departments and 520 employee workforce. He develops and manages the $71 million annual operating budget, long-term borrowing, and debt service for the city. Tim and Christy, his wife of more than 20 years, reside on the City’s south side where they have raised daughter Emma and son Joe.
Hon. mike bawden, riverdale, ia
Mike has lived in Riverdale for nearly twenty years with his wife and family. They purchased and restored the “East Hill House” originally built by Decker French as he took over the operation of the Iowana Dairy operation from his uncle, Col. G.W. French.
Mike’s primary responsibilities for the City of Riverdale include overseeing the City’s administrative operation and economic development efforts, participating in Quad City-wide and regional boards and commissions as Riverdale’s representative and working with each Council Member as they facilitate issues and initiatives related to their respective areas of the City’s operation.
When he’s not working as mayor, Mike is a public relations and marketing consultant working with clients throughout the country.
hon. rick eberlin, grafton, IL
Hon. phil stang, kimmswick, MO
Hon. Jay Hollowell, helena-west helena, ar
Mayor Hollowell has a long history of supporting the Helena-West Helena community. Hollowell began serving on the Helena City Council in 1991. Besides politics, Hollowell has been actively involved in the community in a number of other areas. He is past president of the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Helena Rotary Club, past president of the DeSoto School Board, and past president of St. Mary’s Catholic Church Pastoral Council.
Hon. keith smith, helena-west helena, AR
Hon. Jim strickland, memphis, tn
After an eight-year tenure as a member of the Memphis City Council, Mayor Strickland was elected to the city’s top office on Oct. 8, 2015. Mayor Strickland is a 1986 graduate of the University of Memphis and a 1989 graduate of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the U of M. He practiced law at Glankler Brown PLLC from 1990 to 1998, when he began practicing at Kustoff & Strickland PLLC, where he remained until becoming mayor.
hon. george flaggs, vicksburg, ms
Hon. Belinda constant, gretna, la
Colin Wellenkamp, j.d., LLM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MRCTI
Colin Wellenkamp's extensive career in the legal and policy fields has been focused on advocating and advancing public interests through improving local government functions and the activity of the business world. Mr. Wellenkamp is dedicated to assisting organizations and people transition to a sustainable way of life. Colin has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Saint Louis University, a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Sustainable Development Law from George Washington University Law School.
A native of Missouri, Colin now lives in St. Charles, MO, with his wife and daughter.
Tiara Lumas OPERATIONS MANAGER, MRCTI
Tiara Lumas educational background is in Human Service Management and currently completing her Business Administration degree. Tiara, comes highly recommended from the Saint Louis Development Corporation where she assisted with operations in Human Resources, Communication/Marketing, Minority Business Development(MBE/WBE), and Real Estate. In the past 5 years, she has been active and productive in working with communications/marketing, scheduling/working events, and her favorite, coordinating the Annual Mayor’s Business Celebration Luncheon. Tiara spends her time researching and learning about restoring natural and infrastructure city to city, working in cosmetology, local event planner, participating in women empowerment groups and spending quality time with her family.
Tiara cares deeply about public interest in expanding growth in communities surrounding the Mississippi River and is excited about her role as the Operations Manager.
Brandt Thorington Policy Director, MRCTI
Brandt serves as the Policy Director for the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI). Brandt has over 14 years experience advancing the interests of state and local governments, in the process, he has helped to secure millions in funding from federal, state and local governments. Brandt specializes in analyzing legislation affects, building coalitions and advancing legislation. His primary areas of expertise are tax policy, appropriations, budget, energy, health care, immigration reform, homeland security, public safety, transportation, water infrastructure, and community development. Brandt has extensive experience working with various levels of government including Congress, federal officials, state legislators, mayors, and other local officials.
Brandt received his Bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Economics at The Pennsylvania State University. He also has Master's degrees in Political Management from George Washington University and an MBA from John's Hopkins University.