A former educator, who moved to the city earlier this year, has announced his candidacy for mayor of Decorah.

James "Jim" McIntosh, who retired in 2002 after a 39-year career in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, will oppose Mayor Don Arendt this fall. Arendt, who has been mayor since January of 2006, is seeking re-election to another four-year term.

McIntosh was a chemistry and biology teacher, assistant high school principal and an assistant school superintendent. He also taught courses in science for elementary teachers and "Social Impact of the Biological Sciences" for Purdue University Extension.

The last 14 years of his career, McIntosh was a school finance conultant for the Department of Public Instruction in Wisconsin, including two years as director of school finance for the state. McIntosh and his wife, Patricia, also a former educator, moved to Florida in 2002, where McIntosh taught a class in the "Great Books" for the Lifelong Learning College in The Villages, Fla. The McIntoshes moved to Decorah in March.

"I am running for mayor out of a life-long concern for the public welfare and the need for justice and equality for every person. Decorah has many assets, most importantly a population of vital people of all ages. It's commitment to peace, justice and equality are second to none," McIntosh said.

"Decorah's commitment to public health and to the incorporation of new technologies make it an ideal community. However, I know from experience how quickly these qualities can be lost when we do not continue to cherish what we have and do what is necessary to preserve them."

McIntosh and his wife have been coming to Decorah for years to visit Patricia's sister, Julie Fischer, and her husband, Rob.

"We very much liked what we saw and what we read. We did research about places to retire in the Midwest and Decorah came out on top," he said.


McIntosh said his background would be an asset if he is elected mayor.

"I have spent all my working life, at some point, doing something associated with public service and teaching, holding meetings, presiding and setting agendas, budgets and those sort of things," he said.

McIntosh views being a Decorah resident for a short time as another asset.

"Sometimes it is a person who comes in new who maybe can see things that aren't readily apparent to everyone else," he said.

As a candidate, McIntosh said he wants to hear the public's concerns and ideas.

"At the same time, however, I want to know what you are willing to do to preserve the Decorah you love. Democracy requires the fullest participation of all who seek its benefits," he said.

McIntosh and his wife have a combined six children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They are members of the Northeastern Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decorah, where McIntosh volunteers on the program committee and a small group ministry committee. McIntosh has been a member of the American Mensa since 1981.