WDM Man applied for interim mayor of Wes Des Moines 'to give back to community'
By Micholyn Fajen
Des Moines Register
April 17, 2007
David Erickson keeps busy as an attorney holding seats on various civic boards and as a single man raising his two adopted teenage boys. His life isn't full, it's fulfilled.
Still, the 12-year resident of West Des Moines applied unsuccessfully to be the city's interim mayor this spring. He moved to the city from Des Moines because he was setting his sights on a family-friendly environment with libraries and facilities for recreation - a place where he could raise his family.
He found his family in Russia.
Seeking to adopt one child, Erickson was struck by young brothers, only 5 and 3 at the time, in the orphanage. In a heartfelt moment he took them both home to America, where they have thrived for the last 11 years. Friends said Erickson has a heart for things like that.
"It was a point where I think he realized there was something missing in this life. He did a lot of research on adoption and when he learned about the orphanages in Russia, I think it tugged on his heart," said friend Nick Roby of Des Moines, who has known Erickson for more than 20 years. "The adoption was a dramatic change for him."
As a longtime partner and commercial real estate attorney for the Davis Brown law firm in Des Moines, Erickson, a Drake University law school graduate, switched gears and began to volunteer to represent juvenile cases.
Roby said Erickson has built a successful law practice, but he is still answering an internal tug to help his community. Erickson agreed that is one reason he applied for the interim mayor position.
"I knew it was only a short term, but I thought it was a good way to get to know the workings of City Council and the mayor better," said Erickson, impressed with the interview process for the position. "But secondly I wanted to give back to my community."
While practicing real estate and juvenile law, Erickson, 53, also serves on the Board of Corrections, was recently appointed to the Iowa Finance Authority and serves on the West Des Moines Board of Adjustment, a position that keeps him plugged into the development of the city and the changes that brings.
Erickson said development of the Raccoon River Park, the two aquatic centers and Jordan Creek Town Center have brought more options to residents, "There are certainly more activities to do."
He wants the city of West Des Moines to be watchful of its affluence and not forget those residents who still rely on city programs.
"We need to make sure we take care of those less fortunate. West Des Moines is getting to be a size where you are going to have certain segments who need the help of the community, through the food pantry or substance abuse programs. We do a pretty good job of that currently," Erickson said.
Roby said had his friend been appointed to the interim position, the city's residents would have been impressed.
"He'd be great in whatever he does. He works with more passion and with more diligence than anyone I've seen. He doesn't do anything passively," Roby said.
Still Erickson's main focus is his family. Sons Nick, now 16, and Ben, 14, keep a single father moving, but he said it's been a ride he's thoroughly enjoyed.