Iowa's oldest mayor turns 90

CNN
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POSTED: Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 2:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 2:04pm

The mayor of the small Iowa town of McCallsburg is a celebrity.

At 90-years-old, Wally Loney is the oldest mayor in Iowa.

Residents say he's a living "landmark," and put him on town t-shirts and its Facebook page.

“They just call me plain 'Wally,'” Mayor Wally Loney explained.

He’s often on four wheels sputtering through town at around 15 miles per hour.

CNN: “Do you always drive this slow?”

Loney: “Oh, yeah. Looking for things.”

“He goes out and picks up sticks out of people's yards to make the town look clean!” Resident Harlan Borton.

“I'm big on clean, yep,” Wally told CNN.

He’s often on his own two legs stopping in for a greeting.

Yes, to the 313 residents, he's 'Wally.' but to the town of McCallsburg, he's more.

It is a point of pride for this town. We are very proud of it.

When Ragbrai went through in 2012, Wally got his own tent.

“We decided to showcase Wally because he's our historic landmark in McCallsburg,” explained resident

Wally is absolutely not a town mascot. To the contrary; he's in charge. He’s on his 13th term as mayor.

“I knew how to govern people,” Wally explained.

“Caring for the town; that's the main thing. He loves this town,” Harlan Borton said.

Small-town business blight hasn't spared McCallsburg, but mayor Loney has done a lot to keep it moving forward.

“We put in natural gas, cable TV, natural gas,” Wally said.

Natural gas was big. So was high speed internet. So was keeping the post office. Both in office and out on the street,

Loney has been effective and tireless.

“The ability to just stay in a mayor position like that and continue to be as compassionate as he is, and not just at times want to punch someone, that's amazing,” Robin Pruisner said.

He is already the oldest mayor in the state of Iowa, and this week, he turns 90. Although he garnered 98 percent of the vote in the last election, Loney says this term is his last.

“Oh, I think 26 years will be enough,” Loney said.

When that happens, McCallsburg will lose its 'Iowa's Oldest Mayor' landmark but not it's Wally.

He’ll still be out on the town.

As mayor, Wally says he spends about 30 hours per week on the job.

And for that work, he's paid $150-dollars per month.
 

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