CEDAR RAPIDS — John Frew, chief of staff for Gov. Chet Culver, has resigned his post to come work for Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and the Cedar Rapids City Council, Corbett reported this morning.
Frew, 53, and his Arizona-based private development firm, Frew Nations Group, is slated to sign a contract with the city of Cedar Rapids as project manager for the city’s proposed Event Center construction project.
Mayor Ron Corbett has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. today.
Culver expressed appreciation for Frew’s service.
“I want to thank John for his work and counsel as our chief of staff. I wish John, his wife Marcia and their girls the best as he resumes his long and distinguished career in the private sector,” Culver said.
The governor named Jim Larew, who currently serves as general counsel, to serve as chief of staff. Larew has been a longtime member of the Culver/Judge Administration and previously served as Acting Chief of Staff. His appointment begins immediately.
In his resignation letter, Frew wrote, “This has been a difficult choice, but my decision to leave is in the best interest of my family and the timing is appropriate. … I have been honored to walk into the Capitol building to engage in daily debate with extraordinarily smart people who have a passion and commitment to public service. My stay, as you know, has been temporary by design and the time has come for me to return to the private sector.”
The project in Cedar Rapids includes a $50-million-plus Event Center convention facility, which will sit on Third Street NE between First and A avenues NE next to the U.S. Cellular Center arena-Crowne Plaza Five Seasons Hotel complex.
The project also includes a $15 million upgrade of the U.S. Cellular Center.
The city has secured $15 million in state I-JOBS funds for the project and, last week, the City Council cleared the way to sell $17 million in local bonds to help with the project.
The city is expecting a $35-million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to provide the majority of funding for the project.
Frew, an attorney with a background in developing and operating event centers and other public projects, joined Culver’s staff in September. He has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Iowa and a law degree from Creighton University.
Frew ran for mayor of Denver, Colo., in the mid-1990s and has worked in the past for U.S. senators John Culver Sr. and Tom Harkin, Democrats from Iowa, and Tim Wirth, a Democrat from Colorado.
Frew Nations Group is headed up by Frew and Chris Nations.