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WDM Chamber recognizes citizens of the year


Former West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer and Gianna Pugliese, the intercultural outreach coordinator for the West Des Moines school district, have been named Citizen of the Year and Emerging Citizen of the Year, respectively, by the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. Gaer in January stepped down as West Des Moines’ mayor after serving over 14 years in the position. He was a City Council member for eight years before being elected mayor. During his tenure as mayor, West Des Moines’ population increased to 68,723 from 46,403. In 2021, the value of commercial and residential building permits issued by the city surpassed $1 billion. Pugliese is an advocate for West Des Moines’ refugee and immigrant communities. She collaborates with public and private and nonprofit organizations to create a welcoming environment for refugee and immigrant students and families. Gaer and Pugliese will be honored during a luncheon on June 9. Also being honored during the luncheon will be Kent Gaer, father of Steve Gaer. Kent Gaer, a longtime West Des Moines educator and former council member, died in 2013. For more information about the luncheon, click here.

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