Who are the 2020 candidates?
Fri, 10/09/2020 - 3:16pm admin
—Sheriff, supervisor, state senate and representative this week; RHSHC trustee next
HOWARD COUNTY - With the presidential election getting so much air time, it might be easy to forget that other offices are being filled this year as well. Only contested race candidates were asked to answer the questions.
The Monitor Recorder and Times Plain Dealer have asked local and district candidates some questions to help our readers better make a choice on who to vote for in the Nov. 3 election.
All candidates were asked the same questions:
1. Share about your family, how long you have lived in the area, education, work and anything else you feel comfortable sharing.
2. What assets do you bring to city/county/district government?
3. What are the challenges facing your town, county or district, and how would you address them?
4. What are the best features of your town, county or district?
5. What goals do you have for the position?
6. Anything else?
To be perfectly fair and to show no preference, the candidates will be listed in alphabetical order.
Tim Beckman (R) — 1. Family/education/work: I was born and raised in Ossian. I attended St. Francis DeSales Catholic School through eighth grade and graduated from South Winneshiek High School in 2000. From there I attended Northeast Iowa Community College and earned an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice in 2002. In January 2003, I was hired as a 911 dispatcher for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, where I worked for two years. In June 2004 I was hired as a deputy sheriff for the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. In 2005 I completed The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
I live in Protivin with my wife, Janelle (Voves) from Elma, and our three-year-old daughter Luella, and we are expecting another daughter on Nov. 5. We are members of Holy Trinity Parish in Protivin.
2. Assets: I have always had a passion to serve others. Professionally, I have dedicated my career to serving Howard County for the last 16 years as a deputy sheriff. I am the only current Howard County Deputy Sheriff running for this office. In that time, I have had countless experiences that give me practical and real-world perspectives on the needs of the county and challenges I will face as sheriff. I have also received hundreds of hours of professional training.
Assets I bring are my many years of experience serving the citizens of Howard County, including the last six years as the head deputy. My experiences as the head deputy have allowed me the benefit of knowing the responsibilities and demands placed on the sheriff.
One example is my work as part of the jail committee to inform the public prior to the vote about the need for and advantages of a new jail. I have also written and acquired several grants for the sheriff’s office. I am also involved in hiring new staff; I am the sex offender compliance officer, special traffic enforcement program administrator, clan-lab site safety officer, courtroom security deputy and a member of the Iowa Law Enforcement Intelligence Network.
My passion to serve is not limited to my professional career, as I have been volunteering to serve others since youth. Volunteering was instilled in me at a young age. My grandfather was a volunteer firefighter for 55 years, and my father is currently a volunteer firefighter with 44 years of experience and an EMT with 42 years of experience. This passion helps shape who I am.
This call has led me to be a volunteer firefighter for the past 21 years. I am nationally certified as a firefigher I and in hazardous materials operations. I joined the Ossian Fire Department in 1999 and Protivin Fire Department in 2005. I train with the Protivin Fire Department regularly and answer the call to help those in need in fires, accidents and floods all hours of the day and night when not on duty as a deputy.
This call has also revealed itself in other volunteer leadership positions, such as my wife and I being on the Czech Days main committee for three years (2016, 2017, 2018 “parade year”), and I am also a 4th Degree Knight in the Protivin Knights of Columbus Council.
3. Challenges in county: One challenge facing the county, and many other counties in this area is the seemingly increased abuse of controlled substances. I will strive for strong enforcement of drug offenses by keeping the deputies well-trained and work together with the Northeast Iowa Drug Task Force and Iowa Department of Narcotics Enforcement.
Once offenders are incarcerated, they will be able to seek help for their addictions through telehealth doctors offered in the jail at no expense to them or the jail.
Prevention is also very important. That is why I want to continue the D.A.R.E. program and possibly expand it to the higher grades, as it has been proven to be an effective drug abuse prevention program. D.A.R.E. also builds positive relationships between the students, the community and law enforcement officers.
Another challenge is limited funding. I will be fiscally responsible by making wise and informed decisions. One example is the possibility of preparing breakfast in the jail by staff instead of having it sourced out.
4. Best features of county: Howard County is a great place to live and work. Our residents understand the importance of law enforcement, who with other local agencies, provide safe environments for our families to live and thrive.
5. Goals: My goal is to help our Sheriff’s Office be seen as a partner to everything we love about Howard County. One priority is to create better communication and transparency between the sheriff’s office and citizens, such as creating a department Facebook page.
Similarly, I want to continue to build positive relationships with the Cresco Police Department, county fire departments and E.M.S., and other area agencies.
Having properly trained and equipped deputies and dispatcher/jailers is essential. As sheriff I would invest in providing updated technology for the office, jail and squad cars, along with ongoing training for all staff.
I would continue strong enforcement on drunk driving and drug offenses.
I would like to see the sheriff’s office acquire a Utility Terrain Vehicle “UTV” through grant money or donations. A UTV would be greatly beneficial in search-and-rescue situations. I can recall several area-wide searches for missing people where a UTV would have been very useful. Also, I have personally been on a few snowmobile accidents that occurred in remote areas not near a road, where the victim was only accessible by snowmobile or UTV.
6. Anything else? I am running for sheriff because I know my professional and volunteer experiences, along with my skills and training, will make me a great sheriff to serve Howard County.
I have been training for this for several years, and I have learned under Sheriff Grinhaug and Sheriff Miner about how to lead the Sheriff’s office, and serve the citizens of the county with honesty, integrity and dedication.
Serving our county as your sheriff is a natural next step and a wonderful opportunity to help the county and its communities remain safe and prosper.
Troy Brandau (Nominated by Petition) —
Adam Hanson (D) — 1. I was born and raised in New Hampton as the second oldest of 10 children. After graduating with honors from New Hampton High School, I attended Hawkeye Community College and received my Associates Degree in Police Science.
I moved to Nashua in 2004 and began my career in law enforcement with the Nashua Police Department. In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, receiving the Academic Excellence Award for finishing at the top of my class.
In January of 2011, I accepted a position as a Deputy Sheriff with the Howard County Sheriff's Office and moved my family to Protivin, where I currently reside. In June 2016, I made the difficult decision to leave the sheriff's office here and accepted a position as a Deputy Sheriff with the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office.
I have used my time with Chickasaw County to learn and study another way to operate a sheriff's office and grow as a law enforcement officer. I have spent the majority of my career specializing in narcotics enforcement. I am a long-standing member of the Northeast Iowa Drug Task Force and Iowa Narcotics Officers Association.
I am also a certified instructor in firearms, speed enforcement and impaired driving enforcement. I have been married to my wife, Amanda, for 13 years. We have three boys (ages 12, nine and six), who all attend Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools in Cresco. Amanda has worked in the housekeeping department of Evans Memorial in Cresco for the past nine years.
I spend my free time in the summer coaching youth baseball, taking over as head coach of the Protivin boys Little League team this past season. I also enjoy fishing, hunting, racing, auto repair and most of all, spending time with my family.
2. Assets: With over 16 years of law enforcement experience, I bring the knowledge and training necessary to handle almost any situation that can arise.
I also bring a strong leadership ability. As a certified instructor and veteran law enforcement officer, I have spent the last 10 years teaching and training law enforcement officers throughout Iowa. A big part of being a leader is having the ability to teach and mentor those around you.
I also bring a positive attitude, a great work ethic and the drive, dedication and determination to give the citizens of Howard County the high-quality, efficient law enforcement service that they deserve.
3. Challenges in county: As with much of rural Iowa, I believe the biggest challenge Howard County faces is the increasing use of illicit narcotics. We are seeing a big increase in narcotic abuse among our youth population. The quantity and potency of narcotics are continuing to climb, causing overdoses, impaired driving/motor vehicle accidents, thefts and violent crimes.
I have spent the majority of my career as my department’s narcotics investigator. I plan to continue my work in that area, along with the administrative duties as sheriff. This also means sending our deputies to more training to help them be more effective in their efforts to keep our community safe.
The second biggest challenge I see is funding for law enforcement. The costs of operation continue to increase, and budgets continue to tighten. I plan to create and maintain a reasonable and balanced budget while seeking out alternate sources of funding through grants and programs to supplement the growing needs of the department, without putting more strain on the taxpayers. I currently manage three programs that generate extra revenue for my current department, without costing the public a penny.
4. Best features of county: The absolute best feature of our county is the people. There is always a smile and a friendly wave everywhere you go, a helping hand when you need it and a wonderful sense of pride in their community.
5. Goals: If I have the privilege to be elected as sheriff, I will work hard to get the drugs off our streets and away from our kids. I will make sure that our staff receives more than just the minimum training required by the state, as well as promote a positive, productive and efficient work environment.
I will rebuild a positive relationship with our local, state and federal agencies. These are additional, valuable resources that are FREE and offer a wide range of expertise, experience and assistance.
I will promote a positive community-law enforcement relationship. I will be an active hard-working sheriff, who will lead by example. My goal is to provide a high quality law enforcement service to the citizens of Howard County and make our community a safe place to live, work and raise our families.
6. Anything else? On Nov. 3, I humbly ask for your vote for the office of Howard County Sheriff, and I thank you for your support. Let me put my knowledge, training and experience to work for you! Please visit Adam Hanson for Howard County Sheriff on Facebook for more information about me.
County Supervisor: District 1
Bill Caffrey (Republican) — As a proud, lifelong resident of Howard County, I grew up on a farm in Howard Center Township, graduated in 1977 from Crestwood High School and earned an electrician degree from NICC in Calmar.
In my 28 years as Cresco Park & Recreation Director, my experience has allowed me to prepare and manage detailed budgets. In addition, I analyzed and presented budgets to the Park Board monthly and provided other pertinent information as needed at the time. Each year, I presented the Annual Report to the city council.
I take pride in keeping the parks and fitness center up to date and maintained. As part of my director role, I’ve led successful fund-raising campaigns, which equipped me with knowledge of securing resources to continue to provide great community amenities through the Parks and Recreation department.
Project planning has been a task I’ve embraced, focusing on staying within budgets and designing in advance with a goal for practical and minimal future upkeep. Sometimes I would split projects over several years to save on budgets such as parking lots, Kessel Lodge, etc.
I have designed or built numerous park improvement projects including the current Kessel Lodge. Currently I am working on the covered bleachers project at East Park, which also includes fund-raising efforts. If help is needed to prepare for any community event and celebration, I am always willing and able to pitch in. I understand the importance of working together with other city departments and entities to get things accomplished.
A strength I bring is excellent organizational skills. Further project experience includes: building rosters and schedules, including the implementation of online registration. By creating computer website applications, we have more efficiently communicated and administered park programs, Kessel Lodge rental requests, etc. Organizing bus trips to sporting events for our youth and adults is something I enjoy doing. One of my passions is working with and teaching our area youth in sports.
While my long career serving the community as Park & Recreation Director is winding down, I feel I can continue to use my skills and commitment to service positively for the citizens of Howard County. Having worked as a public servant for years, I have the experience to be open-minded on issues that arise and will analyze them in a logical and timely manner. I will work diligently for the people of Howard County and will take pride in making the right decisions as we continue to grow as a community.
I appreciate your consideration.
Pat Murray (Democrat) — 1. Family/education/work: I am a lifelong resident of Cresco and a Cresco firefighter for 36 and one-half years. I have retired from Donaldson Co., but continue to own/operate Murray Radiator and serve as your District 1 Howard County Supervisor.
My wife of 39 years, Lynn, and I were blessed with our first grandchild, Emma Rae, born to our only child Meredith and husband, Matt.
2. Experience: Although budgeting is the most important job of County Supervisors, we are also tasked with anything from union negotiations to public safety and from mental health to economic development. Experience in all county affairs cannot be underestimated.
3. Challenges in county? The COVID-19 virus will play a large roll in budgeting for years to come. Revenue for Howard County from fuel tax, will be down an estimated $250,000. Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) for our county will also be down. This is the reality the COVID virus has caused. I will do my best to serve the residents of Howard County with the dollars available.
What Howard County Residents need is to continue to shop local; this ensures that the LOST dollars, which support county libraries, economic development and secondary roads, stay in Howard County.
4. Best features of county? Simply put…Howard County is a great place to live and raise a family!
5. Goals: Being elected by the residents of the Howard County 1st District, I work for you! My goal is to make your goals a reality.
6. Anything else? Due to COVID-19, I will not be campaigning door-to-door, as I have in the past. I feel it is better to be safe than sorry.
County Supervisor: District 3, to fill vacancy
Mike Bigley (D) — I graduated from Crestwood High School in Cresco, Iowa and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in Vietnam. I am married to my wife Coralee of 46 years, and we are the parents of five children. I have lived on a third-generation farm in the Elma area my whole life. I retired from Donaldson Company in Cresco, after 30 years of employment.
During these years, I’ve been involved in various organizations to better the lives of the working men and women. I’ve held leadership positions on the Elma Hall Board, Commander of Legion Post 597 in Elma, Howard County Veterans Board, State of Iowa Workforce Development Board and Iowa State Community Action Board.
I would like to see Howard County draw more businesses to the area and provide employment for more people to move into the county. Maintaining the secondary roads and bridges for the safety of all travelers is one of my main concerns, doing this as the budget allows.
Howard County has excellent parks and recreational areas and excellent schools, along with attractions throughout the year to bring visitors to the area.
I will be available to hear concerns on issues concerning the county and to do my best to help resolve the issues. I would be proud to serve as Supervisor for the Third District.
Dean Eastman (R) —
Before we get started with these questions I would just like to say that my sympathies go out to the family of Supervisor Jerry Steven.
1. Family/education/work: The Eastman side of my family moved to Howard County in 1930. Both my parents were born and raised in Howard County, just as I and my two sisters were. I attended school at Riceville, graduating in 1979 and then went to auction school that same year in Mason City. This marks my 41st year as an auctioneer in the auction business my father started in 1956. Connie and I were married in 1982. We have two sons, Lyle who is married to JoLynn Christensen, and their three children, and Ryan who is married to Karli Friedrich. We have been “empty nesters” for about 15 years.
2. Experience: I have helped conduct multi-million dollar auctions in the past, farm machinery and land, so large numbers like the budget for Howard County ($10-$11 million) is something I have dealt with before.
I did four years on the City Council and eight years as Mayor for the City of Riceville. I have helped form and implement budgets for the City of Riceville for 12 years, whose budgets are in excess of $1 million dollars.
Since Riceville collects taxes in both Howard and Mitchell Counties I attended the Conference Board meetings for both counties. The Conference Board deals with the Assessors Department, setting budgets and appointing the Assessor since it’s no longer an elected position. The Assessor’s budget is approved by representation of the three taxing entities in the county, the supervisors, the city mayors and any/all school districts. Those meetings could get kind of interesting . . .
I did 12 years on the Howard County Tax Board of Review. This board hears complaints on property evaluations that can’t be worked out between the property owner and the Assessor’s office. It does also have other duties that it handles, all pertaining to the Assessor’s office.
I was a member of the Riceville Fire Dept. for 12 years. I was a charter member on the Riceville Fire Association Board that dealt with allowing the Fire Department to keep any moneys they raised as their own, instead of putting it into their public budget as they had before. I was also on the first Jaws of Life purchasing committee.
I spent 12 years on the Riceville Family Care Board, our local rest home, a private board, where we implemented policy and budgets. You need to be able to deal with the residents/their families, the staff, the Administration, along with state and federal entities that reimburse you for resident care if you are on this board.
3. Challenges in county? COVID-19 is still a big part of our lives. Some people stay shut up at home, some venture out with masks/sanitizers, and some lead their lives the same way they did before the pandemic arrived here. Everyone has to make their own choice to the level they want to use against the pandemic. There are some businesses for whom the pandemic has been good to them and increased their business, yet there are others that have had to close because of it. The state and federal governments have been injecting money into the economy in an effort to keep businesses/individuals afloat.
Mental health care and its cost is another challenge that the county deals with in each budget.
Keeping our small towns alive and an attractive place for people to live, so we don’t lose population, especially the younger generation, is important.
Every tax payer who pays tax dollars wants services. Maintaining those services and being fiscally responsible at the same time can be difficult.
I would be willing to take part in any discussion that deals with these subjects at the county level.
4. Best features of county? One would be our way of life, whether it’s farming, running a business, working in manufacturing, etc. Any of these or other avenues that allow you to go to work, have a career of some sort that you can make a living at for you and your family and have disposable income so you can enjoy the extras that are available to us here in north Iowa. No matter where you live in the county, you have the opportunity to enjoy small town/ rural living.
The Howard County Conservation Board, with Harold Chapman’s steady hand and now Jeff Korsmo at the helm, have improved the many parks and campgrounds around Howard County in the last decade. These open green spaces along with the bike trails in Howard County are an extremely valuable resource for all of us in the county, as well as the thousands of visitors we get each year. Another great feature of Howard County is the public and private schools we have. They are well run, safe, with top of the line academics taught by teachers who care for their students.
5. Goals: I have no ax to grind or hidden agenda as a reason to be a Howard County Supervisor. The Supervisors who have been elected in the past have maintained our way of life for my generation and others. My only goal is to leave Howard County a better place to live, work and prosper for future generations as was done for mine.
6. Anything else? At this time in my life I have the time necessary to devote to being a Howard County Supervisor. I believe my past experience in city government, on public and private boards, creating and implementing public/private budgets, along with working with employees and department heads will help me if I’m elected Howard County 3rd District Supervisor. A vote for me is a vote for experience.
State Senator: District 26
Waylon Brown (R) — 1. Family/education/work: My family has lived in North Iowa for five generations. I am a fourth generation farmer and a small business owner. My wife, Julie, and I were married in 2002. We have twin children, Reece and Elyse. We have lived in Mitchell County since purchasing our first home in 2001.
After high school I attended Riverland Community College’s building trades program. My wife pursued a career in Radiology and currently manages the radiology department at Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage.
We believe in giving back to our community. I currently serve on the Cedar Valley Seminary Board and am on a waiting list to be on the Osage Fire Department. In the past, I served as vice-president of the Mitchell County Farm Bureau, as Sunday School Superintendent, a Sunday School teacher and council member for Deer Creek Lutheran Church, and I served on St. Ansgar Rescue as an EMT.
2. Assets: I am a small businessman, working in construction, from small-town rural Iowa. For the last four years, I have had the honor of representing Senate District 26, being a voice for small business, for rural communities and for hard-working families in this district. Over the past several years, we have passed a lot of good legislation to help Iowans. I’ve worked with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to make sure we are passing bills that are good for rural Iowa and good for our district.
3. Challenges in the district? Four years ago I believed our biggest challenge was economic growth and job opportunities. After a number of policies to help accomplish those goals and bring more career opportunities to our state, we were starting to see those goals realized.
Then the pandemic hit, and the policies put in place now will be critical in getting our state back on track.
I want to help small businesses that have struggled and working families that have experienced hardship. To do this, we will need policies to support businesses as they try to reopen and keep people safe and also make sure we continue to encourage innovation and get rid of burdensome regulations that make it more difficult to work in Iowa.
4. Best features of district? The best features of our district are our communities and the people. Every community in our district has something to make it unique. From kolaches in Protivin or Norman Borlaug in Cresco or the beautiful maples in Osage, there is community pride.
The greatest feature though is the people. We are fortunate to live in an area where neighbors still help each other and communities come together to help each other when someone or a family falls on hard times.
5. Goals: Before the pandemic hit, our state had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and thousands of job openings looking for the right qualified individual to fill them. I want to get our state back on that path.
While I have been in the Senate, I also have been working on expanding broadband access in rural Iowa and professional licensing reform, allowing more people to come to our state and making it easier to work and start a life here.
I’d like to continue building on those laws to bring more opportunities to Iowans in rural communities and anybody else who wants to call our great state their home.
Deb Scharper (D) — 1. Family/education/work: I am an Iowa native, and graduated from Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock High School. I have lived in Osage for over 20 years. I worked in Radiology for 27 years and currently as CT Technologist at Mason City Clinic for the last 16 years.
I am married to Cory Scharper, and together we combined families and have five children, Dylan is 28, (Taylor) Nash lives in Harmony, Minn., where Dylan is an Auto Technician and Dr. Taylor is a Veterinarian. Alyssa is 24, (Chris) Huinker lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She will be finishing up her degree at UNI, currently working at Olive Garden and Chris is a Retail Wireless Consultant at U.S. Cellular. Jarett Scharper is 19 and a student at University of Iowa. Jayden Scharper is 17 and a junior at Osage, and Jenna Scharper is a 14-year-old eighth grader at Osage.
2. Assets: I have a passion for helping people. I have a track record of successful advocacy and bringing people together. The challenges we face in District 26 will only get solved if we work together. I pledge to listen to all voters in the District and work with anyone in the Statehouse to develop common-sense solutions to the issues we face.
3. Challenges in the district: COVID-19 is the number one issue affecting every family in District 26. Schools, churches, businesses, activities, individuals and families have all been impacted.
With COVID-19, we need to wash our hands frequently, wear a mask in public places and keep a social distance of six feet. We need to keep the public informed, so they can make wise choices for their families.
School budgets are stretched to the max. COVID-19 forced schools to jump into virtual classrooms. The health and safety protocols required for our children to attend school during the pandemic are exhaustive and expensive. I support increased funding for our children’s education and better pay for our teachers and staff. After all, Iowa’s future depends on the education we provide our children today.
Our state’s infrastructure must be continually strengthened, repaired and upgraded. This includes burying more of our utility lines, so they’re less susceptible to damage due to natural disasters. Expanding broadband across the state will create jobs and provide data service required to work and learn from home.
Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural Iowa, and I am committed to helping farmers improve profitability. When farmers prosper, businesses and communities do, too.
4. Best features of district? This district is beautiful, a hidden gem in Iowa. Our rural area is the nation’s top corn producer but is probably best known for its distinct Midwestern charm and plenty of scenic landscapes. I feel the best features are the citizens of District 26. I like to call it our Iowa values, where we still like having the connections with our neighbors and will do what we can to help each other out.
5. Goals: We need more healthcare workers in the Iowa Senate. Healthcare is my top priority. As a healthcare worker for two-plus decades, I have first-hand knowledge of the challenges in healthcare. I will advocate for your healthcare with knowledge, conviction and passion.
We need to provide more funding for our children’s education. We need expanded broadband to help create jobs. Our young farmers need help staying in farming.
6. Anything else? My campaign is about you, the voter. I want to earn your vote. As your State Senator I will work with anyone to make Iowa a great place to live, work and raise a family.
State Representative: District 51
Jane Bloomingdale (R) — 1. Family/education/work: I am a lifelong, fourth generation resident of Northwood, Iowa. My husband, Jim, farms in Worth County, and I have owned and operated a tax and accounting business for 30 years. Prior to opening my business, I worked as a coach and substitute teacher for Northwood-Kensett Schools. Jim and I had two children and were blessed with our first grandchild this year.
2. Assets: I have served District 51 for the past four years and have been given several leadership responsibilities in the legislature. Prior to being elected, I served in local government as a councilperson for 15 years and as Mayor of Northwood for five years. As your State Representative, I make it a point to stay in close contact with the city councils, county supervisors and school boards in our district. I have an insight and understanding of the challenging issues they face, and together we can resolve issues.
3. Challenges in the district? Workforce shortage, housing and high-speed internet access are critical issues to our district and our state. I continue to support investing in career training at our community colleges to help Iowans get the skills needed to fill available jobs. We have also expanded incentive programs to spur development of affordable housing and high-speed internet in rural areas; this will help existing businesses grow while also attracting new companies to Iowa to create new jobs.
Keeping rural schools open and thriving is another challenge. Schools in rural Iowa face challenges that are much different than those in Des Moines. We often have declining enrollments and higher-than-average transportation costs. We are investing in K-12 education at record levels, including a newly-created $26 million fund to reduce transportation costs for rural schools, a huge benefit for districts here in north Iowa.
By reducing the cost of transportation, schools can put more money back into the classroom. I’ll also continue to advocate for funding flexibility so that school districts can better spend their resources in a way that works best for their students, parents, teachers and staff.
Healthcare in rural Iowa is another issue that needs to be a priority — not just your traditional healthcare services, but also emergency medical services. Over the last few years, we have provided rural hospitals with additional funding so they can remain operational and in good financial condition.
I’ll continue to make sure that Iowans and their families are able to access critical mental health services and provide funding so services can be delivered efficiently and effectively. We have expanded telehealth, giving easier access to health professionals in our rural communities.
I served on the bipartisan subcommittee to develop and craft legislation to designate EMS as an essential service so that local governments would have the resources and certainty to make long-term investments in EMS infrastructure. This was a priority to our local supervisors and would fund life-saving emergency medical services for their citizens.
4. Best features of district? Our district is blessed with highly productive farmland, many strong businesses, good people and a great quality of life. I have been fortunate over the last four years to meet many people in the district. Their willingness to discuss issues and find solutions makes it easy for me to represent this district.
5. Goals: I will continue supporting a conservative and responsible budget, funding our priorities and reducing the tax burden for all Iowans.
There were bills that were sidelined due to COVID. I look forward to continuing to work on our bipartisan plan to reduce childcare costs and increase access to providers, our EMS and volunteer firefighters bill and the Governor’s Invest in Iowa plan.
Over the past four years, I have been accessible to the people of our district, and I make it a point to listen to their concerns. I will continue to work together to solve problems and accomplish the things that are important to our district and our state. I appreciate your support, and I ask for your vote.
Jane Podgorniak (D) — My husband is John Podgorniak, and we have a daughter Pearl, age 38, and son, Ian, age 36.
I grew up in Northwood and graduated from Northwood-Kensett High School. Both sides of my family were founders of Northwood, and I am the fourth generation to make Northwood my home.
I owned and published the Northwood Anchor weekly community newspaper for more than two decades, the Manly Junction Signal for 12 years and continue to publish the Nora Springs Rockford Register, which was acquired in 2006. I was honored with the Master Editor-Publisher Award from the Iowa Newspaper Association in 2011 by my peers in the Iowa Newspaper Association. I also worked as a paralegal at a law firm in Golden, Colo. as well as two other law firms in Laramie, Wyo.
I graduated from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Communications and attended and graduated from the Denver Paralegal Institute.
Currently I am the president (for the third time) for Chapter ES, P.E.O. International Sisterhood and have held all the other offices in the organization. I was the president of the Northwood Chamber of Commerce from 1997-2000, and I am currently the secretary/treasurer of the Waking Miss Winifred organization that is restoring the Hotel Northwood. I have served on various boards in the Northwood community to raise money for the Northwood Aquatic Center, the Northwood-Kensett All-Weather Track and the Northwood-Kensett Community Educational Foundation.
I am in this race because the Iowa government is ruled by one party. The Iowa House of Representatives, the Iowa Senate and the Governor are all Republicans. Because they have the majority, I don’t believe all Iowans are represented as well as they should be.
I believe in a two-party systems, because government tends to be less extreme, supports policies that appeal to a broader segment of the population and generally is more stable. I believe Democrats deserve a seat at the table. It will take only four seats to flip the House to a Democrat majority.
In recent years there have been many extreme laws passed in Iowa that hurt our workers, our healthcare, our education, our workers and our water quality.
I believe healthcare is a right. It’s obvious that employer-based healthcare is not sustainable with people losing their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government is continually working to increase healthcare coverage for all. If they agree on a plan, I think Iowa should take the fullest advantage of that plan, so Iowans with pre-existing conditions will be covered, family planning services are available statewide, ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare in rural communities and protect seniors from financial exploitation, neglect and abuse.
In regards to better education funding I will advocate to fund our public schools as a top priority, so schools can set their budgets on time. Teachers used to have the right to collective bargaining but lost that right in 2017. District 51 is located on the border of Minnesota. I am afraid that we are losing our best teachers to Minnesota because the pay is much higher.
I would also like to look into having lower or no cost for Iowa community colleges that can teach technical skills and prepare students who want to further their education by attending universities and four-year colleges.
Our workforce should have the right to organize. Unions have a bad reputation in Iowa, but history shows they have created a higher middle class and comfortable retirement for many people. I will advocate for workers’ right and safe workplaces. I believe we can create good jobs by investing in infrastructure improvements and promote renewable Iowa energy jobs.
Iowans deserve sustainable agriculture and better agriculture. Iowa is named the bread basket of the world, and I think we should encourage our farmers to improve our soil health by using no till or strip till farming practices, which decreases soil disturbance, and planting cover crops. I also think Iowa should increase the barrier zones from waterways so the chemicals do not wash downstream.
I want to be elected because I will listen to my constituents and work through problems with my colleagues in the House of Representatives and across the aisle. I have convictions that will make Iowans’ lives better and Iowa a better place to live.