The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

October 26, 2012

Political Profiles: Get to know the candidates

Get to know your political candidates, from the House of Representatives to the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

John Archer

City: Bettendorf
Contact information for voters: info@archerforcongress.com
Office sought: U.S. House of Representatives, Second District of Iowa
Age: 40
Family: Wife Andrea and children Henry (6) and Beatrice (3)
Occupation: Businessman and Senior Legal Counsel at John Deere
Education: B.A. in Political Science and Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University cum laude; J.D. Southern Illinois University School of Law cum laude; MBA Tippie School of Management at the University of Iowa.
Civic involvement: Bettendorf Rotary since 2010
Elected offices: Pleasant Valley Community School Board of Education since 2009

What are your three key issues?
1. Creating economic certainty by reducing burdensome regulations by placing a moratorium on new regulations until we can test new and existing regulations for cost/benefit.
2. Reducing taxes, including the corporate tax rate which is the highest in the world and hurts our ability to be the lowest total cost provider to our citizens and to export to others in the world.
3. Approve those free trade agreements that provide a win/win for both trade partners. I believe these would help spur the economy since they are all things that can be done quickly and they send a signal to all businesses that we are ready to create a healthy environment for business that is essential to creating jobs.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
My work experience both at John Deere and as part owner of the Bettendorf manufacturer, The Schebler Company, has provided me with a unique skill set to take the solutions and the leadership Iowans need to Washington. I am on the Pleasant Valley School Board because I want to make sure my children have the best education possible. And I am running for Congress because I am certain that we can do better than the path our country is on.

Being a U.S. Congressman is a balancing act. How do you plan to balance national priorities with the needs of the citizens of your district. Also, how do you plan to balance the needs of citizens in larger cities like Davenport or Iowa City with those in the Clinton area?
First, politicians need to make a given decision based on how good it will be for the country, not on how much it will help their reelection campaign. Second, I think balancing the national priorities with the needs Iowans is a prerequisite for any representative. I will always be available for citizens of the Second District and I will spend as much time in the district as possible.  I will be a strong advocate for all of Iowa’s Second District — that includes the large cities, the small towns, and the rural communities.

How do changes in earmarks affect the ability to secure funds for projects that will benefit the Clinton area? Do you support these changes?
One of the honest conversations we must have in Washington is how to balance the budget. We do that by controlling spending and encouraging growth. Our national debt is over $16 trillion, we cannot afford pork-barrel spending but we need to make sure projects that really do need to be funded are getting funded. We need a Representative who is willing and able to make difficult decisions.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district?
The government needs to foster economic growth. What these job creators need is government to get out of their way and create an environment that will foster innovation, investment, and job creation. I will do that by simplifying the tax code, lowering tax taxes, passing a balanced budget amendment, stopping the regulatory attack on farmers and small businesses, and by repealing and replacing ObamaCare. It is time that we provide certainty and common sense pro-growth policies so that we project renewed confidence in our economy, and remove Washington’s roadblocks to job creation.

Regionalization has greatly affected services in the Second Congressional District.  How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure residents in your district have access to the services they need?
We live in a changing environment. Technology is affecting how services are provided but we need to make sure citizens always have access to the services they need, and within a reasonable distance. Regionalization has been happening for well over 150 years. Clinton County has had three different county seats. Originally, it was moved from Camanche to a more centrally located DeWitt. As population density shifted toward the town of Clinton, the county seat was moved again. We will have to come up with innovative solutions to solve today’s problems just as we have solved them in the past.

Dave Loebsack

City: Iowa City
Contact information for voters: Loebsack for Congress, PO Box 3013, Iowa City, IA 52244. (319) 351-3283 www.loebsackforcongress.org
Office sought: US House of Representatives (IA-02)
Age: 59
Family: Wife Terry, children Jennifer, Sarah, Marcos, and Madeleine, and grandchildren Jacob, Leila, and Gabrielle.
Occupation: College Teacher
Education: BS, Political Science, Iowa State University (1974); MA, Political Science, Iowa State University (1976); PhD, Political Science, University of California Davis (1985)
Civic involvement: Cedar Rapids Area Chambers and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation 15 and 5, Iowa Humanities Board Public Speakers Bureau, Cornell College Admissions Committee, Cornell College Administration Committee
Elected offices: US House of Representatives (2007-present)

What are your three key issues?
Since day one, I have focused on job creation, strengthening the middle-class, supporting our veterans, and boosting economic development in our communities.  I will continue to work to create jobs in our state by fighting for our employers, whether it’s a small business that needs a tax cut to expand, a steel mill being hurt by illegal and unfair Chinese trade practices, infrastructure that must be repaired, or our farmers and rural communities who need a farm bill passed.  I will continue to fight for middle-class Iowans who need a tax cut, good jobs, and affordable education for their kids as well as seniors who deserve security in retirement.  Having two kids in the Marines, I will always stand up for our troops and veterans, and I will continue to fight for them so that they don’t have to fight for benefits, care, and a job after having served our country.  

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
I have a proven track record of working on a bipartisan basis to create jobs for Iowans, fight for Iowa employers and farmers, and grow our economy.  I have successfully worked across the aisle on issues affecting the Clinton area, including pushing to open Thomson prison. I am a military parent and have helped countless Iowa veterans get their benefits.  I have fought to create jobs, make college more affordable, fix Washington, protect Social Security and Medicare, and grow an economy that works for all Iowans.  I will continue to be Iowans’ strongest advocate.

Being a U.S. Congressman is a balancing act. How do you plan to balance national priorities with the needs of the citizens of your district? Also, how do you plan to balance the needs of citizens in larger cities like Davenport or Iowa City with those in the Clinton area?
I was raised in part by my grandmother who instilled strong Iowa values in me.  My top priority is to fight for those I represent.  We need an economy that works for all Iowans and good jobs in every part of our state.  My priorities are Iowans’ priorities.  I have long fought for every part of Iowa — whether it’s new economic development initiatives like the railport in Clinton, a strong agricultural economy for our entire state, or tax cuts for middle-class families.  I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis to move our communities and our state forward.   

How do changes in earmarks affect the ability to secure funds for projects that will benefit the Clinton area? Do you support these changes?
I’ve fought for strong ethics reforms and believe there must be more oversight, accountability and transparency so Iowans know what their elected officials are doing to represent their interests. I also believe a Representative’s job is to advocate for local and regional priorities and to be Iowans’ voice.  Unelected Washington bureaucrats don’t know what is best for Iowans and shouldn’t be able to make unilateral decisions that affect our community.  I have a proven track record of successfully advocating for the Clinton area’s priorities including Camanche Avenue and Thomson prison. I will continue to fight for the Clinton community’s priorities.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district?
We must cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses and stop Iowans’ jobs from being shipped overseas. We must build things in America again. I authored a bipartisan initiative to create and save jobs through workforce, education, and business partnerships. I’ll continue to push a “Make it in America” agenda with a focus on manufacturing and keeping jobs here in Iowa. This includes a national manufacturing strategy, stopping illegal Chinese trade practices, bringing jobs back to Iowa from overseas, and ensuring we have the education and infrastructure to out compete the global competition.

Regionalization has affected services in the Second Congressional District. How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure residents in your district have access to the services they need?
I’m fighting to ensure that local residents have access to these vital services. I pushed against closing the Social Security office and am working with Mayor Vulich to ensure services remain accessible. I’m also opposed to the closure of workforce development offices across Iowa. I personally met with the YWCA about the regionalization of domestic violence services funding and oppose the removal of funds from local programs.  I will continue to fight for the Clinton community and am committed to protecting Iowans’ access to critical services.

Andrew Naeve

City: Andover
Contact information for voters: (563)-249-5839, naeveforstatesenate@gmail.com
Office sought: State Senate District 49
Age: 28
Family: Kristin Naeve, Wife
Occupation: Farmer and Agri-businessman  
Education: East Central High School (2003), Degree in Farm Business Management & Finance from Cornell University (2007)
Civic involvement : Varsity Boys Basketball Coach at East Central High School (2009-2010), Member of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, Member of the Clinton County Farm Bureau, Member of Faith Lutheran Church in Andover  
Elected offices: East Central School Board (2008-2011) Vice President East Central School Board (2010-2011)

What are your three key issues?
• Issue One — Job creation and economic growth.
I will fight to create an environment that is friendly to job creators in Iowa. To achieve this we must have real property tax relief, common sense regulations, and do away with the uncertainty that is preventing many small businesses and entrepreneurs from investing in our area.
• Issue Two — Responsible budgeting/government spending.
Although Iowa has done a better job than many states in our nation, we can always do better. I would bring common sense approaches like not spending more than we take in, and not spending one-time dollars on ongoing expenses. I will be a budget watchdog for the taxpayers in this district.
• Issue Three — World class education.
If we provide great teachers in every classroom, adequate financial resources, world-class standards, ambitious benchmarks and a rigorous curriculum grounded in the fundamentals, our children and grandchildren will be successful.

What experience would you bring that would make you the best candidate?
My experience of owning my own small business for the last 10 years will help me create an environment that is friendly to job creators so that we draw new businesses to the area as well as help current businesses expand.  Being a former vice president of a local school board allowed me to see first hand the challenges that our schools face as well as changes that need to be made. In addition, the experience I have gained in setting budgets and protecting taxpayers will help me be a great representative for the people of this district.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of the city of Clinton versus the rest of the county?
I have had the unique experience of growing up just outside the city of Clinton, while living in a rural portion of the district.  This experience has allowed me to have in-depth knowledge of the issues that are important to the city of Clinton, as well as those issues important to rural parts of the district.  Most importantly, I pledge to travel to all portions of the district, listen carefully and work hard to represent all the citizens of this district — no matter where they live.

The Iowa Legislature has failed to take action on commercial property tax reform for two years. What would you do to ensure this matter concludes by the end of next session?
I support permanent and authentic property tax relief for all classes of property and I will fight hard to make it happen.  Property tax relief is critical to growing Iowa’s economy and creating jobs.
Although we need permanent reductions for employers and taxpayers, we also must remain sensitive to the needs of local governments and the services they provide.  I know we can work together to strike a balance to provide relief to hardworking taxpayers while allowing local governments sufficient resources to continue to provide the necessary services we all depend on.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide?
The state of Iowa and this district are so full of potential, but the one thing we do not have is an environment that is friendly to job creators.  To create this environment we must have real property tax reform while ensuring we have reasonable levels of government regulations that will allow small businesses to grow and expand.  Most importantly we must do away with the uncertainty that is preventing many of the small businesses and entrepreneurs from investing in our area.  With these changes, I have no doubt that we will grow our economy and make Iowa stronger.

Regionalization has greatly affected services the Clinton area. Services such as the workforce development office and the social security office have been removed from Clinton. Mental health and victims of domestic abuse services are also being regionalized.  How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure Clinton residents have access to the services they need?
I will fight for the interests of Clinton and Scott counties in the Senate. We need to ensure that when it makes sense, we partner with others but that we also do not lose our local services. Making government more efficient and effective is always important. It should be the goal of every public servant. I believe a balanced approach can be struck between ensuring services are offered locally and ensuring that every tax dollar is spent wisely.  

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
Giving our children a world-class education is critical.  I received a great public education right here in eastern Iowa and have served a term on the East Central School Board.  Iowa is no longer first in the nation in education.  In order to get back to the top, we must put great teachers in every classroom, provide adequate financial resources, create world-class standards, set ambitious benchmarks and provide a rigorous curriculum grounded in the fundamentals.  If we achieve these benchmarks, I have no doubt we can prepare our children and grandchildren to be competitive in a global economy.

Rita Hart

Office sought: State Senator for District 49
Age: 56
Family: Husband, Paul.  Children:  Michaela, 29, Marae, 26, Karen, 24, Tressa, 20, and Alec, 18.
Occupation: Co-owner/operator of family farm
Education: AA, North Iowa Area Community College;  BA, English Education, University of Northern Iowa;  MA, Educational Administration, University of Iowa
Civic involvement: Volunteer, Genesis West Hospital, Davenport;  Clinton County Planning and Zoning Commissioner;  Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission member
Elected offices:  None

What are your three key issues?
The number one issue in Iowa is the economy and workforce development.  Working together with businesses, farmers and local manufacturers, our high schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions must foster an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses and produce workers with the skills needed to revive and strengthen local and regional economies.
Health care affordability and accessibility is a quality of life issue for all Iowans.  As Iowa redesigns the state’s mental health service system, we must make sure that the health care system in Iowa is consistent and equitable for all citizens.
We all want the children in this state to have the best education possible.  I share the vision of the Iowa Core to ensure the success of every student by providing a world-class curriculum.  Iowa must invest in children’s future by providing the best educational opportunities and continue to improve student achievement.

What experience would you bring that would make you the best candidate?
My background in education, co-owning and operating our family farm, parenting five children, and volunteering has given me the life experiences and listening skills to be an effective voice for the citizens of District 49.  I believe my life and career have given me a broad perspective and insight into the issues that affect the people of eastern Iowa.  Serving on two commissions has given me public policy experience where I’ve been able to ask the important questions, listen to all sides of an argument, respect all opinions, and work with others to solve problems and improve the status quo.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of the city of Clinton versus the rest of the county?
It all starts with listening.  The city of Clinton faces some difficult challenges that differ decidedly from those of the rest of the county, and I have had many conversations about those issues with people while door knocking.  I will do my best to represent those different needs if I’m fortunate enough to earn the votes of people here in Senate District 49.  I will continue to listen to the concerns and look for good ideas from all sides that will make sense for those in the city and for those in the rest of the county.  

The Iowa Legislature has failed to take action on commercial property tax reform for two years. What would you do to ensure this matter concludes by the end of next session?
I look forward to helping Gov. Branstad achieve a property tax system that is good for Iowa businesses and will positively affect the overall Iowa economy without reducing necessary county and municipal services.  
What I can do to help ensure the passage of a fair property tax reform plan is to listen to business owners, use my common sense, and bring my experience as a homeowner and farmer to the discussion in Des Moines.  I believe that we need that kind of perspective in order to get this job done right.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide?
Together,  we can do several things: 1. Give Iowa companies first shot at state and local contracts.   2. Continue to invest in the wind energy industry and  other industries related to domestic energy production like the manufacture of solar panels and geothermal heating systems.   We have a skilled manufacturing workforce,  let’s put them to use.   3. Reform our commercial property tax system to help Iowa businesses expand and hire more workers.   4. Boost job-training funds for our community colleges to help graduating high school students and displaced workers learn the skills they need to land local jobs and attract additional employers into the state.

Regionalization has greatly affected services the Clinton Area. Services such as the workforce development office and the social security office have been removed from Clinton. Mental health and victims of domestic abuse services are also being regionalized. How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure Clinton residents have access to the services they need?
Removing the workforce offices during this economic recession doesn’t make much sense to me.   Replacing those offices and their trained staff with computer kiosks hasn’t proven to be a very effective means of delivering services to the people here that need help finding a job.   Regionalization of mental health services can provide a uniform system of delivery; however, the Legislature has reduced funding for Clinton County, creating a lot of uncertainty and anxiety among providers, families, and those receiving services.  I will work hard to make sure that funding meets the ongoing needs of the mental health community.

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
There is no more important issue for the future of the state of Iowa than making sure that our education system is sustainable and of the highest quality.  Iowa needs to recruit the best and brightest into education, and retain and reward teachers and administrators who boost student achievement.  To ensure sustainability, this system must have consistent, reliable funding.  We cannot afford funding cuts that result in crowded classrooms and a shortage of educational resources.  I will help Governor Branstad improve our school system standards by utilizing best practices that are data driven and proven to truly help students succeed.

Steve Olson

City: DeWitt, Iowa
Contact information for voters: 2731 221st Street, DeWitt, Iowa 52742
Office sought: Iowa House District #97
Age: 65
Family: Wife Eunice, son Kurt (wife Darla, children Brock and Brady), daughter Karin (husband Ron Schmitt, children Peyton and Logan)
Occupation: Farmer/Legislator
Education: Graduate Calamus High School, Attended Iowa State University
Civic involvement: Served in the Iowa Air National Guard, former member local school board, former chairman of church council. Member of numerous local, state, and national community and agricultural groups.
Elected offices: Former school board member, served 10 years as representative of Iowa House District #83
 

What are your three key issues?
Key issues are property tax and gas tax reform, education, as well as job creation and attracting business to Iowa.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
I have the longtime small business background, and the ability to work across the aisle to build consensus, to represent the residents of Iowa House District 97, as I have demonstrated serving the residents of my district for the past 10 years.

How do you plan to work with legislators who represent larger, more urban areas to ensure the needs of the citizens in your district are heard and met?
See above.

The Iowa Legislature has failed to take action on commercial property tax reform for two years.  What would you do to ensure this matter concludes by the end of next session?
I would hope a reduction in commercial and industrial taxes can be achieved; however, I am not going to predict how much the reduction will amount to.  Hopefully, as a part of the property tax discussion the fuel tax issue can be addressed in respect to infrastructure repair of the roads and bridges in Iowa. I suspect the entire proposal and implementation of some would happen over a span or three or four years.  

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide?
If tax reform is accomplished and we spend some time simplifying the regulatory process, as well as investing in and training our workforce, I think that will send the message that Iowa is a place to start a business.

Regionalization has greatly affected services the Clinton and Scott County areas.  Services such as the workforce development office and the social security office have been removed from Clinton. Mental health and victims of domestic abuse services are also being regionalized.  How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure residents in your district have access to the services they need?
Many people are frustrated with the regionalization of mental health and domestic abuse services, along with the relocation of additional offices; however, the programs are not financially sustainable to continue to operate as they do presently. Continued cuts to Medicaid from the federal government have increased the demands on the Iowa budget. Change is difficult, but services will still be provided, even though clients may have to travel outside of the city of Clinton to obtain them.

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
If education reform is accomplished, I hope that it will include innovation, accountability, and school choices for the parents of Iowa’s school age children.

Ted Whisler

What are your three key issues?
While all issues are important and should be addressed we need to prioritize a few such as the economy, equitable employment, education, and the state’s infrastructure.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
As a bargaining committee member for 30 years, committeeman and steward I have learned many negotiating skills. With these skills I have learned it is much less costly and less hostile to resolve problems before they reach critical mass. I am therefore willing to reach across political boundaries to at living wages and keep the funds circulating in the local economies. I am more than willing to entertain any plausible ideas that would enhance the district’s and Iowa’s economy.

Regionalization has greatly affected services in the Clinton and Scott County areas. Services such as the workforce development office and the Social Security Office have been removed from Clinton. Mental health and victims of domestic abuse services are also being regionalized. How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure residents in your district have access to the services they need?
I believe the services have been moved too far to be of any convenience to many of the residents of these areas. Underfunded federal mandates have put many programs in financial hardships. I feel in the long run it will cost more and shuffle the costs onto other departments. Children with behavioral problems for instance. Will the schools now be responsible for professional counselors? Some consolidation could be done but what has been thrust upon us has been done too radically and without much thought. We need to rethink our strategy and find the funding to keep services accessible.

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
I believe tuition for preschool should be available for any child whose parents cannot afford it. Preschool is vital for children to prepare them socially and for basic skills to enter Kindergarten, therefore giving them a head start in the learning process. I believe parents should be held accountable for discipline and truant students. The state of Iowa Legislators should keep the costs of community colleges and universities as low as possible without sacrificing quality education. With everyone doing their part we can make this work.

Carolyn Grimes

Candidate: Carolyn Grimes
City: Clinton
Contact Information for Voters: www.carolyngrimes.com, carolyn@carolyngrimes.com
Office Sought: State Representative House District 98
Age: 67
Family: Husband, Willard M. Grimes, Chemist at Sethness Products Company; Daughter, Diana Grimes Palmer, Corporate Attorney in Des Moines
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Education: B.A. magna cum laude, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA, Double Major in English and French; Graduate Work in Reading at Montclair State University, Montclair NJ
Civic Involvement: Current -  Co-President, Episcopal Church Women, St. Anne’s, Morrison IL; Treasurer, Riverboat Rustlers Square Dance Club; Assistant Co-Chair, 2016 National Square Dance Convention; Selective Service Commission, Local Board 4. Past - Chairman, City of Clinton Bicentennial Commission; Past President and Vice President, Clinton Public Library Board; Past President, V.P, and Treasurer, Iowa Library Trustees’ Association; Former Girl Scout Leader; Chaired and served on many political candidate committees.
Elected Offices: None

What are your three key issues?
My issues this year are jobs, education and representation. The best way to add jobs to our state is to create a climate conducive to business growth.  This would include protecting Iowa’s Right to Work Law, working toward tax relief for Iowa’s existing businesses and reviewing state regulations of businesses.
In the area of education, the state legislature must work in a bipartisan fashion to achieve permanent exemption from the well-intentioned but unrealistic federal No Child Left Behind program.
As far as representation is concerned, it appears that the representative government of the past has fallen victim to the two-party system.  Our elected representatives are expected to support the legislative agendas of their respective parties.  Furthermore, the parties seem less willing to work together and compromise.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make me the best candidate?
Because I have been involved in different careers, I have hands-on experience in several areas addressed by the legislature.  I have been a classroom teacher, I have worked in Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance billing, and, for the past 21 years, I have been Administrative Assistant for a small business, paying taxes and complying with state regulations.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of the city of Clinton versus the rest of the county?
City and county residents have the same basic needs — the ability to earn a living, access to quality education, and a safe and healthy environment.  In Iowa’s agricultural economy, what is good for the farms is good for the cities, and when the cities thrive, it is generally because the farms are thriving.

The Iowa Legislature has failed to take action on commercial property tax reform for two years. What would you do to ensure this matter concludes by the end of next session?
If I am elected, I will work toward negotiating a compromise which would involve a smaller percentage tax cut (10-15 percent) on a one-time basis.  This would give legislators and local governments the opportunity to be sure that the cut is working the way it was intended.  If it is, a future legislature could enact a future cut.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide?
Supporting the railport and the four-laning of U.S. 30 should help stimulate the economy in this area. Also, Iowa needs to be proactive in providing support services for the eventual opening of the now federal Thomson prison and housing for prison employees moving to the area. As for job growth, I would encourage expansion and simplification of the Iowa Jobs Tax Credit so that any existing employer adding a full-time employee would receive a credit toward corporate income tax.

Regionalization has greatly affected services the Clinton area. How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure Clinton residents have access to services they need?
Sadly, Clinton’s Workforce Development and Social Security offices are gone, but I would encourage both entities to set up a schedule offering services monthly at a site in Clinton, such as City Hall or the library. Regionalization of other services was accomplished as an economic measure, so that policy could be set at the state level, supervision accomplished at the regional level, and most important, services delivered at the local level.  We must be vigilant about safeguarding that local service delivery for mental health clients and victims of abuse, whatever the cost.

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
The best way to maximize student achievement and a sound educational system is to encourage students to want to learn.  This can be accomplished with a partnership involving parents and teachers, starting at the preschool level.  We must ensure that our students have the tools for learning, whether those tools be textbooks or computers.  Teachers should teach in their subjects, or should at least demonstrate proficiency in the subjects they teach.  School budgets should be examined to be sure money designated by the state for a specific purpose is being used for that purpose, not being absorbed by educational bureaucracy.

Mary Wolfe

City: Clinton
Contact information for voters: office phone: 563-243-4652; cell: 563-321-9724
Office sought: Representative, Iowa House District 98
Age: 49
Family: Son John, age 17, senior at Clinton High School; Parents: Jack and Pierrette Wolfe; Seven younger siblings
Occupation: Attorney in Clinton (work with my dad, Jack Wolfe); Current State Representative for IA House District 26
Education: Graduated from Mater Dei High School in 1981; Bachelors and J.D. from University of Iowa
Civic involvement: Clinton County Justice Coordinating Council
Elected offices: Elected as State Representative for Iowa House District 26 in November 2010

What are your three key issues?
A. The last minute amendment to last session’s mental health redesign bill is having and will continue to have a big negative impact on the ability of some counties (including Clinton) to provide their residents with quality mental health services. The legislature needs to fix this, and address other problems with the bill.
B. The expansion of U.S. 30 to a four lane is key to Clinton County’s economic future. Elected officials from this area must work together w/our local DOT Commissioner to get that project moving.
C. Ensuring that commercial property tax reform is handled in a fiscally responsible and non-partisan manner 

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
For the past two years, I’ve represented District 26 in the Iowa House. I’ve learned a lot (including the fact that I have a lot more to learn), and I’ve worked hard to win the respect and trust of my constituents and of my colleagues (from both parties). In addition, for the past 20 years I’ve practiced law with my father in Clinton; during my legal career, I’ve represented hundreds of Clinton County residents, working with my clients to achieve the best possible result and, when necessary, fighting to protect their rights, their property, and their freedom.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of the city of Clinton versus the rest of the county?
Before I can address the needs/concerns of any of my constituents, I need to know what they are: I will have bi-monthly “listening posts” in the Andover/Goose Lake/Charlotte/Low Moor area to discuss and get input on upcoming legislation and to answer any questions about what I have/haven’t done in Des Moines, and I will ask both the Clinton Herald and the DeWitt Observer to put a link to my legislative blog (representativemarywolfe.com) on their websites to help keep all of my constituents informed about bills of interest to our area.

The Iowa Legislature has failed to take action on commercial property tax reform for two years. What would you do to ensure this matter concludes by the end of next session?
Realistically, the House and Senate leadership control if and when the legislature votes on a particular bill.
But I will work with my colleagues (both R and D) to develop a reasonable, fiscally responsible property tax bill, and I will encourage my party leadership to cooperate with the other party’s leadership in a non-partisan manner to move reasonable bills (from either party) forward — and since I’m sure my colleagues in the Republican party will be doing the same thing, I’m confident that we be able to pass a fiscally responsible commercial property tax reform bill in the coming term.

What can you do specifically to help the economy in your district? How can you help create jobs in your district and statewide?
Improving/expanding U.S. 30 is critical to Clinton County’s long term economic success — the elected officials from this area (local/state/federal) need to make this project a priority, and as a member of the House Transportation Committee I am in a good position to help ensure that this happens. And while I doubt that property tax reform will create any Clinton County jobs in the short run, I assume it will encourage economic development in the long run — but we need to ensure the loss of property tax revenue doesn’t force local governments to lay off employees.

Regionalization has greatly affected services the Clinton area. How do you feel about the regionalization of services and what would you do to ensure Clinton residents have access to services they need?
Regionalization is not in and of itself a bad thing; however, simply eliminating state/federal funding for local services that help our elderly, unemployed, disabled, mentally ill, and/or abused residents is neither fiscally nor morally responsible. I will work to re-open our local workforce development office at least part time, and to restore our county government’s ability to provide quality, locally based mental health care to Clinton County residents. And I am confident that together, we (the legislature/YWCA/community) will be able to keep Clinton County’s successful and very necessary victim services programs right here in Clinton County.

What would you do to ensure the education system in Iowa is sustainable and encourages student achievement?
Sufficient funding, on both the state and local level, is critical. Since any dramatic decrease in commercial property taxes is going to have a dramatically negative impact on the budgets of local school districts, and since some areas of the state will experience the promised economic benefits of property tax reform long before other areas, the legislature needs to be willing to supplement the budgets of individual school districts until such time, if ever, that property tax reform stimulates a community’s economy to the extent that the increase in tax revenue makes up for the decrease in property tax revenue.

Tom Determann

City: Clinton
Office sought: Clinton County Supervisor
Age: 62
Family: Wife Judy married 40 yrs., 2 daughters, 3 grandchildren
Occupation: Retired
Education: Graduate of St Mary’s High School ,attended  Milwaukee School of Engineering, Military Service - US Army Veteran
Civic involvement: Chamber of Commerce- Past Chairman, Community Leader of the Year, Volunteer of the Year; Clinton Regional Development Corporation - Past Chairman; Rotary - President Elect; Builder’s Club - Past President;  Iowa/Illinois Highway Partnership - Past President; Board of Directors for Association of Business and Industry (ABI) in Des Moines   
Elected offices: none

What are your three key issues?
The most important issues are budget, jobs, and roads.  
1. Clinton County should live within its means with a balanced budget.  This will keep property taxes from increasing, and we will be able to keep a healthy reserve.  
2. Clinton County has in excess of 1,590 unemployed citizens.  I will work to promote an environment that will attract new business and retain and expand existing businesses.
3. Maintaining and improving our roads, gravel and farm to market, as well as completion of a four-lane U.S. 30 west of DeWitt, is of great importance for the growth of the economy of Clinton County.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
I spent 40 years in the private sector working my way up to the position of president of Determann Industries.  During these years I hired many people and handled multi-million dollar budgets. This led to solid growth of the company which created jobs, paid taxes, and was an asset to the community. I would apply this experience and knowledge to conducting the business of the county of Clinton.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of Clinton County versus the city of Clinton?
I plan to respect the needs of all of the citizens of Clinton County whether from large or small communities or the rural areas. To fairly represent all citizens of Clinton County, I will work for a balanced budget while maintaining and expanding services as needed.  

How do you plan to address the current mental health redesign and its effects on the county?
Clinton County has already joined four other counties: Cedar, Jackson, Muscatine, and Scott, in setting up a regional mental health board. This regionalization will reduce our taxes from $58.71 per taxpayer to $47.28 per taxpayer and will save the citizens of Clinton County $561,724.  I will be an active participant representing the county’s interest and  getting the back fill dollars from the state to make up for this cut to the county’s mental health services.

How do you view the current progress of the railport project? How do you hope to continue to promote the development of the area?
Great progress is being made on the railport. The most difficult facets — rail from the Union Pacific main line and the sewer — are complete. As of today, track is being laid  into the park. I have and will continue to partner with Clinton Regional Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and city, county, state, and federal officials to promote Clinton County.

What do you see as the role of property taxes within the county? How would you best utilize taxes to serve the county taxpayer?
To remain competitive, we must lower our commercial and industrial property taxes;  this will produce jobs. The more jobs, the larger the tax base. I will be very prudent with Clinton County tax dollars and will maximize a return on taxpayers’ investment.  

What are your plans for the new DeWitt annex building? Besides the offices already slated to go into the building, what do you want the location to offer the area?
Ours is a long, rectangular county, so the annex in DeWitt will serve the western part of the county well. If additional offices or departments move to the DeWitt annex, they must consider their budgets and be very cautious of ongoing monthly expenses in a new location.

John Staszewski

What are your three key issues?
• Property Taxes:  Maintain low taxes while still providing needed services to Clinton County residents.
• Economic Development:  Need to be a partner with all the communities in the county and with the various economic development organizations.
• Roads:  Due to lack of funding, the county is falling behind in maintaining our transportation system. We can’t rely on property taxes for this.  Although unpopular, we need the state legislature to increase the road use tax fund.

What experience would you bring to this position that would make you the best candidate?
I have worked for local government for over 30 years. This experience has taught me that my number one priority is to serve the people. I have carried this over in my present position as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

How do you plan to represent the different needs of the citizens of Clinton County versus the city of Clinton?
I don’t look at it as “them vs us.” We all live in Clinton County. It doesn’t matter if you live in Clinton, Camanche, DeWitt or Lost Nation.  As a member of the Board of Supervisors, we don’t care where you live.  You’re a resident of Clinton County.

How do you plan to address the mental health redesign and its effects on the county?
The mental health program will be a major overhaul of the delivery of mental health services for the county.  Many residents of Clinton County may not know that with the combination of federal, state and local funds, these services represent a large portion of our budget.  As required by the new law, we have joined together with five other counties in our area  to form a regional consortium to coordinate the delivery of these services.  All the counties agreed to maintain our own funding and to insure that services now available to county resident will be maintained in the future.

How do you view the current progress of the railport project? How do you hope to continue to promote the development of the area?
The county has and will continue its support of the railport.  This is the biggest economic development project in the history of the county.  The Board of Supervisors know this is not a city of Clinton project.  It is something that will benefit the entire county. Due to economic conditions, it has not progressed as fast as we hoped.  With an improving economy, we know it will succeed.  I will continue this partnership to insure the success of the project.

What do you see as the role of property taxes within the county? How would you best utilize taxes to serve the county taxpayer?
When I look at our budget, I ask myself how will this benefit Clinton County. Each year when we go through the various departmental budgets, I look at each line item and ask myself if its worth it.  
I believe each department in the county has this same mindset.

What are your plans for the new DeWitt annex building? Besides the offices already slated to go into the building, what do you want the location to offer the area?
The project started out as way to get the Sheriff’s Dewitt office out of an old feed store.  We realized that with a bigger vision, we could increase the availability of county services to residents in the central and western parts of the county.
Instead of having to spend almost a half a day traveling to Clinton for county business, they will now be able to cut this time in half.   Eventually we hope to have most county offices located in this building.

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Clinton
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