CLINTON — While Brian Schmidt has enjoyed his first term on the Clinton County Board of Supervisors, he will not seek re-election in November.
Instead, he will run for Iowa State Senate, representing the 49th District.
Schmidt on Thursday revealed he has been considering the change since early this year, when the board started the budget process. As part of the Secondary Roads project, the board took the almost $1 million county projects and narrowed it down to $350,000 in projects, which still required the county to raise the rural levy by 25 cents.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Schmidt said. ‘We can’t keep shifting our costs of maintaining our roads to the taxpayers.”
The Republican would challenge incumbent Democrat Iowa Sen. Rita Hart, who is also completing her first term at the Iowa Senate.
Schmidt said he respects Hart and the work she has done since being elected. He added that he knows she really does work for the people. However, he believes he is “equipped to more directly address the questions” which face the state and the district.
A supporter of the the road usage tax or gas tax, Schmidt said a 10-cent increase is needed to help fund Iowa roads. The gas tax has not seen an increase since 1989. Schmidt said that with cars getting better gas mileage today, an average driver is actually paying less per mile than in 1989.
Other key issues for Schmidt are the mental health redesign and education. The Board of Supervisors have worked within its region to make changes necessary for the redesign.
“As far as a county supervisor, I am at a loss to find solutions to those issues,” Schmidt said. “So I decided the answer to the issue is not within the county; it is within the legislature.”
During his three years on the board, Schmidt and the other supervisors have worked toward building a DeWitt satellite office and address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues. He has also represented the board during the formation of a regional mental health structure with the Cedar, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties. He added that he feels he has done all of his duties while also operating within the framework of a fiscally responsible budget.
Schmidt will miss the Board of Supervisors. His greatest joy on the board has been working with those employed in and serving the county.
“My greatest frustrations in serving as County Supervisor are the reasons I am seeking consideration as senator for this district,” Schmidt said.