The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Top News

October 31, 2013

Camanche candidate profiles

Camanche residents will decide Tuesday who will represent the city as mayor and which three, of seven hopefuls, will fill the vacant seats on the Camanche City Council.

Incumbents Linda Kramer and Greg Nelson will face off against newcomers Mike McManus, Charlie Blount, Lewis Creed, Marvin Lind and William Wruck for the council positions, while current city councilman Trevor Willis will challenge Ken Fahlbeck to his position as mayor.

The candidate elected as mayor will serve a term of two years and the three candidates chosen to join the city council will each serve a term of four years.

Blount and Nelson chose not to participate in the questions.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Church of the Visitation, 1032 Middle Road in Camanche.

Trevor Willis — Mayor candidate

I am a lifelong resident of the city of Camanche. I was educated in the Camanche School system, graduating in 1985. My wife Kimberly and I are the parents of four children who were also educated in the Camanche schools.

I am presently attending the University of Dubuque and will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in business. I intend to pursue my MBA at Dubuque as well.

I am a former member of many committees and organizations, including a volunteer and past president of Camanche Days, Inc. I am currently serving my second term on the Camanche city council.
Presently, I am employed by the Clinton Schools Transportation Department.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

I have had the opportunity to work with many diverse groups of people aimed at growing different organizations. As president of several different organizations, we were always looking for ways to grow. But, growing does not just mean numbers. Every institution needs to grow intellectually as well. In your efforts to meet the goals of the group, you must take the knowledge that you gain and utilize it in both the present and future endeavors. You must gain this knowledge from any and all sources. However, you first must be willing to grow. If you are closed-minded and think that you have all of the answers, you will never give yourself the opportunity to grow. Our minds are like parachutes — they only function when they are open.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

All of the experiences I have had in leadership roles, or any other role within an organization, have taught me that communication is vital to attaining the goals of the group. Aside from learning of the various avenues of communication, I have also learned how to communicate. I have the ability to communicate with anyone, regardless of their culture, education level or socioeconomic status. Good communication skills, especially from someone in a leadership position, are essential. As a leader, you have to be able to effectively communicate your vision to the group if you have any intention of the group following your lead.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as mayor of Camanche?

One of the biggest challenges would be leading such a diverse group of people. We must reach a consensus and have everyone on the same page as to what is best for the community. That is not an easy thing to do when there are so many different ideas and thought processes involved. Also, we need to take into account the future of the city. We must make decisions that will allow our children and grandchildren to remain here without passing a large burden on to them.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

As a leader, you must create a vision for the community. The vision must be not only for the short term, but for the long range future as well. By utilizing communication skills, you must gather all of the information that is available in order to lead the city in the proper direction. Using the knowledge we have gained from having been in similar situations throughout the years will be of great importance to determining a vision for the city. We must also look on the horizon to see what may be coming at the federal and state levels and be prepared to combat these issues.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

Rising rates are always going to be an issue in any city government. I think the answer here is simple: we must prioritize. At the end of the day we must take into account the city’s revenues and balance those with our expenditures. By putting everything on the table and assigning a priority to each issue, we should be able to produce a clear vision of how to proceed. The one thing we must do is to continue to be proactive. We have seen many cities’ infrastructure deteriorate because city government failed to take action. We cannot allow that to happen in Camanche or our children and grandchildren will be faced with the burden of cleaning up our mess.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

We have begun the process of making Camanche more attractive to both commercial and residential expansion through our creation of Urban Renewal areas and Tax Increment Financing. I believe that some of the other things our city has to offer — good schools, the river, good services, etc. are also very attractive to potential residential or business developers, and are not a burden to maintaining services. We also continue to partner with the Clinton Regional Development Corporation and we are actively looking to bring commercial business to the community.

Linda Kramer — Incumbent council member

I am a long-time resident of Camanche. I graduated from Camanche High School and furthered my education in business at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.

After working for many years, I saw a need in the community and started TLK Daycare. I took many classes on early childhood development and also trained for court appointed special advocation for children.

Besides my love of children, I love to cook and started another business, Kramer Specialty Foods, which is now my present job.

I have also been involved in many community organizations such as, Kids First Academy, Clinton Credit Women's and many others. I also served on the board for A Taste of Iowa, which is a state organization for small food businesses in Iowa.

I have served for the last eight years on the Camanche City Council.  

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

Being involved in many local and state boards. Being the first president of the board of directors for Kids First Academy. Being one of the founders of the center, starting it from an idea to what it is today, and working with local, state and federal agencies to accomplish this.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

Being involved in city and state organizations, I have learned to work with all types of people. You learn to listen, give opinions, make discussions and learn to respect other people's opinions. This is all done with good communication.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as a Camanche City Council member?

Being on the city council for eight years, I have learned that you run across many challenges. The biggest challenge has been educating the citizens of Camanche on what we as a council can really do for this city. So many things are mandated by the state of Iowa and are out of the city's control.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

Doing my homework and providing that information to the citizens of Camanche. Being honest and not making promises that I cannot keep.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

Camanche is a very sound community financially. We need to watch our spending, but continue to be proactive. This can be done by having a sound budget and keeping our long term goals in focus at all times.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

Having the best core services which is our Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works and recreational areas; being proactive.

Marvin Lind — City council candidate

I am 46 years old and was born and raised in Camanche. I have been married for 26 years to Sue Lind and have two children. My son Justin Lind is 24 years old and currently serves in the Iowa Army National Guard. My daughter, Amber Lind, owns her own business in Clinton, Kitchen and Bath Inspirations.

I attended Camanche Schools and graduated in 1986. I joined the United States Army and the Iowa Army National Guard. I worked for TMK IPSCO for 21 years, mostly as a team leader.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

Being a veteran of the United States Army and Iowa Army National Guard, I put in a lot of effort assisting overseas and domestic operations. Working for both organizations educated me on the problems locally and throughout the world, from a government standpoint. I put a lot of effort into assisting operations in Germany, Honduras and many other countries throughout the world. After being honorably discharged from both organizations, I joined the team at TMK Ipsco where I became a team leader. Ipsco requires dedication because of the strenuous hours and labor-intensive work environment.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

Communication is key between city officials and the public. City officials need to know the problems citizens are facing, so that every vote city officials make, benefit the community in a positive manner. Working for enormous organizations like the military, it is sometimes hard to pass accurate information down through the chain of command. I have learned ways to grab this information, retain it accurately and pass it down to the people below me and above me. I have took this experience and incorporated into many factors in my life including my friends, family and other leadership positions, bettering my skills. When I am elected to the Camanche city council, I will do everything in my power to pass information down to the public. I will be open to the public at all times so their voices are heard in local government decisions.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as a Camanche City Council member?

The largest challenge I will face when I move into a council seat is the current problem the council is facing; communication between them and the public. Many people say that in order for communication to occur in Camanche, the citizens have to attend the monthly meetings held at city hall. The simple fact is the lack of communication is not because of the great citizens of Camanche, not attending meetings. Camanche is full of hardworking people going to work every day and raising children. In addition, Camanche has a large population of elderly that cannot physically get to the meetings or do not have rides. When I am elected into office, I will make it a priority to communicate with all people of Camanche, so that I can voice their opinions and alternate ideas on decisions being made by the council.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

My favorite quote in relation to communication is a simple one from John Heywood which states: “Two people may be able to solve a problem that an individual cannot.” I would elaborate on this and say 4,429 people, the whole population of Camanche, may be able to solve problems that an individual cannot. I will do everything in my power to involve every person in decisions being made by the council, when elected. To do this my phone and email will be readily available for all citizens of Camanche to express ideas and concerns. I will talk with individuals or groups so that positive decisions can be made to benefit all people in Camanche. If any elderly or other person wants to attend city council meetings, call me and I will personally come pick you up, so your voice is heard.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

To combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche, there needs to be a strict budget adherence. All future projects in Camanche must be budgeted and planned multiple years in advance to prevent rising taxes. Another focus of mine will be responsible spending. All purchases from the city of Camanche will be looked at thoroughly. My goal when in office, is to build a surplus for the town so that in an emergency, the city will be able to afford the emergency and prevent the trend of rising taxes. When projects are done in Camanche, I will hold the contracted organization responsible for all their actions so we can stop reckless spending. I have walked the town and almost every person I have spoken with is concerned about rising taxes. It is time for this trend to end. I will make this issue my priority because this personally affects me too. Let us communicate as a community and get this problem solved.

Mike McManus — City council candidate

I was born and raised in Camanche. I am married to Kay and the father of three boys aged 2, 8 and 13.

I have been involved with the development and operations of many youth sport programs in Camanche for the past eight years. During this time I have promoted many youth sport tournaments that have brought in hundreds of spectators that spend money in our community.

I have also served on the Parks and Recreations board for a few years and helped update and add many new park improvements including, a new baseball field with out raising property taxes.

I am currently the service center manager for Presto-X company where I build budgets, manage projects, employees and day-to-day operations and finances.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

My employment at Presto-X company has been very successful. I’ve been promoted twice in the past year and have always been a leader in the industry and the company. My success can be measured by my rapid growth and respect among my peers.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

I work in the service industry and the ability to communicate is a must. I’m in the public everyday, and many times, have to answer detailed questions in regards to the legal side of our business. Many times I’m explaining in detail to businesses or the public exactly how they can benefit from my services.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as a Camanche City Council member?

The biggest challenge will be to have the community’s trust and have confidence in the council’s ability to make good decisions. There’s been a lot of negativity toward recent councils based on various reasons. Balancing budgets and responsible spending is the easy part.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

I plan to make good educated decisions based on what I think is in the best interest of our community. Open lines of communication between myself and our community is guaranteed. I stand behind my decisions and wouldn’t vote without exploring the facts.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

Both of these are very important keeping up with a great community. Our infrastructure projects need to be prioritized by need and completed as necessary when funding is available. Rising costs are always expected and proper pre-planning with budgets can avoid a loss in service or a rise in taxes.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

Our community has taken big steps in recent years to make major upgrades. I’d like to see this continue to make our town more attractive to new businesses and new residents as long as the budget allows it. I plan to use my business experience to create good relationships with our established businesses to promote expansion and additional opportunities in our community.

Lewis Creed — City council candidate

I graduated from Clinton High School and now work for Clinton County. I have a varied employment background from home construction to heavy equipment mechanic for the last 19 years.

In many of these areas I have had to work with, and comply with the needs of the public. I also worked with those departments to meet budget guidelines.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

I have worked as a crew leader on several jobs and had to get the job done in a timely manner and within a budget.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

Having worked in these groups, I have learned better communication skills to assist people with their issues. I have found more optimal ways to finding a resolution.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as a Camanche City Council member?

Working with people that have different opinions on what structure should be taken on the budget.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

I am willing to sit down with each department head and work with them through their part of the budget, so that it is acceptable to all.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

Working with the departments to help find and eliminate wasteful spending.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

Give new businesses more tax breaks and incentives to move to Camanche, and work to lower taxes of the homeowners.

Ken Fahlbeck — Incumbent mayor

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

This is something the city of Camanche has struggled with not only today, but for years. First of all, we don't have a lot of property to offer for new business or institutions. Most all of the property available is owned by one individual and we have had discussions on zoning one of these properties but certain criteria such as roads, curb and gutter, storm sewer are very costly to the landowner. But we're not giving up. I have been struggling with trying to find someone interested in low income senior housing. Our community needs this for our seniors who have lived here their whole lives. We have had a couple people interested but nothing solid. If elected I will continue on this priority.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

Like any business, which the city of Camanche is, communication is key. I can honestly say the communication between the pubic and myself has been well. When I started serving the public eighth years ago, that was one of the reasons I ran for council. I believe in listening to all , whether it be a senior on fixed income or a young adult just starting their journey in this world. I have been their voice and will continue to do so.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as mayor of Camanche?

I believe the biggest struggle will be to encourage the council to keep taxes down. But, when the state throws things at you like police and fire pensions that they used to contribute to, and now put this burden upon every city in the state, the challenges are huge. One of the other things that's a challenge is the rising cost of health care. We just can't absorb all these costs, the employees are going to have to start paying more for their own insurance. We respect everything they do and stand for as a servant to a city, but we didn't chose their professions. Sometimes decisions are tough but that is why we got elected. The citizens count on you to do the right thing, in the best interest of the city.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

The challenges are communication and discussion among all involved. Not everyone is always going to agree. But, we can agree to disagree, and should never in anyway ruin relationships or family. This is a job we are elected to do with diligence and professionalism. Never forget the oath you take and keep all citizens in mind with every decision.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

I believe one way is to tighten up budgets and raise your monies in your road use fund. And another is grants, which we have used considerably. The problem with grants is you still pay 80/20 or a 50/50 match. Those matching funds have to come from somewhere, most of ours have come out of road use funds. But, their comes a time to set priorities, just because there is a grant available doesn't mean to go after every grant available. There comes cost several years down the road where we have to maintain those projects, and we better be thinking where these monies are coming from.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

One way is to try and promote what business you have to offer. Your city parks are another, along with your marina and boat ramps. Keeping your bike trails and/or recreation trails attractive with frequent lawn cutting and gardening. Also by being pro-active in maintaining repairs and/or replacement of your inner city streets. Promote our schools and teachers. Also, offering of our police and fire protection along with all city services.

William Wruck — City council candidate

I have lived in Camanche for most of my 38 years. I grew up here and graduated from Camanche High School. I am married to Bethany Wruck and we have two children, Jack and Gracie, who attend school here in Camanche.

I am currently employed with American Water Company where I have worked for the past eight years. I handle customer service and help maintain the infrastructure of the essential service of water to customers' homes and businesses.

Prior to working at American Water Company, I traveled around the country working for Laborer's Local 727, as a corrosion specialist. I was also the former local 526 Union President for the Utilities Union and negotiated union contracts for the betterment of union members.

My father Morris was a past Camanche city council member and active in the campaigns of former State Representative Art Ollie and former Sheriff Gary Mulholland.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

I have always been a very good communicator and an active voice in the events such as a Utility Union Presidents, a job Stewart in the laborers union and a team leader out in the field. I have negotiated on union contracts, for the betterment of both sides. I have always been a great listener, and willing to work with others in order to achieve a positive final outcome.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities?

My experience as a team leader, a well-rounded listener, working well with problem solving and finally being a husband and a father. I am constantly being challenged daily whether it is at work, out in the field, or in my home. To be a good communicator you have to be able to listen, be non-judgemental and allow other to finish their thoughts and opinions. With that, I can speak freely on what might be a good idea or thought for that situation.

3. What challenges do you anticipate you will face as a Camanche City Council member?

Change will be the hardest obstacle I will face. While others may find it difficult to change, I am willing to face change head on and embrace it. While current leaders may balk, it will take much discussion and compromise to accomplish this task. I will be there to challenge them and stand my ground as an elected council member, to represent the town of Camanche.

4. What solutions do you see for those challenges?

Bringing facts and fresh ideas to the table. Holding the city administrator accountable, to his job duties. Changing the rules of procedure, by letting the public speak at the start of the meeting, before the vote is made for what is on the agenda.

5. How do you combat rising rates while also completing infrastructure projects in the city of Camanche?

This will take a lot of creativity to the budget process. To sustain the current level of services to the community. Other communities have created diverse committees in order for this to be successful. We need to have an open line of communication with everyone involved whether it is with the public, fire department, police department, public works etc... We have to allow for change to be more based on needs than wants and do what is best for everyone in the community.

6. How would you proceed in making Camanche more attractive to new residents and businesses while maintaining services?

In the 1970s Camanche prided itself on some of the lowest taxes in the state. This drew numerous jobs and housing development to the area. We need to stand behind our teachers, and allow them to have every needed resource to have a stronger school system that shows we as parents and citizens are holding ourselves accountable for our future generation. I am very concerned about our senior citizens for they are on fixed incomes which allows very little room for rising taxes, insurance costs and utility bills, these are the people that have paid our ways for many years, and deserve to be able to finish out their lives in the homes they built, and not be taxed out of the community. Iowa department of management study shows that one being the highest tax and 950 being the lowest in the year 2000 Camanche was ranked 696 with $27.41 per thousand tax rate. As of 2014 Camanche will be ranked 279 at $36.76 per thousand tax rate. So in order to allow our community to look more attractive, and bring in the new and maintain the old, we need to stop raising taxes in our town; this is a deep concern of mine.

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