By J. Wilson
Free Press Editor
A crowd of over fifty voters turned out for the Candidate Forum hosted by the Adams County Free Press and Adams Community Ambassadors at the Corning Community Building on Oct. 27.
Tim Ostroski, Executive Director of the Southern Iowa Council of Governments was on hand to wrangle the eleven candidates for state and local offices who attended to field questions from the public. After an introduction by Ostroski, who outlined the format, the candidates began with a two-minute introduction.
The candidates taking advantage of the forum were Dist. 21 State Representative candidates Rep. Jack Drake (R) of Griswold and challenger Tim Ennis (D) of Corning, unopposed State Senate candidate Tom Shipley (R) of Nodaway, County Supervisor District 1 incumbent Doug Birt (R) of Prescott and challenger Larry Sawyer (D) of Corning, County Supervisor District 3 incumbent Linda England (R) of Corning and challenger Kevin Wynn (D) of Corning, County Supervisor District 4 candidate (to replace the retiring Phyllis Mullen) Leland Shipley (R) of Nodaway, unopposed County Treasurer incumbent Nancy Kempton and County Recorder candidates (to replace the office vacated by the retiring Mary Miller) Iona Allen (D) and Jamie Stargell (R).
Having adopted Adams County as his home 43 years ago, District 21 Challenger Tim Ennis noted his community involvement over the years and his pride in the example the area sets for others to see. “Corning is a shining example of what can be done with a community with volunteers,” Ennis said. “We’re known as a volunteer community.”
When asked why voters should elect him, Ennis responded with his intent to live by his campaign motto: “Preserve the best and improve the rest.”
Incumbent Rep. Jack Drake, a lifelong resident of the area, is currently serving his twenty-second year in the legislature. Prioritizing a balanced budget, Drake emphasized his experience on the Appropriations Committee, Agriculture Committee, State Government Committee and his leadership roles as Co-Chair of Agriculture and DNR Budget Appropriations Committee and Vice-Chair of International Relations Committee.
A lifelong Adams County resident, Dist.1 incumbent Doug Birt discussed his concern about population loss. “I want my kids to have the opportunity to live here as well, “ he said, noting the necessity of thinking outside the box to ensure the county’s ability to prosper and maintain services despite its low population.
Though new to Adams County, District 1 Supervisor challenger Larry Sawyer outlined his Adams County roots, his fresh eyes and his background in accounting as an asset of the role’s primary duty, to “make sure that money is spent effectively,” he said.
Seeking the Adams County Supervisor District 4 seat vacated by the retiring Phyllis Mullen, Leland Shipley expressed his interest in transferring agricultural and school board leadership experience to aid the county. Inspired by his father whom he watched serve as mayor of Nodaway, Shipley indicated he hopes to be a part of “a responsible government that serves the people,” he said. “Adams County has done a good job of being fiscally responsible in the past. If you look around at surrounding counties, we get a big bang for our buck, and I’d like to continue that tradition.”
District 3 Supervisor incumbent Linda England cited her experience as magistrate, understanding of the law and ability to interpret it on behalf of Adams County, as well as her service as Supervisor since 2005 as credentials for reelection.
England is being challenged by former Supervisor Kevin Wynn, who intends to utilize his past experience on the Board of Supervisors and other county boards and committees to inform his performance on the job. “I try to do things for the county that are good things,” said Wynn, who indicated that he was both progressive and conservative, depending on the issue.
Running unopposed for the District 11 Senate seat that opened up upon Sen. Hubert Houser’s retirement, Tom Shipley is proud to be a candidate with an agriculture background, as along with Houser’s departure three additional senators with a heavy agriculture background sitting on the Senate Agriculture Committee were also retiring. “The issues are not Republican and Democrat,” he said, recognizing that there are many ag-focused Democrats as well as urban-focused Republicans in the mix. “It’s rural and urban.”
Running unopposed for her fourth term as County Treasurer, Nancy Kempton outlined her job experience and appreciation for the opportunity to serve the people of Adams County.
Seeking the Adams County Recorder role vacated by the retiring Mary Miller, Iona Allen emphasized her experience as Corning’s City Clerk, knowledge of the office and customer service skills as key to her qualifications for the Recorder’s office.
Jamie Stargell seeks to transition from her role as a prevention specialist to serve in the Recorder’s office, emphasizing her experience with accurate record keeping in her current vocation.
District 4 Supervisor candidate Tyler Edwards and County Attorney candidate Andrew Zimmerman did not attend.
Following introductions, Ostroski opened the floor to the constituents in attendance. Voters asked about the candidates’ views on the most important aspect of the office they were seeking, how to ensure that agriculture and tourism can coexist within the county, possibility of raising Iowa’s minimum wage, how to cultivate a climate that supports increased telecommuting, development of Lake Icaria, dealing with unfunded mandates and more vs. less government.