Candidates Discuss Issues That Face Iowans
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Candidates that hope to represent Mahaska County at the state level converged on Smokey Row Coffee house in Oskaloosa Tuesday evening.
The local media outlets hosted the forum to help provide yet another way for the public to get to know the candidates.
The event was scheduled for an hour, with the candidates fielding two questions that had been prepared and delivered in advance. They also fielded questions from attendees.
Each candidate took two minutes to introduce themselves, starting with Iowa Senate District Candidates Ken Rozenboom and Tim Tripp. Also in attendance was Joe Judge and Larry Sheets representing candidates for Iowa House District 80.
Also featured was Iowa House Candidate Guy Vander Linden, who is effectively running unopposed because his opponent has now moved away from the area.
The candidates took two minutes each to talk with those in attendance about themselves and their candidacy. A highlight of those introductions came from Tim Tripp. “I don’t use the word opponent in this case” Tripp said. “Ken is the Republican candidate and I’m the Democratic candidate for the same district. The reason I don’t use the word is because we are focusing on a completely positive campaign. Even a simple word can have a meaning that can start to tear into the fabric in terms of open discussion,” Tripp said.
The first question from the moderator was, “How would you bring jobs to your district and when can your district expect to see results from your plan?”
Guy Vander Linden said that he believes that government doesn’t create jobs, “What we need to do is create a climate that allows business to create jobs.” Vander Linden says that they are primarily concerned with creating a climate that fosters business within the state, “and actually attracts business from out-of-state.”
Vander Linden thought that with the proper tax plan in place, he felt the effect would be immediate in the district, “maybe not a discernible immediate effect,” saying that the importance really is with creating a climate that produces jobs.
House Republican candidate Larry Sheets also echoed Vander Linden’s thoughts on taxes in the state of Iowa. Sheets said that Iowa has the highest average property tax of any state with an income tax. He also said that Iowa has the highest state income tax for any corporation making more than $250,000. “Which is just about every corporation.”
“So if your a bright entrepreneur fresh out of grad school with a great idea for a new widget, and your widget needs a factory, and it needs to grow… why would you choose Iowa?” Sheets asked.
Sheet’s Democrat opponent, Joe Judge said, “I plan on hitting the ground running when elected to the legislature by introducing a ‘Made in Iowa’ concept.” Judge said the purpose of the concept would be to “create good jobs here at home, instead of sending our tax dollars out-of-state.” Judge says his idea is a “common sense solution” he believes should have been explored some time ago.
Judge also used an example that “when the state has a bidding process, those bids should be weighed in favor of Iowa companies. If their bid is not significantly different, there’s no reason the Iowa company should not get that bid.” Judge says it’s a simple concept that can make a difference immediately.
Democrat candidate Tim Tripp said helping to maintain a healthy environment for current businesses is important and wants to “encourage them to grow their businesses and employ more individuals.”
Tripp says a key to achieving that is through education. He says that after speaking with representatives from local employers about their needs, ” [it] is that we don’t have a solid labor force.” Tripp said he’s been informed by employers that finding employees with math and basic English skills, such as spelling, is difficult when filling some positions. Tripp said, “we need to continue to focus on our education.”
Tripp has run on a campaign slogan of “Healthy Communities, Healthy Schools” and Tripp once again used that point. He says that encouraging education in the state of Iowa, “we create a labor force attractive for companies to come in.”
Tripp also said that good infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, along with communication, “are also critical to helping create jobs.”
Republican Ken Rozenboom echoed Vander Lindens sentiment saying, “Government does not create jobs.” Saying that policies put in place by government such as taxation and excessive regulation can have a negative impact on job growth.
“As a farmer, as a Ag businessman and, more recently, as a county supervisor, “I can attest to how overbearing regulatory impediments very much discourage job growth.”
Rozenboom says he believes in smaller government and that not raising taxes, like Illinois did recently, would be a positive for Iowa, “If we make the proper judgements here. Limit the growth of government, limit the spending and therefore taxes; those are the recipes for economic growth.”
The candidates answered one other prepared question and three more questions from the audience. The hour long forum ended with closing statements from each candidate where, in particular, Republican Guy Vander Linden addressed the absence of his opponent.
The forum can be seen in its entirety on MCG channel 12 on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 4:00 pm each day.