Local candidates respond to questionnaire

The Scranton Journal provided questionnaires to the local candidates, seeking basic information about their candidacy in races where there is a contest. Here are their responses, shared with GreeneCountyNewsOnline readers by Scranton Journal publisher Luann Waldo:

Greene County Supervisor District 2
Patti Naylor, Democrat, 62, Churdan
Dawn Rudolph, Republican, 52, Scranton

Current employment and past employment that may be relevant to the Board of Supervisors:

Patti Naylor

Naylor: I farm alongside my husband George growing conventional and organic corn and soybeans, with a rotation of oats and hay, and we have an organic cider apple orchard. I also work as a substitute teacher at Greene County School District and Paton-Churdan School District. I was a teacher at Greene County Middle School from 2011-2014.
Rudolph: Work for Rudy’s Service and Detail (15 years) and Gibson Family Farms. Previously worked for Jefferson-Scranton School District in Special Education and Computer Lab (18 years). Served on the Scranton City Council and Served as the Mayor of Scranton.

Current involvement in the community (Service organizations or church):
Naylor: I advocate for farmers and rural communities through state and national organizations. I am a board member of Family Farm Defenders, and I am the Agriculture Chair for the Sierra Club, Iowa Chapter. I am a former board member of Women, Food and Agriculture Network and served on the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture task force. Recently, I participated in the US Food Sovereignty Alliance national assembly.

Dawn Rudolph

Rudolph: I am a member of the Greene County Historical Society, Chair of the Greene County Freedom Rock Board, serve on the Scranton Community Center Board, member of Scranton Betterment and serve as Iowa State Fair Dexter cattle superintendent. I volunteer as General Manager of the Scranton Community Center, Bus Stop monitor in Scranton, and with the Greene County 4-H/FFA horse division.

Why are you running for Supervisor?
Naylor: I am concerned about our future. The issues that we deal with here in Greene County are connected to the larger issues that face farmers and rural communities across the country. I believe that the broader view that I can bring to the BOS is vital to finding solutions that will allow all Greene County residents to thrive in the future.
Rudolph: I’m running for Supervisor because I feel I have strong leadership skills to keep Greene County moving forward to make it a great place to work and raise a family. I have deep roots in Greene County and I am dedicated, committed and care deeply about our communities. I support and understand interests and concerns of rural and city residents county wide. I strongly support agriculture, economic development, and education.

If elected, what are your two or three top priorities for Greene County?
Naylor: We have many very important issues to deal with, including our Emergency Medical Services, mental and public health, housing, jobs, budgetary decision-making, hog confinements, and taxes. Rather than dealing with each of these in isolation, I believe we need to think in terms of how these issues intersect. The farm economy has a huge impact on all of these issues.
Rudolph: Being proactive in keeping the county progressive to ensure residents we spend tax dollars wisely to provide services and safe communities. Keeping up with infrastructure-repair of roads and bridges is a key to economic development. Making sure we have adequate services in mental and public health and hopefully expanding services in those areas. Improved mental health services will ease the work load on the Sheriff’s department.

What do you see as the challenges that Greene County is facing today?
Naylor: Change is inevitable. Rather than allowing our county to react to changes, I believe we all need to be proactive and direct the changes that will come. Profit-driven industries and their lobbyists, including the corporate livestock industry and the wind energy industry, have controlled our economic situation and our landscape. The challenge is to work together through democratic processes of citizen engagement for a brighter future for us all.
Rudolph: Lack of population growth and retail businesses. Greene County is within an hour of communities such as Ames, Boone, Fort Dodge, Carroll and Perry and that is big competition. Drawing people to live here and start a business is a tough task. Agriculture economy it not good and farmers are struggling with low crop prices and that effects the rest of the economy especially small businesses and jobs.

What do you like most about living in Greene County?
Naylor: I love being close to my family; the unique character of each town and the strong connections the people who live in those towns have to each other; the young people I have met through our two school districts and their hopes for the future; the farmers who are the economic backbone of our county; the natural beauty; and, being connected to the land as I farm alongside my husband.
Rudolph: I love the fact that when someone is in need how people and communities rally together to help each other out. We have good support for non-profit groups and programs for youth through seniors. I also like living in a rural community big city life is not for me. I like the more laid-back simple type of life.

What would you tell someone who is considering a move to Greene County?
Naylor: This county has diverse opportunities for people who want to live in an area of the state that has friendly communities; two great school districts; fertile soil that can contribute to an untapped market for locally produced vegetables, fruits, meat, milk, and eggs; and, natural beauty of prairie and river woodlands.
Rudolph: We have communities that are unique in their own way they all have something to offer. We have good industry that have good paying jobs. There are fun inexpensive things to do in Greene County and to get involved in the community. The down side could be finding a place to live and if they are a family in need of daycare that could be a problem also.

Final Comments:
Naylor: This is an important election as Greene County looks to the future. I believe that my experience and skills can help guide that future. I would be honored to represent each and every resident of Greene County as supervisor.
Rudolph: I enjoy my job as Supervisor serving all residents of Greene County. I will continue to listen to your concerns my door is always open. There will always be changes and challenges the county will face. I will continue to work hard with fellow supervisors, employees, committees and residents to tackle issues we may be facing. I encourage people to vote and appreciate your support.

Greene County Supervisor District 3
Melissa Frederick, Democrat, 28, Jefferson
Tom Contner, Republican, 74, Scranton

Current employment and past employment that may be relevant to the Board of Supervisors:

Melissa Frederick

Frederick: Quality Technician at Louis Dreyfus in Grand Junction Nov. 2014 – present. Quality Control Technician at CMC in Madrid May 2013- Nov. 2014. These positions taught me to think analytically and research the best solutions to issues before committing to a course of action. Additionally, as treasurer of my residence hall in college I experienced representing a large community and listening to their needs to set budgets.
Contner: I farmed for over 25 years, was a small business owner for 11 years. I recently retired after 24 years selling farm machinery. All my work experience has been dealing with challenges and expectations. Most important I’ve learned talking and listening to people has been the most rewarding. I’ve tried to deal with people in a fair and honest way and I’ve never been afraid to be unpopular if it’s an issue I believed in.

Current involvement in the community (Service organizations or church):
Frederick: I am not currently involved in any service organizations, but I am running for supervisor because I want to get involved in a big way. Being a supervisor would allow me to influence many aspects of the community instead of having to pick one or two to become involved with.

Tom Contner

Contner: Elks and Farm Bureau

Why are you running for Supervisor?
Frederick: I am running in order to make sure my daughter has the same great experience growing up in Greene County that I did. I want there to be opportunities for her to come back to. Furthermore, I think that having a member of a young family on the board will support the movement of the other organizations in our county to draw young people in to live and get involved.
Contner: I have enjoyed my last two terms and I feel we have accomplished many good things, but there is still a lot I want to be part of in making the right decisions. This job is one where you continue to learn and try to do the best you can. I want to continue to help the people of Greene County.

If elected, what are your two or three top priorities for Greene County?
Frederick: If elected my top three priorities would be to ensure a continuation of Emergency Medical Services, coming together as a board to petition the Iowa legislature to update the matrix for approving CAFO’s, and to be ready to work with other entities to increase middle class housing and jobs in our communities.
Contner: Ambulance Service. Currently working on a solutino to this problem and it needs to be done as soon as possible. Public Health — Try and keep the cost down and not jeopardize services. Infrastructure — Concentrating on roads and bridges.

What do you see as the challenges that Greene County is facing today?
Frederick: I think Greene County is facing the challenge of drawing young people and young families into our community. I think that this is due partly to a lack of skilled jobs, but also due to a lack of middle class housing. I think that in order to draw young people in we will need to look at solutions to those challenges.
Contner: The ambulance is at the top of the list. It is at the critical point now something needs to be done. Supervisors are working to get a solution. It’s a huge concern for everyone in the county. Fixing roads and bridges. Roads continue to deteriorate and bridges need replaced. Trying to change the matrix on the State level with hog confinements. Increased cost of public health..

What do you like most about living in Greene County?
Frederick: What I like most about living here is the sense of community. It is nice to walk into a store and have the person working know who your family is, how a certain event went, or even just how your day is going. Small things like this tie us together and give us a sense that we belong and that someone cares about what is going on in our lives.
Contner: It’s a wonderful county to live and raise a family. There are good schools, hospital, churches and jobs for those willing to work, less crime than more populated areas. Most important are the people.

What would you tell someone who is considering a move to Greene County?
Frederick: I would tell someone considering to move here that Greene County is a welcoming community on the rise. The different organizations of our county have been working hard to make sure our town is beautiful, welcoming, and up to date with the times (while preserving the best of the past). This sense of community and pride makes us a great place to live.
Contner: You will love it here, the people are friendly, good schools, day cares, hospital, good retail, recreation of all kinds, multiple banks and diverse jobs. Everyone tries to be a good neighbor.

Final Comments:
Frederick: Greene County is, and always has been home to me. I want to do my best to serve this home that I love. I want to help build on the strengths of our county so that others will want to come and stay. November 6th will be here soon, and I would be honored to have your vote.
Contner: I’ve enjoyed being your Supervisor and working for the people of Greene County. There are a lot of challenges ahead that we are currently working on and issues that we see in the future. I’d like to see those to completion. I’d appreciate your vote.

Greene County Treasurer
Donna Lawson, Democrat, 75, Jefferson
Katlynn Gannon Mechaelsen, Republican, 25, Grand Junction

Current employment and past employment that may be relevant to the office of County Treasurer

Donna Lawson

Lawson: Current County Treasurer: this is my 32nd year; Greene County Medical Center-signed in patients, daily posting room rate, medicine charges and hospital payroll; Brenton State Bank-Loan payment and Savings deposit teller; Randall Handley and Keith Richardson Law Firm as a legal secretary also assisted Gail Richardson in typing Abstracts; Iowa Realty selling real estate and still have a real estate license but is inactive at present.
Gannon Mechaelsen: I am currently employed at an accounting firm in Des Moines where I started while still in college at AIB College of Business. Some of my responsibilities include managing cash flow, reconciling bank accounts, paying bills, collecting funds, reporting monthly financials, analyzing budgeted variances, processing payroll and paying payroll taxes.

Current involvement in the community (Service organizations or church):
Lawson: I have been active in the community serving on many committees. At the present time, I am a member of BPO Does 196 and served as treasurer for five years, Beta Sigma Phi serving in various offices and committees, Central Committee of the Democratic Party served as treasurer for 38 years.

Katlynn Gannon-Mechaelsen

Gannon Mechaelsen: Since moving back to Greene County just six months ago I have become a member of the GCYAA and was on the RAGBRAI committee this summer. I look forward to becoming more involved in the community in the near future.

Why are you running for Treasurer?
Lawson: I have a genuine interest in people and their welfare. I feel it is an honor to be able serve Greene County residents and want to continue to do so. I am committed, professional, responsible, efficient, competence and willing to continue working for Greene County taxpayers.
Gannon Mechaelsen: I am running for Treasurer because I believe that with my education and experience I will be able to provide Greene County with the stewardship it deserves. I will work to save the county money and remain transparent with the use of their resources. At the end of the day my main objective is to make sure that the Treasurer’s office is run efficiently and effectively as possible.

If elected, what are your two or three top priorities for Greene County?
Lawson: One: Keep up with daily, monthly computer changes in tax department, motor vehicle and driver’s license department. Two: Continue having a good working relationship with customers. Third: Be able to add another employee who will be trained in driver’s license and other duties.
Gannon Mechaelsen: My top priority if elected is to become trained on the Driver’s License department. Next is to administer cross-training on all responsibilities of the office. I want to learn every duty of the Treasurer’s office so that I can personally ensure the office remains open to the public during regular office hours. Providing services to the community is my job and if the office is closed I cannot fulfil my obligation.

What do you see as the challenges that Greene County is facing today?
Lawson: I have heard that there are some items, such as a new jail, that is being discussed and many options are being investigated before a decision is made.
Gannon Mechaelsen: I believe one of the main challenges our county is facing is the lack of young professionals moving to the community. I know there is a growing number of us trying to find jobs in the community or starting our own businesses, but I think the community can help by encouraging those who have reservations that Greene County is the right place for them. Sometimes we just need to feel welcomed.

What do you like most about living in Greene County?
Lawson: I was born and raised in Greene County graduated from Jefferson High School and lived here all my life. I have had the opportunity to serve many Greene County residents throughout my working opportunities. It is a pleasure to be able to walk down the street, smile and say hello, have a nice day.
Gannon Mechaelsen: The best thing about being back in Greene County is living so close to my family. I know my children will grow up surrounded by so much love. I want my children to have the same experiences as I did growing up; that is why we purchased an acreage, so we too can raise livestock and teach our children the importance of a strong work ethic.

What would you tell someone who is considering a move to Greene County?
Lawson: Greene County is a good community to raise a family. We have a convenient location close to surrounding communities with a short drive. A Rec Center, excellent school district with possibility of taking college courses, easy access to grocery stores, gas stations and good eating establishments.
Gannon Mechaelsen: I’ve had this conversation with many of my peers and I tell them all the same thing. We know Greene County is a great place to raise children; we just have to make that leap of faith. The pay scale may be different, but you can’t put a price tag on the intangibles. If we don’t get involved, our children may not be able to have the great experiences we did.

Final Comments:
Lawson: Thank you for giving me the privilege to serve Greene County residents and I look forward to continue on for another four years. Thanking you in advance for you support!
Gannon Mechaelsen: I just want to thank everyone for the encouragement I’ve received. I knew we would be welcomed back the community by family and close friends but the warm welcomes I’ve received from strangers have meant so much. I really do want to make a difference in this community and hope that with your support I can start in the Treasurer’s office.

State Representative,District 47
David Weaver, Democrat, 49, Rippey
Philip Thompson, Republican – No response was received

Current employment and past employment that may be relevant to State Representative:

David Weaver

Weaver: Since 2006, self-employed farmer in Boone and Greene Counties. Previously librarian at Augustana College Libraries (Rock Island, Illinois) and Grinnell College Library. Taught English in Japan for two years at the High School level in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Current involvement in the community (Service organizations or church):
Weaver: Previously, was on the Parks and Recreation Board in Perry, as well as member of Lions Club of Perry, including one year as President of the Lions Club. I am a member of the Iowa Soybean Association and we typically do one or two On-Farm Trials with them. I also am a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa and have grown cover crops on 20 percent of our farm for the past five years. My wife has been active in the Ogden Community School District with local parents as well.

Why are you running for State Representative?
Weaver: Leaders like Robert Ray and Leonard Boswell were able to set aside differences and focus on building relationships with people, in order to create a better Iowa. I am independent – I believe that farmers and educators (librarians) need a bigger voice at the Capitol. Collective bargaining for teachers and county and city workers was established in 1974 by Robert Ray. I am running to be a representative of everyone in the district, not just one party. As a row crop farmer with no livestock, I can serve and still live at home and not move our daughter out of school.

If elected, what are your two or three top priorities for District 47?
Weaver: I have been endorsed by the ISEA (Teachers), Firefighters, and Iowa Hospitals Association. We need to restore collective bargaining to Iowa’s state, county and city employees. We need to protect IPERS – IPERS brings in $30 million to Boone and Greene Counties each year. We need to end Medicaid privatization, which is hurting our rural hospitals and EMS service, not to mention hurting patients by denying service or reducing treatment options. Increase funding at K-12 levels, as well as Pre-K opportunities, child care, and community colleges.

What do you see as the challenges that District 47 and the State of Iowa are facing today?
Weaver: Fiscal mismanagement – prioritizing tax cuts/credits to wealthy corporations like Apple, and to the wealthiest of Iowans, rather than helping middle class Iowans. Middle class Iowans need real tax cuts, better wages, and affordable health care. I would increase the child tax credit. We have a low unemployment rate, yet over 40 percent of kids in Iowa qualify for free or reduced lunches. Our state relies on agriculture more than any other – I will be a voice for farmers at the Capitol.

What do you like most about living in District 47?
Weaver: Bike trails like the RRVT out of Jefferson and the High Trestle Trail in Boone County. Festivals like the Bell Tower and Pufferbilly Days. Recent additions like the Wind Farms and two recently voter passed issues (Casino and High School / Regional Center/Career Academy) reflect a community that is forward looking. Snake Creek Marsh is a favorite place of mine. We have a strong Community College and a good manufacturing base. Some of the best soils in the world.

What would you tell someone who is considering a move to District 47?
Weaver: When I was a child, it was the best place in the world to raise a family. I am concerned when I see stats showing 40 percent of children in our schools are teetering on the poverty level. I believe wholeheartedly in this place, and recent votes like the school bond issue passing with over 65 percent of the vote have me very encouraged. I see leaders looking forward to the future and I see strong school districts and positive growth.

Final Comments:
Weaver: I have been inspired by historical Iowa figures like Roswell Garst, Robert Ray, and Kate Shelley. I moved back to the family farm because I believe that this is the best place in the world to raise a family. I believe in spending $ locally and in local ownership and my campaign reflects that philosophy. I will work to renew agriculture and education in the state. I am a farmer, a librarian, and I will be an independent voice at the state Capitol. Your voice and your vote matters; take the time to strengthen our democracy by voting today.

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