Iowa Senate District 36 includes all of Tama and Marshall counties and a small portion of southern Black Hawk County. Senators Tim Kapucian and Tom Rielly currently present portions of Tama County. Reapportionment changed district lines. Kapucian is seeking reelection to a district including Benton and Poweshiek counties. Rielly is retiring from the Senate.
State Senator Steve Sodders (D-State Center)
Responses to questions posed to the candidate by The News-Herald:
Steve Sodders - Jane Jech
1.The Iowa Department of Human Services office in Toledo was closed along with other DHS offices across the state in July, 2010. Would you initiate or support legislative action to reopen these offices?
I believe that we must protect vulnerable Iowans. We must always weight the costs and making sure that folks are getting good services with tax dollars. Making government more efficient has always been a staple in my votes. I believe the state should re evaluate to see if people in Tama are being served by DHS now or better by a local office.
2.) What legislative action is needed for education in Iowa in the next session?
We need to work for a more seamless educational system from early childhood to college. We must appropriately fund all areas of education especially pre K where business leaders have indicated this would help all of Iowa in the long term. We must work toward increased student achievement by way of proven methods to achieve this goal. I like many of the ideas coming from the Governors task force and I am willing to work with any good ideas regardless of party to get this done.
3.) There is discussion about raising the fuel tax in Iowa. What is your stance?
During this election and knocking thousands of doors, folks in the district I represent do not want to see a gas tax increase. We need to however find ways to get more dollars to local governments to fix county roads and bridges.
4.) Would you support legislative action to legalize internet poker?
I have already supported legislation that would legalize Internet poker in the last legislative session. I supported it after working to make sure that it was in State only and kids could not participate. I also supported sports gambling at our local casino. This would create many more jobs in Tama County.
5.) A reorganization of the delivery of mental health services in Iowa is underway. Where should this lead?
I believe that mental health services should be done at the local level and I voted against the reorganization last year that put local services at a regional level. We do however need to find ways to curb costs while making sure the people who need good services get those services. This is a large cost to the State budget as well as our local counties. As a Deputy Sheriff I know all too well the increased numbers in mental health problems.
6.) What are your one or two top priorities for legislative action in 2013
Jobs! Working with the business folks of Iowa to reduce taxes, increase jobs skilled training, and working with the Economic Development Authority. State Business leaders understand and trust my leadership as the Chair of Economic Growth best seen by my work across party lines in this area. It is also the reason the Association of Business and Industry endorsed me this election. Second is to lower income tax burden on Iowans.
Personal information provided by the candidate:
I have been a law enforcement officer for 24 years putting my life on the line for Iowans. I've seen not only the risks that families face, but that also when given the right opportunities to get ahead, Iowans can do great things. I'm running for re-election, to continue my bi partisan work on jobs creation, increasing student achievement for the long term growth of our State, and to stand up for our Veterans.
I've been married to my wife Carrie who is an early childhood specialist with Headstart. We have two children Adam and Maggie who are in High School at West Marshall. I have been a board member of Red Cross, Youth and shelter services, Masonic lodge Melbourne, Sheriff and Deputies Association, DARE board. I sit as Chair of Economic Growth in the Senate as well as Vice Chair of Government Oversight, Education committee member, Veteran Affairs, and State Government committees.
Jane Jech (R-Marshalltown)
Responses to questions posed to the candidate by The News-Herald:
1) The Iowa DHS office in Toledo was closed along with other DHS offices across the state. Would you initiate or support legislative action to reopen these offices?
I need a lot more information on this issue but I have been involved with DHS in many capacities over the years and understand how vital their services are and how thinly stretched their workers are. I also know that we have to look at ways to help shore up our small towns. Removing services or making it more difficult for rural Iowans to receive services is very detrimental. So yes, I would work to restore access to DHS in rural Iowa.
2) What legislative action is needed for education in Iowa in the next session?
There is a lot for the legislature to address in regards to education in Iowa and it will be one of my priorities to do so. Here are five things I would start with: 1) We have to put an accountability piece in place so we can be exempt from No Child Left Behind. It has to consider far more than just ending test scores and include options that fit Iowa schools. 2) Every school district is different and I will work to return more dollars and decision making to local boards and administrations, including the ability to keep our best teachers in the classroom. 3) We need to ensure every child has access to high quality education. 4) We need to fund the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Initiatives. 5) We need to make sure our community colleges are supported to provide Iowa's need for a skilled workforce.
3) There is discussion about raising the fuel tax in Iowa. What is your stance?
Maintaining our infrastructure is a high priority for me but I would not support a raise in the fuel tax. Middle class families are still struggling and adding the cost of commuting to work would hurt them even more. We can find the funds needed to repair our roads and bridges through further elimination of waste and government bureaucracy. We're also looking at the best state budget picture in many years that will hopefully allow us to address a number of critical needs like our infrastructure.
4) Would you support legislative action to legalize internet poker?
No, I would not support legalizing internet poker.
5) A reorganization of the delivery of mental health services in Iowa is underway. Where should this lead?
I know this is a complicated issue but my first thought is get it done! The talk has been going on for years now and our rural communities are desperate for help. The cost to our local governments and the great need in our communities has to be addressed. I will rely heavily on the advice from my county supervisors and other local officials and health providers for advice on how to best provide mental health care in my district.
6) What are your one or two top priorities for legislative action in 2013?
The changes needed to give every student access to high quality education will be my number one emphasis. Equally important will be the action we take to finally accomplish tax reform and the reversal of job killing regulations and fees to make Iowa a magnet for job growth.
I grew up on a farm in Nebraska and my husband, Kerry, and I have lived in Marshalltown for thirty-four years, where we raised our four children. I have worked in a bank, had my own small business, worked as a Worship Arts director in our church, and been a full-time teacher. I currently work as a substitute teacher and will continue working as a legislator to stay in touch with what's happening in our schools. In addition to legislative work, I hope to do everything I can to inspire students to want the education we provide, including adults that need new skills.
I have served in numerous volunteer position, including the following: Three Term Community College Trustee, Marshalltown House of Compassion Board, Vice-President of Noon Optimists, School Improvement Teams, Resident Advocate at Iowa Veterans Home, New Hope Christian Church Missions, Pro-Life Task Force. I am a member of the following: NRA, Iowa Gun Owners, Farm Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, GOP County Central Committees, Marshall County TEA Party, Marshalltown Police Volunteers
I want the people of this district to know how hard I'm working to build relationships with them so I can truly represent them in the Iowa Senate. I have learned from the people of this district every time I have been out door knocking, phone calling, or at community events whether we agreed on everything or not! I will continue working to encourage communication with you as your State Senator.