Iowa House District 72 is comprised of all of Tama County, primaerily the southern and western portions of Marshall County and a southern portion of Black Hawk County. State Representatives Lance Horbach and Betty DeBoef currently represent Tama County in the Iowa house of Representatives. Neither is seeking reelection.
Dean Fisher: Responses to questions posed to the candidate by The Chronicle:
1. The Iowa Dept. 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?
Dean Fisher - Nathan Wrage
The Toledo office was not totally closed, only reduced to "by appointment only" status in Toledo utilizing the staff operating out of the office in Vinton. The reasoning behind this change was to accommodate staff reductions within DHS and because many of the DHS services had been made available on-line, reducing the need for such an office. A major benefit of on-line services in a geographically large county like Tama County is that they are now accessible from the citizen's home or the nearest library, eliminating the need to travel to Toledo in most cases. My understanding is that over the last couple of years the Tama county residents that interact with DHS have adjusted to this change. While I support smaller government, I will maintain a strong over-sight position to insure DHS is meeting the needs of District 72 constituents.
2. What Legislative action is needed for education in Iowa in the next session?
The issue of education is an enormous topic too complex to fully address in this short Q&A. If elected, I will be working closely with the districts school administrators, the governors office, and the rest of the legislature to help craft education reform legislation. Areas that I would like to focus on are increasing local control over the schools budgeting and operation, improving the quality of our teaching staff, increasing education choice for parents, and increasing STEM education opportunities (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
I will support continued efforts to increase oversight of our Regent schools with needed improvements in transparency and cost control. I support the recent efforts of the UNI administration to control costs by reviewing and eliminating degree areas that no longer have sufficient demand amongst students. I will work to bring that kind of efficient management to the other Regent schools. I will also work to end the Tuition Set-Aside program at our Regent schools so that Iowa's students are treated fairly.
Our community college system provides a cost effective alternative to Regent and private colleges and fills a critical need for skilled labor that is critical to job growth in Iowa. I will work to improve access to our community colleges for Iowa's students. I will support efforts by industry and the community colleges to work together to fill critical gaps that currently exist in our skilled work force. Currently Iowa provides support for private colleges as well as our Regent and community college schools. I will support shifting these private college funds to our community colleges as a more efficient use of our taxpayer dollars.
3. There is discussion about raising the fuel tax in Iowa. What is your stance?
I fully agree that Iowa needs to increase its maintenance of our roads and bridges, they are fundamental to our economy and maintenance is severely lagging. I believe that Iowa has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Therefor I would oppose any unilateral increase in the fuel tax. I have advocated transferring funds from the general fund to the Road Use Tax Fund as revenue grows. Alternatively, I may support a fuel tax increase if a greater corresponding decrease in other taxes is enacted at the same time so that the overall tax burden on Iowans is lower, but shifted to maintain our roads and bridges.
4. Would you support legislative action to legalize internet poker?
No. Iowa has many gambling opportunities already that are easily monitored to prevent children from gambling. Adding internet poker would open up gambling to children which is unacceptable.
5. A reorganization of the delivery of mental health services in Iowa is underway. Where should this lead?
Currently Tama County has joined a regional mental health service organization as a result of this reorganization. The cost to the county for the services is on a per capita basis, which appears to be an equitable arrangement for Tama County. I would rely on feedback from our county supervisors as to how well this new arrangement is working in future years and use that feedback to promote future adjustments as the situation warrants.
6. What are your one or two priorities for the legislative action in 2013?
My first priority is to help Iowa grow in job opportunities. Towards that end I would push for comprehensive commercial and industrial property tax relief so that the job creators in Iowa will be encouraged to start new businesses and grow existing businesses. Many of the difficulties that Iowa faces can be improved upon by an expanding business and job base.
Other priorities will be finding a solution for maintaining Iowa's roads and bridges, improving our education system, cutting and reprioritizing spending, passing Photo ID at the polls, assuring a Right to Life for all Iowans, and letting the people of Iowa vote on a marriage amendment to the Iowa constitution.
I am a 5th generation Iowa farmer and own a Heritage Farm that has been in my family since 1852. The family farm is a few miles north of Montour. After graduating High School in South Tama, I earned a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering Technology and then spent 25 years in the electronics industry as a design engineer, engineering manager and business manager, the last 18 years at Motorola. As a business manager I managed the P&L (profit and loss) for a $50 million portion of business including product development and production. I returned to the family farm here in Iowa in 2004 and currently operate a 120 head cow/calf operation with my brother. My experience being raised on the family farm in Iowa, spending 25 years in the corporate world, and then returning to help operate the family farm gives me a broad range of experience that will serve our district well in the Iowa Legislature.
I have served as a Township Clerk for a number of years, have served as an election precinct chairman, and serve on the Pioneer Cemetery Association board. I attend New Hope Christian church, am a member of the National Rifle Association, Amateur Trapshooting Association of America, Iowa State Trapshooting Association, Iowa Firearms Coalition, Farm Bureau, American Motorcycle Association, Tama Co. Beef Producers/Iowa Cattlemen Association, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Heritage Foundation.
I have been designated a "Friend of Agriculture" by the Iowa Farm Bureau PAC, endorsed by the: National Federation of Independent Business PAC, Iowa Association of Business and Industry PAC, Family Leader PAC, Iowa Right to Life, and endorsed by the National Rifle Association with an AQ rating
Nathan Wrage: Responses to questions posed to the candidate by The Chronicle:
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?
Yes, I would support efforts to reopen DHS in Toledo. The need for services in the area has, unfortunately, not decreased, and having a local office would increase access to service for those in our area in need of what is offered.
2.) What legislative action is needed for education in Iowa in the next session?
I will examine what the Governor is proposing for the coming year; I like the focus on STEM-related fields, but we also need to ensure that students have the opportunity to have a well-rounded educational experience, so that whatever career they choose to pursue, they are equipped for it. I feel we need to increase our support of community colleges, so that people can pursue advanced manufacturing , mid-level and vocational-technical careers. The regents universities and the legislature need to address the issues that are causing four-year degree programs to become increasingly out of reach for more and more of our students.
3.) There is discussion about raising the fuel tax in Iowa. What is your stance?
I realize the need to repair our roads and bridges, and I know that raising the fuel tax would spur construction jobs. I also know that a great many of the people in the district commute quite a distance to school and work, and that raising the gas tax would put quite a burden on them, so I am currently wrestling with the answer. I do feel that we need to look at how federal Highway dollars are allocated, as I feel that there is currently a bias in favor of our larger metro areas.
4.) Would you support legislative action to legalize internet poker?
.I am not a fan of legalizing internet poker; I would need some pretty convincing data to convince me that it would be a positive for the state.
5.) A reorganization of the delivery of mental health services in Iowa is underway. Where should this lead?
Mental health care in this state has needed overhauling for years. I am cautiously optimistic about the changes that were made last year. While there are sure to be "growing pains" as we adapt to the new organizational setup, I am willing to give it time. Too many times in recent years, Iowans have suffered personal tragedies as a result of untreated mental illness, and if by improving our mental health delivery system we save even one or two lives, I will consider it a worthwhile investment. If, down the road, the issue needs to be revisited, then I feel we should continue to look for improvements in care.
6.) What are your one or two top priorities for legislative action in 2013?
Educating our children (and adults) so they are able to enter and stay in the workforce. Having a well-educated, skilled workforce is the best incentive to offer businesses looking to locate, expand, or stay here. I am also hoping to increase our outdoor recreation opportunities. Iowans have shown a willingness to support such efforts, but so far the Legislature has not. As outdoor recreation opportunities increase, so will job opportunities and small business opportunities.
Personal information provided by the candidate:
I am running in part because I feel public service is an honorable thing to do. I also feel that there needs to be honest, open debate on the issues. No matter which party comes up with an idea, or an amendment to a bill, it needs to have a thoughtful, fair review. I will strive to see that this happens.
I'm a life-long Iowan, living, working, and paying taxes in the district. I've been married for 22 years to my wife Jennifer, who is a teacher at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Middle School. My daughter Angela is a sophomore Presidential Scholar at UNI, where she is majoring in Chemistry and Biology, with a Music minor. Son Tyler is a G-R junior, who is active in vocal and instrumental music and drama. I am a member of the Tama County Conservation Board, member and Treasurer of the Grundy-Tama Izaak Walton League, and a member of the Iowa Trappers Association. I am currently employed at the G-R Middle School as a custodian. Prior to that, I worked at Lennox Industries in Marshalltown for 23 years. I feel that my life experiences will enable me to be an effective representative for the people of House District 72. Thank you. Nathan Wrage