MASON CITY, Iowa- A look inside the race for Iowa house District 53. That area covers Central Cerro Gordo County including Mason City, Rockwell and the Township of Lime Creek. That seat is currently held by incumbent Democratic Candidate Sheron Steckman; she is being challenged by Republican Barbra Hovland.
EDUCATION: Representative Steckman is a long time educator and works on the education committee at the capital. She says timely funding for education is her top priority.
“It just So happens the last six years that has not happened every time we wanted to have we wanted to have a conference committee and discuss funding the house majority doesn’t want to meet they don’t want to come up with a compromise,” says Steckman.
“I talked to a teacher recently and she told me they have this hightech computer lab, but it isn’t always available for the students because their wasn’t a teacher available,” says Hovland. “The frustrating part for me as a citizen looking in the nine is that we have money set aside for funding is their big computer equipment is purchased and the kids just can’t use it”
JOB CREATION:For Hovland, a local businesses owner her top priority is bringing jobs back to the area.
“I believe we need to modernize our education system,” says Hovland. “We have a lack of skilled workers and as people know I am an advocate for the trade. We need to bring the trade programs back to our high school. We currently have 650 jobs available in North Iowa.”
“Businesses want educated workers,” say Steckman. “By the year 2020 we’re going to need to fill 100,000 jobs. 70% of those jobs are post secondary education jobs.”
HEALTHCARE: The state of Iowa healthcare is also a hot topic this year after Iowa Governor Terry Branstad switched to privatized medicaid. Both candidates agree this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
“Healthcare is a really touchy subject and it’s very sad and disheartening that some people are really suffering,” says Hovland. “We have to address the needs of those who are not getting the care that they need.”
“I think we need to look at more oversight,” says Steckman. “The governor has already put it in place, it would be too hard to go back, we need to work on it.”
STATE SPENDING AND TAX CREDITS:
“Tax credits are something that have been around for a very long time,” says Hovland. “A lot of city councils use them to entice businesses to come to their town, but they should be short term. I think we need to address the high tax.”
“The tax concern me,” says Steckman. “I think there are certain tax credits that are good, but they could be a liability. There is little oversight on the tax credits and they keep growing. They have gone up 74.8% in the last 8 years.”
WATER QUALITY and MORATORIUM: Another topics that legislators have been interested in is water quality, and possibly adding a moratorium to address an issue of manur.
“The moratorium is not a final thing,” says Steckman. “It just means we need to look at the matrix plan and adjust it if need be.”