Candidates needed

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

It would be a shame if voters did not have a choice for Buena Vista County supervisor this November. None of the three incumbents has an opponent. Dale Arends, Tom Huseman and Paul Merten are, at this point, destined for re-election. Candidates may emerge as county political party conventions loom a couple months out. But we certainly aren’t hearing any news about challenges.

We can understand why Tom Huseman gets a pass. He’s a nice and popular Republican from Alta. We are impressed in how he dove into the lake improvement commission. He discourages realistic competition.

You would think the Republicans could scare someone up to run against Merten, and likewise the Democrats somebody against Arends. Neither will be elected homecoming king. We need someone who is enthusiastic about helping Storm Lake grow, who wants to work with city hall, who wants to help Storm Lake United. Somebody who believes in open government, not hiding public records involving millions of dollars. Either could be beat for a nice $32,000 a year part-time job from which you cannot be laid off for at least four years.

Somebody must be out there.

Candidate found

We are delighted to learn that a bright young star is running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture: Tim Gannon, who farms 950 acres near Mingo with his dad, Bill. Tim was a close aide to former Iowa Economic Development Director Mike Blouin (who was instrumental in Project Awaysis in Storm Lake). He went on to Washington to serve Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. He came home to the farm when Vilsack’s hitch was up. Of course, Gannon is running as a Democrat.

He is married with a young daughter. He knows what it is like to work with cattle on a pasture. He understands the challenges of rural America better than anyone, given his time at Vilsack’s right hand. He is prudent and unwilling to blast out in some direction that this state’s farmers will not support. He is concerned about water quality, and he also is concerned about letting farmers find solutions that fit their situation. Gannon is smart and thoughtful, and has learned as a political aide never to shoot your mouth off. He doesn’t.

Please give him your consideration. You will like Tim Gannon, an honest young farmer who knows Iowa like the back of his hand.

Bipartisan bottle bill

Legislators might actually do something good this session: A strong number of House members from both parties want to move forward with an expansion of the bottle redemption law that is immensely popular with all Iowans but grocers. The bill would expand the law to include plastic bottles along with aluminum cans, and increase the redemption fee paid to container collectors from 1¢ to 2¢ each. It was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Andy McKean, a conservative Republican, and Rep. Chuck Isenhart, a liberal Democrat.

The bill would require grocers to accept returns where no other redemption center exists. Doubling the fee paid to collectors should help redemption centers that have been getting out of the business. There is plenty of room among the legislators to find a compromise to make the grocers happy. Exempting grocers doesn’t bother us, since they are now mainly confined to the bigger towns where other options already exist. The Knights of Columbus, for one, are happy to take your cans currently at a convenient dropoff along East Lakeshore Drive if you are happy to give up the deposit, as most people are for the benefit of the handicapped. The KC’s will be even happier with a 2¢ redemption fee.

Let’s forget about sanctuary cities and the death penalty and do something that everybody can get behind.

Let’s make this thing work. Let’s pass a bill that Democrats and Republicans both can campaign on while keeping grocery stores clean and all Iowans proud of their litter-free state.