Pick the winner

EDITORIALS

BY ART CULLEN

The three-way race for Buena Vista County Supervisor between Dale Arends, Steve O’Bannon and Kelly Snyder makes for an interesting mix-up. Arends, who was a Republican, was defeated by Snyder in the GOP primary last summer. That drew O’Bannon, a Democrat, into the race thinking that Snyder and Arends might split the Republican vote.

Snyder is a popular semi-retired sheriff’s deputy who still works court security. He was the deputy assigned to Marathon, so he knows people all over the county from all different walks of life. He knows the courthouse politics and apparently has managed to stay out of most of it.

O’Bannon is one of the hardest-working young men you will ever meet. He has worked the hoghouses and the fracking fields in North Dakota. He is knocking on every door in Buena Vista County. His mother, BV Recorder Shari O’Bannon, is a formidable and effective local politician whom we respect. He will give his heart to the supervisor job if he gets it. Like Snyder, he is honest and friendly. O’Bannon outwardly is more passionate about politics than Snyder.

Arends got elected and thought he was born for the job. He thought it was his. He doesn’t care much what the public thinks. He found out in the primary that he should. After having his hat handed to him by the thoroughly nice man in Snyder, Arends thought there must have been a mistake. To heck with the GOP, he signed up as an independent and forgot who brought him to the dance. He deserves not to have some other job outside government.

Does Arends pick up enough Republican votes to matter? The primary turnout was small, and not a good indicator but it was not an overall good sign for Arends. Most party faithful will vote the party. Most people who have heard of Snyder like him. One would think he will hold his own against any Democrat.

O’Bannon is betting he can take all the Democrats and pick up enough independents to pull off a win, which would be fine. It would be fine if Snyder won, too. Snyder ran when nobody else did, when the odds were against him. That took some guts and vision. He did it by being nice. If O’Bannon can win, it will have been by sheer hard work and commitment. We admire both. O’Bannon is passionate and responsive. Snyder is laid-back and is not out to cause anyone trouble. The county would be well-served by either. It has not been well-served by Arends. Vote for the one who can win.

Debates done: Vote Hubbell

The debates are over. They came off as expected with no surprises. Gov. Kim Reynolds defended her tenure while Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell charged that she and the Republicans have made a mess of things. Hubbell is right. They have steered Iowa off-course. The facts are the facts: Taking Medicaid private has resulted in the most vulnerable losing nursing home care in places like Storm Lake. It also caused huge deficits two years in a row that resulted in more than $100 million in budget cuts.

K-12 public schools are falling behind with their budgets. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has suffered a series of budget cuts that eliminated key positions such as the oversight coordinator for confined animal livestock feeding. Hwy. 71 is a wreck while we’re cutting a ribbon for a four-lane Hwy. 20. Court budgets are in decline. Human service workers have their highest case loads ever. Iowa scores on college-entrance exams are declining.

The Iowa Finance Authority is a cesspool that does nothing for communities like Storm Lake with urgent housing needs. Reynolds has failed to investigate the department after firing its director for sexual harassment. The Iowa Senate Republican caucus had to pay out a $2 million settlement to a female worker because of the Roman bath character of that crowd. Reynolds has done nothing about it.

State universities are at the beck and call of Monsanto and the Koch brothers. Private universities are struggling. Rural counties are depopulating.

That’s the debate: We need a change that can move Iowa forward. Reynolds and Company are taking us backwards. It starts with broken budgets and results in fewer services, and higher local property taxes. All so we can “create jobs” by giving huge grants to out-of-state firms like Apple and Egyptian companies that don’t need Iowa public tax dollars.

Fred Hubbell is no Barack Obama. More like Tom Vilsack. He won’t light a fire, but he will clean up the mess he has been left by all-Republican control of state government. He will get our K-12 schools back on decent funding. He will cut out the giveaways to foreign companies. He will check the old boars rooting around on women in state government. He will bring some practical sense back to Terrace Hill. The debate is over. Fred Hubbell needs to be elected the next governor of Iowa.