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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Candidates speak out

Friday, September 22, 2006

Candidates for Cherokee County Board of Supervisors appeared Thursday evening at a forum sponsored by the Cherokee County Farm Bureau. They are (left to right), Don Parrott, Jeff Simonsen, Mark Leeds and Jack Clark. Photo by Ken Ross
Candidates for the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors responded to questions Thursday evening at a forum sponsored by the Cherokee County Farm Bureau at the Farm Bureau offices in Cherokee

Mark Cronin moderated the forum which started out with self introductions by the candidates.

Don Parrott, the Democrat nominee for the district 3 seat, said that as a teacher who has taught government classes, he always encouraged students to participate in government. He said he has been involved in city government in Washta, serving as councilman and mayor.

"I'm open minded. I believe in listening to what people have to say," Parrott said.

Jeff Simonsen, the district 3 Republican incumbent, noted that he has served 14 years on the board of supervisors. He said that he also serves on 10 other committees as part of his responsibilities as a county supervisor, serving as chair or vice-chair on several of those because of his seniority.

"I bring a good deal of experience to the job," Simonsen said.

Mark Leeds, the Republican nominee for the district 4 seat, describes himself as strongly conservative. He has always advocated participation in government.

"I decided to put my money where my mouth is," Leeds said.

Jack Clark, the Democrat nominee says that in many ways, Cherokee County is still in the 19th Century.

"There are a lot of things we need to catch up on in this county. If elected, I'll do the best I can for the county," Clark said.

The candidates had similar views on animal agriculture in the county as long as regulations are followed and neighbors' rights are respected.

They support the concept of local control on the issue of animal operations, although with some variations on how much local control they expect to be allowed.

In response to why the county has more employees now than it used to even though population declined, there were varying responses.

Parrott noted that there are federal and state mandates that require more programs in the county, the same way that school districts have to do more things by law, even when population declines.

Simonsen acknowledged that the county once had one sheriff and one deputy but those days are over. "Mayberry is gone," Simonsen said.

Clark said that the question is a good one and referred to county officials in another state who wear multiple hats in order to get the various county jobs done.

The candidates were asked what they have done to volunteer time through church or civic organizations.

Leeds noted that he is an Elder in his church and has stepped in at the pulpit in the absence of a pastor. He has worked in his Vacation Bible School.

"I'm just starting to get my feet wet in public service," Leeds said, "I'm very community minded."

He noted that he has previously run for Cherokee City Council and has written letters to the editor.

Clark related his experience as a 4-H leader soon after graduating from high school, which occurred when he was 16. He was involved in the Aurelia Centennial and successfully worked to get grant funding for a restroom in the park in Aurelia. He served as Democratic county chair for 20 years.

"I've been involved in a number of things over the years," Clark said.

Simonsen said he has been a member of the Cherokee County Pork Producers. He said he was on the Quimby Fire Department for 10 years, stepping down from that service when he became a supervisors with other demands on his time. He is a Rotarian and serves as the finance chairman of the Quimby Methodist Church.

Parrott served on the Washta Fire Department for 20 years, served on the Washta City Council and served as Washta mayor. Has been on the E911 committee and RAGBRAI committee. He has chaired numerous benefit committees.

The forum lasted about an hour and a half. At the conclusion, Verdell Johnson commended the county for the job done on the county roads.

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