Jeff Bowen was elected Mayor in November 2005, and will be seeking his second two-year term as mayor in the November 6 election. Bowen, 50, is an alumnus of Aurelia High School, Class of 1975.
Bowen feels a lot has been accomplished in the city during his 22 months as mayor. The city has established a new web site, which is maintained and kept current by staff at City Hall; town citizens regained the use of their yard waste collection site, helping to maintain a cleaner city without the need for citizens to travel to the Cherokee landfill; and the town is in the process of building a new, larger Community Center, something which had been discussed for nearly a decade. The Community Center is being built with the generous financial support of the Aurelia community, without bonding, borrowing money from banks, or having to pay any new taxes.
The Community Center project is Bowen's primary reason for seeking re-election. He has served as the chairman of the building committee and makes daily trips to the building site, making sure things are being done correctly while maintaining quality control and avoiding unnecessary cost overruns. Bowen feels that he works well with the City Council, and that together they are "accomplishing things, not just talking about them." He feels that his continued presence in the mayoral office will help enable the Community Center project to be completed smoothly.
Bowen is the owner and manager of an international business, Geo-Loop,Inc., and he feels his 28 years as a business owner and employer have taught him the management skills necessary to see the Community Center project through successfully. "Keeping on budget while not compromising the integrity of the project is a big issue," he said. Bowen said he and others have been involved in volunteer work on the project for several weeks, which has helped keep the project on budget.
Once the Community Center project is done, Bowen does have a few more community projects he'd like to tackle. He would like to implement a program to fill cracks in the city streets, as well as a sewer maintenance program to prevent sewer backups in citizens' basements. He feels this can be accomplished through cutting tree roots out of the city's sewer system before they cause problems. Bowen is also aware of a problem with the well under the City Hall, and wants to get that plugged properly, to avoid the potential leak of dangerous gases.
Mayor Bowen said, "I am not one to just sit back and talk about what Aurelia needs ‘someday' to survive. I go to work, and see that projects get done, as I have in the past as fire chief and a business owner. I am asking for (voter) support on November 6th, for a working mayor who, in conjunction with the City Council, can show you progress in Aurelia."
Dick Vogt 73, a LeMars native, has lived in Aurelia since he came here in the 1950s to teach in the Aurelia School. Vogt served as a Social Studies teacher, coach, and Elementary-Junior High Principal in the Aurelia School District for 35 years, until his retirement in 1994. The former Government teacher put his educational interest into practice when he was elected the mayor of Aurelia in 1991, and he served in that capacity until 2005. Vogt has found that he really misses being Mayor, especially the contact and camaraderie with the mayors of other area towns. During his mayoral term, Vogt served as the President of the League of NW Iowa Cities, and really enjoyed sharing ideas with other town leaders on how to maitai and improve heir respective communities.
In running for mayor, Vogt expressed a desire to "maintain a Main Street and keep Aurelia viable." He is fully supportive of the new Community Center project, and feels it was something that has been needed for some time. Vogt is the current Vice President of the Aurelia Commercial Club, so he has maintained his strong involvement and interest in the community. He would like to see some new businesses come to Aurelia, as well as maintaining the current businesses.He feels that another small "convenience-type" store, selling a few grocery items, would be welcomed by many residents, particularly senior citizens. Vogt said that he sees himself as a "people person," and in his contact with people in other communnities, he has often heard Aurelia described by them as "an active community that gets things done." He intends to maintain and build on that community reputation if elected mayor.
The two other candidates for mayor are Todd Mummert 37, a 1988 Aurelia High School alumnus, who owns and operates Woody's Tavern in Aurelia, and Jake Schutt 23, a 2002 Cherokee Washington graduate who owns and operates Jake's Sports Lounge in Aurelia.
Schutt said that, as a small business owner, he feels it would be good for him to get more involved in city government issues. Schutt feels things are going well overall in Aurelia, but would like to see more businesses come to town, especially a restaurant. Schutt has hosted the Aurelia Commercial Club weekly coffee at his place of business since the Old Community Center was closed.
Mummert, like Schutt, is running for office to get more involved in city government. He was not available for a photo, and had no further comment on his reasons for seeking the mayor's office.