"Voters will have the opportunity to elect five members of the Cherokee County Extension Council in the Nov. 2 general election," says Lisa Meusburger, Cherokee County Extension Program Coordinator.
"The Council members elected this year will have exciting opportunities to determine the work that Extension will do in Cherokee County for the next four years," Meusburger said.
Extension Council members are elected at large, and all voters in the county are eligible to vote for five candidates.
The eight candidates on this year's ballot include: Donna Amundson, Larrabee; Bryan Dirks, Marcus; Guy Fishman, Aurelia; Nathan Foresman, Cherokee; Christopher Johnson, Cherokee; Tom Kellen, Cherokee; Eric Ogren, Marcus; and Gina Rassel, Marcus.
Donna Amundson, an incumbent, has served four years on the Cherokee County Extension Council and is a long-time leader of the Mill Creek Valley 4-H Club. Having served in these roles, she brings the skills of being fiscally responsible and open minded to the position. She feels that Cherokee County Extension provides important, educational programs for many in the community and she enjoys being part of the Extension Council that helps meet those needs.
Bryan Dirks, of rural Marcus, has four children coming up through the ranks of 4-H and he would like to help keep Extension viable and progressive in its abilities to serve the county and state in all its needs. Backed by a strong knowledge of grain and livestock, 14 years of management experience, and strong social skills, he feels he has the mindset to adapt to changes and see the big picture to ensure a positive future for Extension.
Guy Fishman has also served four years on the Extension Council and is running as an incumbent. He feels that ISU Extension provides many valuable resources and educational opportunities to the public. He would like to see this continued or even enhanced through the restructuring that has been taking place within Extension. His prior Extension Council experience and willingness to help Extension achieve its goals are assets he could bring to the Council if re-elected.
Nathan Foresman, a former Cherokee County 4-H'er, is interested in serving on the Extension Council to help educate the community on agricultural issues. He feels that his presence on the Council, if elected, and his knowledge of new agricultural technologies would be an asset to Cherokee County Extension and future educational programming.
Christopher Johnson, as a young person returning to Cherokee, feels it is very important for people to get involved and help others in their community. He feels that ISU Extension has an excellent reputation and he is willing to volunteer his time to serve on the County Extension Council and share new thoughts and ideas. His strengths include organization, communication, and a willingness to learn and contribute.
Tom Kellen feels that ISU Extension has a rich history of helping Iowans improve their lives through education and information. He would like to help provide direction to ensure essential Extension services continue to be provided to Cherokee County residents. As our rural environment changes over time, support services such as ISU Extension needs to change with it. Kellen has been involved with agriculture his entire life and he has served on the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation for several years. Because of his experiences, he believes he can provide the leadership necessary to carry Extension services into the future.
Eric Ogren, a nine-year 4-H member, has seen firsthand the importance of the Cherokee County Extension Council. After graduating from Iowa State University, he knows that ISU Extension is much more than 4-H. He desires to serve on a council that reaches out to the agricultural community sharing vital information for sustaining employment and opportunities of growth in the county. Eric has chosen to come back to Cherokee County after graduation due to the endless possibilities that this county offers. By being on the Cherokee County Extension Council and working with the Cherokee County Area Economic Development Committee to make a difference, he feels the future is exciting. He feels he would bring an enthusiasm for agricultural issues to the Council and commitment to listen to the concerns and needs of county residents.
Gina Rassel is interested in making a difference. She believes that ISU Extension is a great resource for everyone but it is sometimes overlooked. She would like to bring more awareness to Cherokee County about all the services Extension provides. Gina states, "Most everyone who knows me would say that I'm a 'people person'. I love getting to know new people. I am creative and enjoy a challenge." She feels she would bring a positive and energetic attitude to the Extension Council.
Council members whose terms expire at the end of 2010 are David Appleby, Cherokee; Donna Amundson, Larrabee; Guy Fishman, Aurelia; Jack Shea, Marcus; and Brenda Werthman, Marcus.
Successful candidates in the November 2nd election will take office in January 2011, and join the four carryover Council members whose terms expire at the end of 2012. Those members are Thomas Bindner, Marcus; Chuck Clark, Cherokee; David Whited, Marcus; and Lynn Winterhof, Aurelia.
Extension Council members make policy, programming, and budget decisions for the Cherokee County Agricultural Extension District.
Extension programming is a cooperative effort involving local citizens, Iowa State University (ISU) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ISU Extension has 100 field offices, providing local access to Extension programs in all 99 counties.