He is a 1963 graduate of Meriden-Cleghorn High School and served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. After returning from the service, he worked for Mogensen Construction and has farmed since 1978.
Dean and his wife, Donnia, have been married 43 years and have two daughters, Deb Merten and her husband Dave of Storm Lake and the parents of two children, and Darcy Wurth and her husband Brad from LeMars, also the parents of two children.
Schmidt has served on the Cherokee Planning and Zoning Board for 14 years and also serves on the Liberty Township Board of Trustees. He is a Council member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cherokee and a member of the Cherokee County Farm Bureau.
He is currently seeking his third term on the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors. He first ran on a platform of installing conservative spending and has tried to come up with different ideas for local business to expand and to provide incentives for locally own businesses.
He still believes he can keep economical activities and the tax dollars in the community and to held provide employees who live in Cherokee County a livable wage.
When asked what are some incentives the County can do to bring in businesses, Schmidt replied, "We have the enterprise zones set up so that businesses that come into the community can ether build new business or have a major expansion. They can get most of their sales tax back and an investment tax credit to go along with that. Both are in place right now in the County."
Schmidt was then asked what has been the biggest change he has seen since he was first on the Board.
"To me it looks like we have more involvement from the community. They express interest in trying to expand the business level in the County, They also express our need to expand our housing areas," said Schmidt. He expressed that if a businesses does decide to come to our community, that there has to be housing available.
Schmidt was also asked what he thinks is the biggest challenge facing Cherokee County.
"That is to get businesses to come to the community. We most likely will not get a real large employer, but small businesses may decide to locate here. Every business that comes here is given incentives. Also, local business need to know that those same incentives are here for them to expand and grow," added Schmidt.
"Our population is just a little over 12,000 in Cherokee County and that also is one of our biggest challenges, to grow the population. As the population grows, the businesses will grow too," added Schmidt.
Schmidt comments on what he has learned while serving on the Board. "It's an on-going experience. I think you are constantly learning because you do have to operate under the State Code, and that limits you on some of your ideas. Say you come up with a good idea once in a while and the State Codes says you can not do it that way."
Schmidt was also asked what he thinks is the biggest waste in spending in county government.
"I don't think that we really have areas that we have any waste. We've worked with all of are department heads on our budgets and have trimmed our budgets down quiet a bit. Example, last year were reduced the Supplemental Tax Levy down by 75 cents per thousand. It's very seldom that we are able to cut the tax rate. With regards to the tax rate, the schools receive 53 percent of the tax rate, the County receives about 36 percent and the community colleges and townships (which provide fire and cemetery services) use up the rest of the tax monies. So we receive about 1/3 to operate County government," stated Schmidt.
He added on about the use of County tax dollars, "The county has 250 bridges and we have 18 that need our attention because of the load limit and safety of those bridges."
"We have a very aggressive bridge replacement plan but our tax dollars are limited on what we can use. So we have to be very conservative on what we spend money on and to hopefully get those bridge updated and increase the load limits on them," Schmidt continued.
If re-elected, Schmidt said he would keep conservative spending in line and to continue to provide local incentives for the County and try to lesson the burden to taxpayers to help better the Board decisions.