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Lair to run for auditor as an Independent candidate

By Staff | Aug 20, 2008

With the encouragement of family, friends and many supporters, Tammy Lair of Estherville is seeking the Emmet County Auditor position.

She will be an Independent candidate in the Tuesday, Nov. 4 election.

Lair sought the position in the June primary on the Democratic ticket and lost by a very slim margin.

A native of Estherville, she, her husband Russ and children: Wayne, Emily and Rebecca reside southwest of Estherville. Daughter Martha has moved to New Jersey.

Lair said she decided to seek the auditor position on the Independent ticket when numerous individuals encouraged her to run for the office.

“I believe this will be a good fit for me as well,” she said noting the majority of the work involves accounting for the county.

When she was employed at the mental health center, she had many opportunities to work with numerous county auditors, boards of supervisors and the county chart of accounts. Lair worked with a multi-million dollar budget and many state financial and statistical reports required by the state of Iowa.

“I have already worked with budgets and financial statements, both for the public and governmental bodies and I’m willing to work hard and learn whatever I need to in order to do the county auditor job.”

A 1981 graduate of Estherville High School, she graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College in 1983 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in accounting. An internship with the Ron Hickman office in 1982 culminated into a full-time position before she completed her college studies.

In 1982, the firm changed names to Hickman and Eckard and Lair was the staff accountant until 1987 when she assumed the duties of assistant to the office manager for Northwest Iowa Mental Health Center in Spencer.

Lair was promoted to fiscal director in that office in 1997 and kept the position until 2002 when she was rehired by Johnson and Eckard as a staff accountant. It was July of 2005 the firm name became Brinkman and Reed but Lair retained her accounting position.

“My entire work history involves being an accountant,” she said, noting she returned to the accounting firm in Estherville in 2002 to be closer to home.

“That opportunity arose and it fit nicely for me,” she said, saying, “The current county auditor’s office staff now works really well together and I want this to continue in the future. I am impressed by the amount of experience and knowledge that is in this office and I hope I have the opportunity to learn from each of one of them.”

Having researched the position, Lair said the person who gets the most votes for the job will have to dig in and hit the ground running.

Lair went on to say, it will be difficult to fill the position that Bev Juhl has held for 24 years. “She leaves some really big shoes to fill.”

Describing herself as a hard worker, Lair will do the research coupled with hard work to do the best job possible.

“Our county is not a rich county and money is tight. The money may have to get tighter so the auditor will have to be fiscally responsible. Bev Juhl has always shown the fiscal responsibility that Emmet County has needed and I hope to show the same strengths.”

She and her husband have always been Emmet County landowners and actively farmed until six years ago.

The Lairs are members of the First Christian Church in Estherville where she and her husband have been Sunday school teachers for the past seven years. She is presently a church elder and serves on the Christian education committee. Over the years, she has held many positions in the church and has been involved with youth groups as a leader. The church youth have, with the Lairs’ assistance, collected funds for Trick or Treat for UNICEF and helped to organize the youth-led Easter Sunrise and Christmas Eve services.

The candidate is on the board of directors for the Estherville Lincoln Central Patrons of the Fine Arts. She also served a number of years as a board member and treasurer for the Miss Great Lakes of Iowa Scholarship program.

With four children, she was and continues to be very attentive to their extracurricular activities, including: ELC Dance Team, volleyball, band, chorus, softball, 4 H, FFA, football, cheerleading, dance lessons and National History Day.

She noted her children’s involvement to 4-H is a full-time commitment for her. For the past three years, she has volunteered her time assisting in the exhibit building during the fair. She has always been one of the chauffeurs for 4-H youth collecting items for Scouting for Food.

In her spare time, she keeps the books for her husband’s company, Lair Tiling and Excavation, Inc. as well as Lair Brothers Partnership.

“With my accounting background, I believe the county auditor position is the right fit for me and it would be my pleasure to serve the people of Emmet County.”