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Meet the state representative candidates

By Staff | Oct 20, 2008

Today, the Estherville Daily News proudly presents its fourth of five installments of the annual Question-and-Answer for the General Election.

To be fair to every candidate, answers are being published in order received.

Part four focuses on the State Representatives’s Race. Candidates submitting answers are Marcie Frevert and Deb Satern.

What prompted you to run for this office or seek re-election?

Frevert: I believe that we have accomplished so much in the last two years, from raising the minimum wage, to providing quality, affordable preschool to most 4-year olds, tougher standards and curriculum for K-12, health care for all children and making Iowa the renewable fuel capital of the world. However, there is always more work to do and I have decided that I want to continue working on these and other issues.

Satern: This district is my home. I am seeing population decreasing, opportunities decreasing and taxes increasing. I have been listening to concerns about high taxes, lack of living wage jobs, poor roads and the feeling that state government has lost touch with the people.

In a time when people are struggling to pay for gas and groceries I know that I can help make our district and state a fiscally healthy and prosperous place to live. I have built a business from an idea to a reality and feel that we need new fresh ideas. I will work to help you keep more of your money and control unnecessary spending at the state level.

Do you foresee the legislature making any changes to the rules (matrix) concerning new hog confinements? Explain your answer.

Frevert: I hope so. I worked hard over the past two years to get the current law changed. I thought we had a good proposal that would have increased the distances and made the law more effective, while still protecting the hog industry in Iowa. I know how important the hog industry is to our state. For years, my husband, Bill, worked with these farmers as a veterinarian. The Farm Bureau was able to stop the bill. This is one reason I am running again. I believe we must be able to protect our air and rural quality of life.

Satern: No I do not. This is not a simple issue. Iowa is an agricultural state and if we want to continue to work on renewable fuels we need a strong thriving livestock industry. I will keep an open mind and work towards shared relationship, responsibility and accountability between state and local control. Problem solving is always a work in progress and I believe that with innovative research, cooperation and creative planning we can continue to work on this issue.

Do you think the State of Iowa deserves a legislature which follows a longer session? Justify your opinion.

Frevert: I don’t think that we need a longer session; the secret to getting things done is to work in a bipartisan effort. That is what I try to do whenever possible. Although legislators only are paid for 110 days the first session and 100 days the second session, we have been known to go longer when there was still work to do. I would not increase the number of “official” days when legislators are paid, but I will continue to insist that we work until the job is done.

Satern: No. There are reasons for deadlines. They keep legislation moving and make government have to prioritize the issues that are most important for the good of our state. I see a longer session as a way for legislators and government to make more money, take more money and spend more time regulating our lives.

I believe we need to get in there and get the job done effectively through efficient, hard work, responsible spending and smaller government.

Being a legislator is supposed to be a public service. It is not supposed to be an occupation.

Do you think the State of Iowa will be raising the state sales tax any time soon? Why or why not?

Frevert: Probably not the sales tax. Some people want to raise the gas tax, which has not been increased for 20 years, so the roads and bridges of Iowa could be repaired. With gas and fuel prices so high this past summer and fall, I would not support raising the gas tax. As for the sales tax, it is not progressive even though we do exempt food, drugs and utilities. However, low and middle class Iowans still pay an disproportionate share of their income on sales taxes.

Satern: I certainly hope not. When you take a look at the budget created by the Democrats in the last session, we need to cut the pork not just continue to fund unnecessary spending. There are two ways to take care of the dire situation our state is in:

1) Increase taxes.

2) Cut spending.

My opponent voted to spend $750,000 towards a Riverwalk in Des Moines, $80,000 to restore an antique organ in Clermont, $50,000 to market a free shuttle service to state workers in Des Moines … I can go on and on.

Iowa has sound revenue coming in. We need sound budgeting.

How do you foresee the State of Iowa rebuilding those areas affected by the many natural disaster of 2008 and where will you find the money?

Frevert: We will be getting a great deal of help from the federal government. The first $85 million is on the way and another $200 million should be coming soon. Congress just authorized an additional $23 billion and Iowa should get a substantial portion of that money. Once we determine what needs will still be unmet, we can look at using the state’s rainy day fund or revising our budgets if necessary. However, rebuilding will not occur in one year, so we can spread the expense out over several budget years. One priority, getting more Iowans covered by flood insurance.

Satern: We should have had a special session to assess the needs and start working on the issue. We need to reapropriate the money we already have that has been committed to unnecessary projects. A new executive office in Des Moines and funding for the prison in Fort Madison should not come before our Eastern Iowa neighbors in need.

Our Democrats will tell you that we have record reserves … 10 percent of the overall budget by law must be put into reserves. Bigger budget, bigger reserves. Take that huge budget. Trim it down just like we do in our own homes and get the job done!