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Meet the State Senator candidates

By Staff | Oct 22, 2008

Today, the Estherville Daily News proudly presents its final installment of the annual Question-and-Answer for the General Election.

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

Part five focuses on the State Senator’s Race. Candidates submitting answers are Jack Kibbie and Ken Vaske.

What prompted you to run for this office?

Kibbie: I want as a Senate Democratic leader to keep our commitment to education, health care and jobs. That includes adequate funding for community colleges. I will continue promote renewable fuels. Iowans need to grow our way to energy independence. Also, Iowa farmers need to get a fair return from wind energy.

Vaske: I decided to run as an Independent after the Republicans failed to field a candidate leaving the incumbent unchallenged in this election. I felt voters needed a choice for this important office. I am quite unhappy with some of the bills passed by the Democrat majority in the legislature the past two years. I am running as a pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family candidate.

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

Kibbie: In 2007 we did not have enough votes to get a change to the matrix out of the agriculture committee. I do believe the DNR could change the matrix without legislative approval.

Vaske: Hog confinements have been a thorny subject since their inception. I believe the state should be responsible for setting rules to protect air and water quality throughout the state. Final permitting and siting new animal confinements should be left to local jurisdictions, i.e., county board of supervisors. Any new technology to control odors should be quickly adopted.

Do you think the State of Iowa deserves a legislature which follows a longer session?

Kibbie: The legislature should stay within the time designated, which is 110 days in odd years and 100 days in even years. The public needs to know that the per diem is not paid beyond that dead line.

Vaske: No, I think the session is long enough if they work at it. More time would probably result in more mischief out of the legislature.

Do you think the State of Iowa will be raising the sales tax any time soon?

Kibbie: No, I do not think the state will be raising the sales tax any time soon. It is my opinion the budget that needs to be addressed is road funding which is supported by fuels taxes.

Vaske: I hope not. The sales tax is the most regressive tax we have. I would support lowering the sales tax.

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

Kibbie: The disaster needs in 90 counties will be a priority for the next session. The federal government has committed to fund public losses at a 90-10 ratio and I believe that most other disaster needs will be funded at 75 to 25 percent matches. Hopefully the state can pick up the match. I hope we don’t have to put that burden on local government. The state budget will be tight in 2009.

Vaske: The state should move quickly to repair any State infrastructure – roads and bridges, etc. State work crews could be sent in to help in any cleanup. I believe that providing money for rebuilding private homes and businesses would set a precedence that we may not be able to live with. Any money needed would have to come out of other programs.