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Election Preview

Monday, November 1, 2004

Kettering: jobs and development are key

Steve Kettering (R) of Lake View, 26th District state senator, is running unopposed for reelection in the Nov. 2 general election.

Kettering was first elected to the Iowa House in 1998 then ran to fill the Iowa Senate seat vacated by Steve King of Kiron January 2003, making this is the first full Senate term for which Kettering is running.

Born in Storm Lake, Kettering worked in the mutual funds department at Mutual of Omaha in Omaha, Neb. He has worked for the past 30 years at Farmers State Bank in Lake View.

Kettering has served as chair of the Infrastructure Committee which funds lake restoration projects such as Storm Lake dredging. He has also served as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee and he has been on the Business and Labor, Commerce, and Natural Resources and Environment committees.

Kettering predicts that jobs and economic development "will be at the forefront" of the next legislative session.

Kettering said education takes up most of the state's budget, with K-12 education taking up 45 percent of the budget and education as a whole, including higher education, taking up 60 percent of the state's budget. He said there is a 4 percent allowable growth margin built into education for the next funding cycle.

At least the Iowa Legislature should have a little more money to work with in its 2005 session. Kettering said projected revenues up $114.7 million from last year.

Kettering sees continuing efforts in the alternative energy field, including methane and biomass research and development.

Kettering said he is highly supportive of Highway 20 legislation.

"Obviously it would be the best thing that could happen for economic development," Kettering said. "It would lift up the whole area."

Kettering said Highway 20 development would also lend itself to development of the Project Awaysis destination park in Storm Lake.

"You have to have a way to deliver people there," Kettering said.

Kettering noted that as ag units have become larger and larger throughout the state that rural population has shrunk throughout the state. "We need to have alternate options" for rural development, Kettering said. One example he pointed to of value-added agricultural development wa a biodiesel plant in Sac County.

Kettering said residents of the Iowa Great Lakes area have indicated interest in using boat registration fees for water safety patrols.

Other issues that may come before the 2005 Legislature are a public clamor over increased deer populations and concerns about mountain lions in the state.

The latter issue could provoke some controversy, Kettering said. Some want a bounty on mountain lions while others want the animals protected, Kettering said.

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