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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Candidates emerge for State Rep., supervisors

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Local and regional political races are taking shape as new candidates have announced their intentions during county party conventions.

Here's the lineup:

* State Representative District 52 - Democrat Russ Camerer, rural Storm Lake, will face incumbent Republican Gary Worthan, Storm Lake.

* State Senator District 26 - Incumbent Republican Steve Kettering, Lake View, is seeking a second full term. No Democrat has yet announced a challenge.

* Buena Vista County Sheriff - Deputy Gary Launderville, Republican, Alta, has announced his candidacy, with Sheriff Chuck Eddy planning to retire. No Democrat has yet announced a challenge.

* Buena Vista County Supervisor District 4 - Republicans Rhonda Ringgenberg, Storm Lake; and Mark Redenbaugh, Storm Lake will compete in the primary. Democrat John Fitzpatrick is also seeking the seat to be vacated by Republican Herb Crampton.

* Buena Vista County Supervisor District 5 - Democrat Don Altena, Storm Lake, is seeking the seat to be vacated by Republican Lorna Burnside. Republican Jan Alderton, Storm Lake indicated that she is considering a campaign

* County Auditor - Karen Strawn, the incumbent Republican, is seeking another term. No Democrat has filed.

The deadline has passed for state filings. Local candidates have until March 26 to file their nomination papers.

Russ Camerer, Storm Lake, announced at the Democrat convention that he will run against Worthan, who had announced his candidacy earlier.

It will be Camerer's first time seeking elected office, and he said that he had received several calls encouraging him to consider a run.

Among the issues he is campaigning on are expansion of bike trails in the area. Camerer's brother Duane died in 1988 in a biking accident south of the lake.

"A bike trail around the lake has been 20 years in the making and we still don't have it," he said. "I've been told that there are landowners who don't want a trail through their property, but we should be looking for ways to do it and go around those spots," he told the group.

With a background in local labor, he said he would also work to encourage companies in Iowa to take more responsibility for their employees' well being. He said he has worked in local plants where safety inspections were not done nearly enough, and noted that he had a friend diagnosed with lung disease after spending a lot of time in a particular working environment.

Camerer is also concerned about the local Iowa National Guard situation, where many of the members have been sent to Kosovo and other areas for a year at a time.

"Do we have a Guard for for Iowa? Who's watching this area?" he asked.

Completion of a four-lane Highway 20 and safe maintenance of area bridges were also mentioned.

Although Camerer is a smoker, he also said he wants to help work toward successful smoking regulation policies. "I've been trying to quit since I started," he said.

Camerer said he appreciated the bipartisan efforts of the late Mary Lou Freeman in the statehouse, and said he doesn't necessarily see that in the Republican leaders who have followed. He said that if he is elected, he will listen to ideas from both parties.

Camerer is the manager of the Crossroads Motel near Storm Lake.

Don Altena, Storm Lake, announced at the Democrat convention that he will run for the District 5 Buena Vista County Supervisors seat, where Lorna Burnside plans to retire.

In a brief statement, he described himself as a "people-first person," and said he has already heard good input from the public.

Altena is the county chairperson for Thrivent for Lutherans, has taught Sunday School for 20 years, and has coached Little League and advocated for the needs of Genesis Development special-needs workers for the past several years. He is a past-president of the Storm Lake Jaycees.

According to Altena, his governing style would be "to listen as well as lead."

Jan Alderton is considering a run for the Republicans, but has not yet filed. The former Storm Lake City Council member has been active as an advocate for civil rights and fair housing practices since the late 1980s, and has recently taken employment with King's Pointe.

"I have no axes to grind, no bridges to build," she said. "Lorna Burnside will leave some big shoes to fill, and I would just like to find a way to contribute."

John Fitzpatrick of Storm Lake will run as a Democrat for the District 4 Board of Supervisors seat, where Herb Crampton plans to step down, according to an announcement at the convention.

Fitzpatrick said he has no particular issues in mind, but he said he wants to see where the money is going and help to "fine-tune" the business of the county.

With an education in economics and a life's experience living in the county, "I just want to see if I can help out," he said. The former proprietor of Clough Auto Parts now handles the valet parking at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.

"As a county I think we are pretty solid, but with the economy as it, I would hate to see things get any worse. We have taken on a lot of great projects locally, but I'm afraid we may be getting stretched pretty thin," Fitzpatrick said.

There will be competition on the Republican side for the District 4 seat. Mark Redenbaugh, who announded his campaign earlier, will face Rhonda Ringgenberg, Storm Lake.

Ringgenberg said she is not motivated by any particular issues, but felt it was time to step up in public service.

"I think it's really important that we don't always assume someone else is going to take care of these things for us," she said.

Environmental issues will be one area of importance during the next four years, she feels. She said she is aware of the issue of local control on livestock confinements, for example, but is not yet in a position to decide where she would stand on it.

She is also aware that the county has discussed bike trail projects, but said she has not yet decided where she would stand on a project.

"It strikes me how long-term the decisions can be. Things we decide today may impact people here a hundred years from now. Times are changing in the county and in the world, and I want to be a person who listend, is conscientious and will represent everyone in the county equally," Ringgenberg said.

The Mapleton native has lived in Storm Lake for 30 years after graduating from Buena Buena Vista College, almost all of it working with Paxton's Jewelry.

She said that she was not aware of her fellow Republican's candidacy when she made her decision to run.

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