After defeating Republican candidate Mark Redenbaugh for Buena Vista County Supervisor District 4 in the primary election, Rhonda Ringgenberg faces Democrat candidate John Fitzpatrick for the seat.
Fitzpatrick, of Storm Lake, says he's tired of "yes" people and says that's one reason he decided to run for County Supervisor. He says he likes it when people question everything even if it means ruffling a few feathers. He says he feels that way people can hear both sides of the story.
"I'm tired of voting for people who don't do anything. The last two people I voted for (for supervisor) didn't do anything," he says.
Fitzpatrick says his campaign has been spent handing out flyers, walking in parades, shaking some hands and he is preparing to send out a large mailing. He openly says he doesn't attend the Supervisors meetings - unlike his opponent Ringgenberg who says she feels it has helped her learn the ins and out of the Supervisors. "Why go looking for a job you don't have yet?" he says. "They know me. I've been in the County pretty much my whole life." He says he feels those in the County know where he stand on the issues and if they don't he says he isn't afraid to speak his mind.
One issue Fitzpatrick says he fully supports is continued dredging of Storm Lake, which has directly assisted the Storm Lake community. He says while most of what the County deals with is outside of Storm Lake, those in the city pay a lot in County taxes. "It (dredging) should never stop," he said.
Another issue Fitzpatrick supports is working to get a bike path that extends around the rest of the lake and says he feels it would draw more people to Storm Lake. An avid bicyclist himself, he says he also fully supports the county's effort to join the bike trail proposed from Des Moines to Okoboji. "But I feel we have to take care of our own people first," he says. He says he also supports economic development and feels the County needs to expand the job base. He says one issue that has bothered him the last couple months is the Supervisors wanting to sell the County Care facility and says he doesn't support that.
Fitzpatrick worked for Clough Petroleum and later Clough Auto Parts for 28 years, becoming a manager and sole owner by 1995. Fitzpatrick has been a long-time member and officer of the local Elks Club and has also been a member of the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce in Storm Lake. He served for seven years on the Storm Lake Planning and Zoning Commission and helped work on the Awaysis Project committee.
"If I get this job, I would give it my all," said Fitzpatrick during the Candidate Forum at BVU, Tuesday evening. He said he would plan to attend every meeting and retire from his current job so that he could make his job as Supervisor top priority. He says when he gets asked a question he'll be committed to giving an answer and it may not always be the answer the person is happy with.
Ringgenberg said her campaign has focused mainly on visiting with people about what they feel the current issues are and how they feel about them.
"I know there are things coming up that are going to see strong feelings like the time of transfer and sewer districts," says Ringgenberg. "I feel protecting our lake and resources is important, even if we don't live in those areas."
She says she feels there are some issues that will involve the County's responsibility for public health and safety, and said that she would also support efforts to promote economic development and tourism in the area.
Ringgenberg said with the recent financial crisis of the country, Buena Vista County will surely feel it in the months ahead. "It will be a very challenging year for budgeting," she says. She says she feels there will be things the County may want but they'll need to make sure they spend the money on what is needed first and will need to balance funds appropriately.
In whatever issue she may face as a Supervisor she says she feels it's important to consider the needs of everyone in the county. She says she understands the work the supervisors have done to look at possible bike paths, however, she says the plans haven't been operable yet and one reason is because of land restrictions. She says she supports recreation in the County and feels the County should partner with other interested parties in recreational endeavours.
Ringgenberg says she feels she is qualified for the position because she has a business background, working in management at Paxtons Jewelry and holding a business degree from BVU. She says she has also resided in the community for years and says she has spent many hours volunteering both in the community and at her church.
She has served on the Storm Lake Chamber, arts council and other organizations.
She says she has attended Supervisor meetings since she decided to run and plans to continue working to learn about the many responsibilities of the supervisors office. Over the last few months she says going to the meetings has also allowed her to become better acquainted with those people who work throughout the Courthouse. "I think you have to have the ability (also) to put in the time and effort the job requires," she says.
Ringgenberg says she feels she is easy to talk to and not intimidating so if elected would welcome people coming to talk to her about issues or other concerns on their mind.
This is the first time she's run for a political office and said she was asked by some members of the Republican party if she'd be able and willing to run. "I'm at a point in my life where I'm flexible," she says.
*Supervisor candidates are elected at large by all BV County voters.