Meet the Candidates

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Jorgensen challenges Vail for BV Supervisors seat

3rd in an election analysis series

For the District 2 Supervisor race, Richard Vail is seeking reelection to the board, while Democrat Robert Jorgensen is running for the first time.

This is one of two contested supervisor races in the county. The other is for District 3, where incumbent Democrat Jim Gustafson is running against Republican Jim Osegaro.

Dick Vail

Vail said he is seeking another term primarily because of the people he has encountered.

"I enjoy working with the people," he said. "I think we have a good county here in Buena Vista County and I'd like to keep it going that way."

If reelected, Vail said he would like to keep Buena Vista County as being a good place to live.

"We've tried to maintain the taxes and improve our road system, and we're trying to fight with state budget cuts," Vail said. "It's very difficult trying to find money the state keeps taking away from you."

Vail, a Republican, has lived in the county since 1965. He is married and has two grown children. He farmed for 22 years, and is the manager of the Sioux Rapids auto parts store.

Currently Vail chairs the board of supervisors, serves with Iowa Lakes Resource and Conser-vation Development Board and chairs the E-911 Board.

He is a member of the First United Church of Sioux Rapids and the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau.

Dealing with state budget cuts has been a challenge for the board of supervisors, Vail said.

"It's a battle," he said. "You just got to keep working on figuring out ways to do things, and you may have to make a few cuts to services."

Mental health was the most affected by recent state cuts, he said. "We've had to make some cuts while costs have gone up," Vail said. "We try to help them, but somethings you can't improve."

From talking to people on the campaign, Vail says better roads and more services are big issues.

"Everybody wants more services, but we have less money," he said.

Like others, supervisors find themselves lobbying to keep the state from cutting other funds, such as the gas tax.

"(The state) is looking at cutting the gas tax again, and that will put a real hardship on things," he said.

Juvenile detention costs are another "sticky topic," he said.

"Costs are a problem as well as detention, period," he said.

Vail says he serves all of Buena Vista County as a supervisor.

"I've always been open minded and receptive to anybody and anything," he said. "I'm open minded and represent all the people of Buena Vista County.

"I believe it is important to look out for the best interests of the whole county, not just my district," he said. "Buena Vista County is a great place to raise a family, and I want to keep it that way."

Robert Jorgensen

Robert Jorgensen is seeking his first term on the board of supervisors. The Democrat has considered it before, though.

"I thought about this 12 years ago, that I wanted to try, but I didn't feel I had the time then," he said.

Now retired, Jorgensen feels he has the time to spend as a county supervisor. He has also served on the Newell City Council, which was an experience he enjoyed.

Jorgensen is a native of Buena Vista County, having grown up on a farm in Grant Township. He lives in Newell with his wife, Beverly. They have four children and six grandchildren.

He was in the implement business for 27 years in Newell, and now wants to serve the county.

There are several issues he would like to focus on, including keeping taxes low, spending responsibly, listening to the public, communicating between government and the people, participating in meetings, economic development and natural resource conservation.

"Those are the things I think we need to do. I'm not saying it isn't being done, but I want to focus on those items," he said.

A lot of people have been talking about increased property taxes due to increased valuations this year.

"I would do what I could to try to get taxes down, they did go up a little this year," Jorgensen said. "I feel like we have to have a good budget and stick by it."

The lake is another issue that Jorgensen is "controversial" for some. "There are lots of people who are really for it, and then of course some that are against it," he said.

He supports county involvement, such as that of the commission composed of city, county and state representatives to oversee a local dredging project.

"I like that lake and I enjoy that lake. I fish on that lake a lot and I think it's a good deal that it gets cleaned up," he said. "I think it's a good project and I think it needs to be done."

He would like to see a settling basin or improvements made to Little Storm Lake, too, though he is unsure of the possibilities because of its wetlands designation.

A big issue Jorgensen expects to continue is the question of livestock confinements.

"I think it's going to be an issue. I hear pros and cons to it," he said.

He has been around livestock throughout his life, and he feels producers do their best to keep clean operations.

So far, Jorgensen has enjoyed his campaign for county supervisor.

"I don't have any ax to grind, but I think we're kind of lucky in county. We're in fairly good shape," he said.

* For more information on the Nov. 5 election, check out the Election Information link off of the Buena Vista County web page at

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