For District 3 Supervisor, incumbent Jim Gustafson is seeking a fifth term on the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors. His challenger is Republican Jim Osegaro, a Storm Lake businessman.
Jim Gustafson is running for reelection because he feels there are areas he can lend his experience.
"I think I can help with my experience on a large range of issues from handling roads to mental health and law enforcement costs," he said.
All of those are "quite a challenge," Gustafson added.
Gustafson is a lifelong resident of Buena Vista County. He and his wife, Mary, live on a farm in Washington Township where they are independent hog and grain producers. They have four children and seven grandchildren.
Following the defeat of Doug Bruns in the Republican Primary in June, if reelected Gustafson would be the only farmer on the board of supervisors.
"I am the last farmer on the board," he said. "I think that experience is as good as far as working and living out in the county, you see what is going on. I field a lot of calls from constituents on rural issues."
There are several items Gustafson said he would like to keep a handle on in the county, including secondary roads, mental health and detention costs.
Gustafson said he thinks the county has a good road system, but feels the secondary roads budget is quite large.
"It's like the Pentagon - it's an absolute necessity but there's always some costs to trim," he said.
A recent improvement project on a stretch of C-13 east of Sioux Rapids has Gustafson asking questions.
He said that three-mile stretch of road, which was straightened, cost $2 million when it should have been half that amount. The dirt work alone cost approximately $1.3 million, he said.
"In context, that's two dredges," he said.
He was in favor of flattening the curve in that road, but felt it could have been done for less cost.
"I was opposed to the scope of the road," Gustafson said.
There have been increases in the secondary roads tax asking for each of the past three years, something Gustafson has voted against. He feels money brought in by the local options sales tax should cover increases.
"We've got good roads and good road crew, but we can cut things that need to be cut," he said.
Gustafson also wants to work on reducing detention costs, especially in the area of juvenile detention.
"We need to address the costs in our detention costs," he said, noting that the costs have already exceeded the budget for this year.
Gustafson currently serves on the board of directors of the YES Center, and said Buena Vista's juvenile costs are five to 10 times higher than other countries.
Also, Gustafson said he has been "in the trenches" on mental health for his years on the board.
"We're always trying to provide service at a cost we can afford," he said.
Livestock confinements also continue to be an issue, and Gustafson hopes to see more local control through a matrix system being developed by the state. He feels all parties can become better neighbors.
"I'm not an environmentalist, but a conservationist," he said.
Throughout his service as a county supervisor, Gustafson said he feels he speaks his mind on the issues.
"You can't be a rubber stamp for every department head or executive director," he said. "I wade into problems, that's what taxpayers expect. The bottom line is on budget day, it's up to the supervisor board to take more control.
"The board members have to ask questions - we're not dealing with shareholders' money, we're dealing with taxpayers' money."
Gustafson said he doesn't campaign only for reelection. Instead, he said he is campaigning every year.
"I try to inform voters what's going on throughout every year," he said. "I hope they'll send me back. All I can ask is for them to turnout and vote. They'll make the decision on my future," he said.
Republican candidate for District 3 Supervisor, James Osegaro, has lived in BV County for 27 years. He and his wife, Jean, have three children.
They have owned and operated several businesses during that time, including two soft water conditioning dealerships, an ice cream store and a laundromat. Currently they manage several rental properties in Storm Lake and Pocahontas.
Osegaro is running because he feels he can be a positive influence on the county.
"I'm running because I think that the county needs to be a little more proactive than it has been in the past, and I believe I'm a proactive candidate," Osegaro said. "I have a lot of business experience that would be beneficial to the county, because I could bring the experience of a businessman with a business attitude to the county."
If elected, Osegaro feels his business experience will be an asset to him in dealing with the management of the county's budget.
"Because the supervisory position is a fiscally responsible position I think that there might be places where we need to divert financial attention to," he said.
He would like to help promote Buena Vista County into the future.
"I think the attitude of bringing the county forward and doing things more progressively is very important at this time," Osegaro said. "At a time when all of northwest Iowa is being less progressive and things seem to be economically soft, I think an attitude of positive direction is something that we need, and I believe I could do that with my business experience."
Osegaro speaks Spanish fluently, and feels that can be an advantage to more than just Storm Lake's diverse population.
"With my Hispanic background I believe I can help bridge the gap between the longtime residents of the county with the new residents of the different communities," Osegaro said. "That's not just in Storm Lake but in all towns within Buena Vista County."
There are a number of issues Osegaro has been hearing while campaigning for supervisor.
"I've learned that the people living here have a lot of concerns about the quality of their life as in air and water and environment," Osegaro said. "I've been concerned with water quality for the last 25 years of my life and I've learned that these issues and others like farm issues are things that are important to people."
Economic development is also an important issue.
"I've also learned that the people are concerned about downtown main streets in their towns and why Buena Vista County is always looking over the fence at other counties," Osegaro said. "My goal would be to help improve that and help the county become more progressive."
There are several important issues facing the county's budget, he said.
"The budget is a huge issue that really needs to be looked at," he said. "There are deficits that the county is going to be concerned about in the future."
Osegaro said improving and protecting the quality of the waters of Storm Lake is another major issue in his campaign.
"I've been a supporter of the lake project, and as a candidate and a resident I feel that it's important to improve the quality of the lake," Osegaro said. "It's a natural resource and we have to try to protect that. However, we have to recognize the fact that we can't have unlimited spending on the lake, because we don't want to commit ourselves to expenses that we can't afford in the future."
He feels the county can also work together more as a whole.
"There are issues outside of the city proper here that need to be addressed," Osegaro said. "We need to be looking at towns like Rembrandt and Sioux Rapids and Linn Grove and concern ourselves with the needs of the people in those towns as well."
Osegaro is a member of St. Mary's parish, the Knights of Columbus, the Lions and Farm Bureau. He has also served on the St. Mary's School Board and the board of directors of the Red Barn. His civic and business experience are two other things he is bringing to this campaign.
"I believe that as a candidate who has had a successful business experience and has been in business for a long time that that puts me in a positive place right now," Osegaro said. "I feel I'm a proactive candidate, and I feel that's something the county needs right now."