Decision 2016 - Three-way race for supervisor seat

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Steve Doeppke

Joleen Jansen

Ray Peterson

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

Over the next few weeks, the Register will feature articles on candidates in key county and state government races. The articles, which will appear in Q/A format, will be complied using the exact answers given by the candidates to our questions. 

The second article in this series looks at the three people running for a single vacancy on the Clayton County Board of Supervisors. They are: Steve Doeppke, Joleen Jansen (D), and Ray Peterson (R).

Steve Doeppke

Tell our readers about you (where you were raised, where you went to school, where you live, previous careers/jobs, family, and anything else you’d like to share.

I’m Steve Doeppke. I have lived in the Elkader area all of my life. In graduated from Central Comm. School in 1972. I’ve been married to my wife Janita for 43 years. We have three boys William, Grant, Shane. I started working right out of high school for CJ Moyna & Sons in 1972. Then I went to the Iowa Dept. of Transportation in June of 1974. I retired from IDOT in June 2016 after 42 years. I’ve worked as a reserve police officer for 25 years, was also a fireman for 25 years and served on my church council for 2 years. I also worked construction in the summer months inspecting road overlays, bridges and culverts for 10 years with IDOT. I was assistant fire chief for two years for the Elkader fire dept.

What are the top two issues facing Clayton County in the next four years and how would you address them?

I believe the biggest issues facing Clayton County are working with the budget, upgrading our roads and bridges, cutting excessive spending, prioritizing jobs. We should also make sure grants are applied for when available to us.

What needs to be addressed in the next county comprehensive plan?

We need better communication between the taxpayers and supervisors and engineer and co-workers. We need to have an open mind and work together to better our county.

How would you partner with towns on incentives to improve roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs?

I believe we should have open door meetings to involve all towns, property owners, taxpayers and hear their thoughts on issues in concern to better our roads, bridges and infrastructure.

What would you do to ensure ongoing communication between city and county governments, as well as county governments and citizens?

I would make sure to have a date set up every month to meet with community leaders and welcome anyone to attend, so they could discuss concerns and opinions.

Why should the people of Clayton County vote for you?

I believe I have the most hands on experience and qualifications to understand common problems that occur within the county, and because of that I will be able to address them.

Anything else you’d like to add? (Please limit your response here to 100 words or less.)

I believe with my many years experience working with the public as IDOT and police officer, I will serve the county well and that makes me the best candidate for county supervisor. I look forward to serving Clayton County and its residents and I am confident that I can make sure the concerns of the taxpayers are heard and can serve the county with integrity.

Joleen Jansen

Tell our readers about you (where you were raised, where you went to school, where you live, previous careers/jobs, family, and anything else you’d like to share.

I have lived almost my entire life in Northeast Iowa and was born and raised in Dubuque. My husband, Jim and I live and raised our children south of Elkader near the Motor Mill. We are parents to three children, Jessica who, attends the University of Northern Iowa, Jacob, attends Loras College, and Jenna, who is a sophomore at Central Community High School. I own and operate Jansen Products, a local web design, web hosting, and media transfer business. I earned a B.A. degree in General Science at Coe College and I am graduate of St. Luke’s School of Medical Technology. After a few years working in hospital labs, I began a career in public employment as the sanitarian for the City of Dubuque. I oversaw the city’s food safety program and enforced the city’s public health ordinances. I have also served as the Winneshiek County Sanitarian and Zoning Administrator.

I am active community volunteer. I served eleven years or three terms on the Central Community School Board. I am member of the Central Dollars for Scholars Board of Trustees and I am a board member on the Clayton County Conservation Awareness Network and the Clayton County Energy District. I also have enjoyed teaching religious education to the junior high students at St. Joseph’s parish in Elkader. Over the years, I have had many opportunities to help organize various community projects.

What are the top two issues facing Clayton County in the next four years and how would you address them?

 The number one responsibility of the County Supervisors is to manage the county budget. I would work to maintain a fiscally sound budget, while using the county’s financial resources for the common good of all who live in Clayton County. Obviously, farm to market routes are central to Clayton County’s agricultural economy. Clayton County maintains 200 miles of paved road and 850 miles of gravel roads. In order to maintain an efficient, safe and vast secondary road system it is essential for county supervisors to prioritize funding for our county road department.

Aside from fiscal responsibilities, In my opinion the county’s top two issues are:

Clean Water, Air and Soil Conservation: Protecting and enhancing the unique natural beauty of Clayton County, having healthy soil in which to grow our crops and clean drinking water are a priority for most residents. I would work to discover ways in which incentivize sustainable farming practices which will conserve our topsoil and protect our waters. I also support the Clayton County Energy District’s vision to be using 100% local renewable energy by 2050. This will not only be the right thing to do for the sustainability of our planet, it will also be providing job opportunities to Northeast Iowa.

Skilled Workforce and Housing Development: By partnering with Clayton County communities, schools and Iowa Workforce Development, the county can strengthen and grow the middle class by retraining unemployed residents, and by training high school students and graduates to obtain certified skills. I also think the county should work to improve available housing so the people who work in Clayton County can live in Clayton County.  We are at our best and our communities thrive when our workers and their families live here, attend our schools, shop in our stores and attend our churches.

 What needs to be addressed in the next county comprehensive plan?

A couple of months ago the Board of Supervisors wisely entered into contract with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Authority to develop a new comprehensive plan for Clayton County.  A few weeks ago I attended the first Clayton County Comprehensive Plan Steering committee meeting.  Over the next two years, Upper Explorerland planners, will work with county officials and citizens to develop a new county comprehensive plan.  The detailed plan is necessary to make decisions which will impact economic growth, public health, the environment and our overall quality of life. The planners will integrate existing plans such as the county wide emergency response plan and the newly formed active transportation plan.

How would you partner with towns on incentives to improve roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs?

Clayton County is home to over 18,000 people, and of Iowa’s 99 counties it is the 5th largest in land area. While we are largely an agricultural county we also are a county comprised of several thriving communities. I would always look to build relationships with city officials to best serve the infrastructure needs of Clayton County residents. I certainly think intergovernmental agreements can be helpful plans especially where city streets connect with county roads. In many cases, the county is better equipped to maintain roadside vegetation or snow removal and it is just makes sense to have that kind of cooperation.

 What would you do to ensure ongoing communication between city and county governments, as well as county governments and citizens?

 The mindset, “all for one and one for all” can help get things done. In my many years of living in Clayton County, I have consistently observed people working together, especially during times of crisis like flooding events. In addition, compromise is essential for a productive, stable community. I think the best to communicate involves a commitment to civility. I have always had an “open door policy.”  If a constituent has a concern, I want to hear about it.  Not every concern can be resolved in a way to completely please the constituent, but everyone deserves the right to be heard. No group will agree to all things all of the time, but communicating in a civil manner and remaining honest can go a long way to keeping communication channels open.  I want to make sure Clayton County government works for the common good of all who live here. My dad lived a life dedicated to “doing the right thing.” I have learned that is a fine motto by which to live. In order to do the right thing, it will be essential to look for compromise which best serves all our residents and the beautiful place in which we reside.

Why should the people of Clayton County vote for you?
 

I am campaigning on the promise of being informed and open minded. A vote for me means a vote for someone who is committed to a county government which serves everyone. I do not represent special interest or have a personal agenda. Since winning the Democratic primary last June, I have attended most of the Clayton County Supervisor meetings to learn about county issues.  In addition, I have been meeting with town mayors, business owners, county workers, farmers and county department heads.  As a new supervisor I will have a lot to learn, but I am a quick study and I will be dedicated to making informed decisions which benefit the common good of Clayton County.

Ray Peterson

What are the top two issues facing Clayton County in the next four years and how would you address them?

Taxes, roads and bridges

What needs to be addressed in the next county comprehensive plan?

Economic development, goals and policies, agricultural, housing, roads and brides, and recreation

How would you partner with towns on incentives to improve roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs?

Good communication, try to work with the taxes

What would you do to ensure ongoing communication between city and county governments, as well as county governments and citizens?

Have meetings and groups to keep the communications going

Why should the people of Clayton County vote for you?

I have 35 years of road construction work experience, working with people, and employees, DOT, MSHA, OSHA, NRCS, land improvement contractor.

Anything else you’d like to add? (Please limit your responses here to 100 words or less).

A. I have had my own business for 15 years and have dealt with a lot of different people.

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