Elections

Supervisor District 2 candidates want to make Linn County 'a destination'

They want to create jobs, amenities

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Without an incumbent on the ballot, Linn County’s District 2 voters will choose between Democrat Stacey Walker or Republican Adam Jensen.

Jensen and Walker disagree on some topics, including hot-button issues such as minimum wage and supervisor pay. But both believe Linn County needs to work on economic growth.

Jensen said his goal is to attract businesses headquartered in cities such as Chicago or St. Louis to open up shop in Linn County.

Cedar Rapids and Linn County “should be a destination for jobs, for growth, for everybody to come to instead of go from,” Jensen said.

Meanwhile, Walker said the focus should be on creating the amenities and spaces to attract working professionals.

“The talent will come here, we can be a destination for the region, really. I’d like to see us rethink the way we do economic development,” Walker said.

In addition, Walker said two other main goals of his are building on programs for the disabled and elderly and addressing social problems involving poverty and gun violence.

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Nov. 8 voters also will decide whether to have five or three supervisors on the board. Both candidates said the board should stay with five supervisors.

As for supervisor pay, Jensen said he wants the annual pay for a member of the board reduced to $70,000. It currently stands at a little more than $100,000 a year.

“There’s no reason we as politicians should be making as much as the governor when we’re working as a county,” Jensen said.

Walker said he is open to having a conversation about supervisor pay, which is in the same range as that of the county auditor, recorder and treasurer. But he added he understands the amount of work that goes into being a supervisor.

“I think the scope of being a supervisor, the scope of work of a supervisor, is extraordinarily vast,” he said.

Another point of disagreement between the two candidates is the county’s minimum-wage ordinance, which passed earlier this year and will raise the local rate to $10.25 by 2019.

Jensen, who said he likely would revisit discussion on the ordinance, is concerned the local increase will push employers out of the county. Jensen said local officials should focus more on lobbying the legislature for statewide change.

“As a county, we should go to the state,” he said.

Walker, meanwhile, said he supports not only raising the wage, but doing so locally.

“I do think it’s the role of the government to look after the welfare of its citizens,” Walker said.

 

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Adam Jensen

— Age: 34

— Education: BA in biology from Augustana College and MBA from University of Maryland University College

— Occupation: Materials supervisor for Kraft Heinz

— Hometown: Cedar Rapids

 

Stacey Walker

— Age: 28

— Education: BA in political science from University of Iowa

— Occupation: co-chairman of the Safe, Equitable and Thriving Communities Task Force

— Hometown: Cedar Rapids

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