Leading on conservation, recreation and water quality

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Brent C. Oleson, Linn County Supervisor Dist. 4 Candidate

I consider myself a dedicated, passionate public servant who is involved in the community and committed to making Linn County a desirable place to work, live and grow. That is how I approach being your Linn County Supervisor. Being on the Board of Supervisors should never be about the candidate, but instead about the citizens and collectively moving the community forward.

During my time on the board, I have developed a strong advocacy for protecting and enhancing Iowa’s natural resources and promoting outdoor recreation opportunities in Linn County. I have heard much appreciation from citizens for giving these issues advocacy. This is both an economic development issue and a conservation or quality of life issue.

Iowa’s environmental quality, outdoor recreational opportunities, and our local economy are strongly linked together. We need to be able to compete with other states for businesses and associated jobs in order to keep our economy healthy. It isn’t enough to lure businesses here or create an economic environment for growth, if we’re not providing parallel conditions for a desirable quality of life for the workforce, their families and our citizens generally. Linn County has wonderful natural areas, ripe for enhancement to enjoy hiking, trail biking, canoeing, camping, exploring, hunting, birding, and about a thousand other outdoor activities.

In the next four years I plan on providing continued leadership on conservation, parks, trails and water quality initiatives. For example, I have fought tirelessly to provide funding to enhance recreation opportunities. Trails are one area where much more needs to be done. Trails are largely a local responsibility in Iowa, whereas in many other states, state governments oversee the statewide trail system. No matter which governmental entity manages trails, people want them and local trails are an integral part of encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle.

Iowa will never have the amount of public open space that many states enjoy. Our local farm economy necessitates private ownership of most land; however, this means that remaining public lands are in demand for recreation and enjoyment of our varied natural resources. In Linn County, the Conservation Board has identified $70 million worth of unmet needs that exist today to enhance our parks and natural spaces, as well as key investments and work that can be done to improve our water quality, establish upstream wetlands, and mitigate future flooding. I have spearheaded efforts to enact funding for the Iowa & Water Land Legacy Trust Fund, which would provide much-needed resources for conservation and environmental initiatives locally. Implementing funding to the Trust Fund, which is a hot issue at the statehouse now, would begin to address the list of improving our wonderful parks and trails, while addressing our watershed for natural flood protection, preservation of wetlands, and beginning to get serious about our overall water quality.

It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Linn County and I again ask for your trust and vote on Nov. 8.

• Linn County Supervisor Brent Oleson resides in rural Marion near Squaw Creek Park with his wife, Brandis McFarland-Oleson, and two children, Kennedy & Quinn. More information: www.trailsofleadership.com

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