116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Gazette sent a questionnaire to candidates on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot for boards of supervisors in Linn and Johnson counties. The responses are unedited, unless to correct spelling or punctuation.
The Linn County Board of Supervisors District 3 seat is up for election on the three-member board. District 3 covers Marion and most of rural Linn County.
John Stuelke faces Republican Louis Zumbach in the election. Zumbach did not respond to the questionnaire.
To see other candidates' responses for county, state and federal races, visit our Election 2020 Candidates page.
Why are you running for office? What have you done to prepare for this position? How will you approach learning about issues and making decisions on issues that you don't have extensive experience with?
I served Linn County citizens for thirty-eight years as a deputy with the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the final eleven and one-half years as the chief deputy, the second-in-command. I currently serve on the Center Point City Council and was elected in the past to a four year term as mayor. I want to continue serving Linn County as a member of the board of supervisors. I have the experience, drive and dedication to represent ALL citizens and will listen to their concerns and work with other BOS members to provide a great place to live.
What are the three largest issues facing the county? What will you do to address them?
1) Access to mental health care - We need to do better in providing mental health care to those that need it and may not be able to get or afford it. I would support the continued development of the Mental Health Access Center. I would also support the insertion of mental health professionals into the Sheriff's Office to assist deputies in dealing with individuals suffering from a mental health crisis.
2) Continued upgrading and the improvement of County roads - I support the use of Local Option Sales Taxes to continue the ongoing road improvement projects.
3) Working closely with city councils to attract and develop businesses and locate and provide employment in Linn County - This will also prevent duplicated engineering and project costs if we partner together.
What do you identify as your budget priorities? What do you see as the least important funding priorities?
My first priority is providing additional mental health care to Linn County residents. This can be done by working closely with the East Central Region to find funding that will provide excellent services. Federal grants may also be available.
Another priority is continuing the road improvement projects that have been scheduled. While most of these are funded through Local Option Sales Tax monies, we also should be looking for federal and state grants to allow us to replace bridges and other infrastructure.
With the building of the new Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris building that houses the Linn County Health Department, I don't see any immediate needs to additional building projects for the County. This of course could change with damage suffered from the derecho and as County buildings are assessed.
What can the county do to expand the reach and availability of mental health services to residents?
I believe the first step was taken when the County budgeted for the Linn County Mental Health Center. This project will provide space to assess and treat those having mental health crises. I think there needs to be a continued emphasis in identifying and obtaining additional funds to expand these valuable services. By putting those individuals with mental health issues into a professional service setting, we will cut down on the amount of money spent on incarcerations.
What, if anything, would you do to improve the way the county works with other governmental bodies in the county?
Governmental bodies in Linn County should work together to provide excellent service to ALL Linn County citizens. This could be accomplished through joint city council/board of supervisor meetings. It is always valuable to look where services are being duplicated and whether monies can be saved by joining together.
What is your response to recent protests calling for racial justice? What changes to law enforcement policy or budgeting do you support?
I fully support peaceful protests so that different views can be expressed. I believe that all law enforcement agencies should be reviewing their policies and procedures to ensure they are acting appropriately in different situations. I also believe that training should be reviewed and if there are areas that are lacking, that monies be found to provide additional instruction.
I do not support the defunding of law enforcement agencies. They are working hard to provide the services they are required by statute or ordinance to provide.
I do support efforts to recruit deputies of color and would be open to suggestions on how to do that.