Local candidates talk about their strengths at a forum in Atlantic


November 4th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The candidates at Thursday night’s Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum in Atlantic discussed their interest in seeing the bike trails in and around Atlantic expanded, budget issues, term limits, their goals if elected, taxes, their qualifications, and what their strengths are. Among the Board of Supervisor’s candidates, Don Lappe said his biggest strength is his years in law enforcement, and working with government agencies in that capacity. He said he understands what’s transpired in local government in the past and what to expect in the future. Jeff Richter, who was a self-employed auctioneer for over 35-years before he retired, said his biggest strength is his business experience. He says he also knows how to deal with budgets, based on his experience.

Gaylord Schelling, who retired after 33-years in a teaching career, said his strength lies in his abilities to communicate, and in resolving conflicts. He also said he would be a “Good steward” of the tax dollars. Pat McCurdy said his biggest strength is in the area of economic development. He was one of the founders of Southwest Iowa Egg in the southeast part of the county, which he says created 20 jobs and added to the tax base. He was also involved in bringing Boulders Inn and Suites, to Atlantic. He said he’d like to bring more wind farms to the county, to increase the tax base. Kathy Somers, who currently serves on the City Council, said her biggest strength is her ability to look at both sides of an issue and make an informed decision.

When asked whether or not the Supervisor candidates would be willing to take a cut in pay if that were an option, to cut costs in a tight budget year, Schelling said he’s not running for the job because of the pay, he said he wants a new challenge, and to give back to the county and community to make it a great place to raise families. Richter, Lappe, and McCurdy said the pay is irrelevant, and they too want to give back to the community and bring jobs to the area. Somers said the Supervisor’s pay is much less than the City Council’s, yet she would definitely take a cut in salary. She also said she cares about the community, and hopes to add a more rounded, “balanced membership” to the Board, along with fresh ideas and a youthful exuberance.

The City and County government elections will take place on Tuesday, November 8th.