This is one of nine candidate profiles to be featured before the upcoming Nov. 7 city election in Newton. Ron Bookout is challenging mayoral incumbent Mike Hansen.
Name: Ron Bookout
Employment: Self-employed. I also volunteer as a Child Advocate for the State of Iowa and advocate for the homeless in the City of Newton.
Years of Newton residency: Born and raised. I relocated in 1990 for active military duty. I returned as a resident in 2009.
Running For: Mayor, City of Newton
What do you feel is the most important issue Newton will be facing during your term on the as mayor?
I believe that waste, fraud and abuse runs rampant within the city. It will definitely be a challenge to rein in since it is ignored or accepted.
What do you think has been the biggest achievement for the City of Newton in the last four years and what do you think has been the greatest struggle?
I believe an achievement for Newton has been bringing jobs and businesses but the struggle is retaining them.
What role do you think the city can and should play in economic development? What more/less should the city be doing for economic development?
The city should not cater to big business but to smaller businesses as well. It is difficult for businesses to keep their doors open with high taxes.
Housing has been a major focus for the city in recent years. How do you see the efforts continuing and what ideas do you have for future growth?
The Dangerous and Dilapidated program has been a major focus of the city, unfortunately it is costing the taxpayer excessive amounts of money. This program needs to be discontinued or revised to where it is beneficial to all residents and not just outside developers.
Do you think there is an area in Newton the city should be focusing on that has not received attention?
The increase in crime rate. Not only has crime risen but the severity of the crimes.
Why do you want to be mayor and why should voters choose you to represent Newton?
I want to see the City of Newton thrive like it once did when I grew up here. If the voters want and desire change for the better, I am the mayor to represent them since we desire the same goal.