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NDN Election Central Q&A: Democrat Michael Hansen

Name: Michael L. Hansen

City: Newton

Office sought: Jasper County Supervisor

Occupation: Labor relations representative

Education: High school, with community college coursework

Elected offices held: Ward 2 Newton City Council, 2002-2012; Mayor, City of Newton, 2012-present

1. Reintroduce yourself to Jasper County voters and explain why you want to be on the board of supervisors.

Citizens reaching out to me throughout Jasper County are saying they believe there is a lack of leadership, a lack of clear and concise direction for the future, budget concerns and the inability to work together to get the business of the county done as a board.

I believe the duties and responsibilities of a supervisor mirror the policy and decision-making role of a city council member and the administration, oversight and executive leadership of a mayor. I offer the citizens of Jasper County more than16 years of successful governing experience and leadership, and a full-time commitment as your next supervisor ready to work for you on day one!

I'm a good listener, consensus builder and get the business of governance done; that's my record as a council member and mayor. As your elected official, the only agenda I have is to work for you! My heritage and work ethic comes from the family farm, where both of my parents were raised. The Hansen family farm is still owned and operated by family members today. I'm a union member, U.S. Army veteran, and proudly serving as a member of the Honor Guard of American Legion Post 111.

I'm very pleased to have the support and endorsement for Jasper County Supervisor from our state senator and representative, a clear majority of the current county elected officials, multiple former county and city elected officials, labor officials and organizations, as well as many others. It would be an honor and privilege to serve you as your supervisor. I ask for your vote on Nov. 6, together we can make a positive difference! If you would like to visit with me, please call at 641-521-6755.

2. What do you believe are the two most important issues Jasper County is dealing with presently? Do you feel current elected leadership is making a conscious effort to address these matters?

Planning for the future with a focus on encouraging growth and investment in housing, business and good paying jobs. Jasper County is 98th out of 99 counties in the State of Iowa in growth the past five years. This cannot continue and the county be able to meet future financial obligations.

3. Do you feel the communication between the supervisors and taxpayers is adequate regarding the future of the Jasper County Annex Building and the currently unresponsive courthouse clock tower? Why or why not?

The current board decided to delay any action on the Annex building to this fall or spring, which will obviously move this issue to the next board for resolution. They also issued a general statement regarding the courthouse clock tower indicating they are working to resolve the matter.

4. How proactive should the board of supervisors be on the possible disappearance of state property tax backfill payments from the Iowa Legislature?

The current phase out schedule of the property tax backfill for Jasper County is six years as determined by 2018 legislative session. However, that may be subject to change by each legislative session, no guarantees! We will continue to advocate for the backfill as the board must plan to reduce the amount of backfill reliance in each annual budget going forward.

5. Do you believe the supervisors should be more transparent regarding board mistakes and errors, even if it may reflect badly on the county? Do the taxpayers have a right to know?

Local governance offers the best form of transparency for access to information by its citizens. If anyone has any questions or concerns regarding anything the board is doing on their behalf, they should contact the board members for an explanation and/or information. The citizens we serve have the right to have their questions and/or concerns answered about governance and policy.

6. What is a priority you hope to bring more attention to during your term as supervisor?

Board members must be responsive to citizens concerns and issues, and when asked, work for an acceptable resolution. We must continue to work on county road issues that citizens reaching out to me say are not being addressed satisfactorily and establish and maintain a county-wide comprehensive plan and board goals. There must be a concerted effort of building growth in housing, business investment and good-paying jobs. A detailed review and adoption of a county budget that ensures we are only levying taxes necessary to provide essential county services, support for all county departments and infrastructure needs.

7. How do you decide whether a project is worth taxpayer investment? What factors play into your final decision?

Is the project an essential infrastructure project needed to maintain the county's inventory? Is it an essential equipment item needed to provide services or is it an economic development project to increase the tax base? You make a determination if it's necessary. Have we planned for the expenditure in the budget and/or does it have a positive or negative impact on the tax levy?

8. How would you handle discourse with fellow supervisors who may have conflicting ideas?

I have always conducted myself with the utmost respect for my colleagues. We were all elected to office by our citizens. When we have differing opinions, we discuss them in a professional manner, work to reach a compromise, or we decide to go in a different direction without creating discourse or dysfunction. Proper decorum is the responsibility of each individual.

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