December 09, 2021

Nine candidates vying for county supervisor seats

Nine candidates will be vying for four spots on the ballot in November in the Jasper County Board of Supervisors race. The candidates, four democrats and five republicans, will first take part in a primary on June 5 to decide who will represent each party during the general election.

The board of supervisors, a three-member panel, has two seats up for election this year. Of those running is one incumbent, republican Denny Carpenter. If elected, it would be Carpenter’s fourth term and third consecutive term on the board. Supervisor Joe Brock, a democrat, is not running for re-election.

Carpenter was employed with the Jasper County engineer’s office for 36 years and also helped for 40 years with the voting machines used by the auditor’s office. If re-elected, Carpenter said he will continue to work to serve the people and not politics.

“Jasper County has been managed using common sense, conservative principles,” Carpenter said. “My priorities are to serve the people and to always be looking for areas where we can cut the cost of county government.”

Also on the ballot for republicans is Jeremy Heaberlin, Rhonda Paine, Brandon Talsma and Jeremy Beukema. This will be the second run for Heaberlin, who previously ran for the position in 2014.

The former Newton City Council and Newton Community School Board member said he wants to do what he can to make Jasper County the best place for his kids.

“In my endeavors, in working in Chicago and Green Bay, I’ve learned about things in the manufacturing industry that would be a very big help in county government,” Heaberlin said. “One of those is being creative. Implementing creative programs and efficiencies with labor, with equipment capital and maintenance, we need to understand what those hours, parts cost us.”

Paine is running on a platform of fixing the county’s gravel roads. The northeast Jasper County resident said it is time for some “new blood” on the board.

“Farmers are a serious group of entrepreneurs in Jasper County, and they’re upset. We’ve gotten some help, but we still don’t get any services out there,” Paine said. “I don’t know if I can improve things on my own, but we need to see some new ideas.”

Talsma is also concerned about keeping a farmer’s perspective on the board, with Brock, who also farms, leaving the position. The Newton-area native currently works as a wildlife and land manager along with farming during harvest season.

“I’m a little worried that farms and rural residents will start getting neglected if they don’t have representation on the board of supervisors,” Talsma said. “I want to make sure farmers still have a voice on the board.”

Newton graduate Beukema is also a farmer. He cites his time living in the county as a reason to serve on the board.

“As a Jasper County resident, I’d like to give back to my county,” Beukema said. “I think there is always room for improvement so I’d like to give this a shot.”

On the other side of the ballot, the democrats have four candidates including current Newton Mayor Mike Hansen, Jasper County Assistant to the Engineer Pam Olson, former county employee Jerry Chandler Jr. and Newton resident Eric Smith.

Hansen said after careful consideration and several conversations with current Jasper County elected officials, he made the decision to take on the new challenge. He previously served on the Newton City Council for three terms and as mayor since 2012.

“The work of our elected officials in never ‘complete.’ There is always another challenge to face, another project underway,” Hansen said. “I’ve been blessed to see this first hand, have served the last six years as the City of Newton mayor.”

Olson also brings experience to the table with 39 years working in the engineer’s office for the county. She is looking forward at changes on the state level as a reason to begin work taking a closer look at the county’s finances.

“I think that we see some changes that are needing to be done and with the way the legislature is going we have some challenges coming in our finances,” Olson said. “I have been around long enough to see some of the changes that could be made or saving could maybe be made, and I would like to be a part of putting Jasper County forward in the best possible way we can.”

Chandler Jr., who previously worked for the county’s maintenance department, now has his own plumbing and heating business and would like to see some things change with the county.

“There is a lot of wasteful spending, there are better things we could spend the money on,” Chandler said. “I think we can do a little better job than we are doing.”

Finances are a popular theme among candidates, including Smith. The training director for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 said he wants to utilize his skill-set and career experience to better the county.

“Overseeing projects and finding the best ways to spend funds are my passions,” Smith said. “In my profession, I believe in three simple principles: collaboration, education, and communication. As part of collaboration, it is important to find out what our needs are from all stakeholders, and to professionally discuss these needs as a board.”

The candidates will participate in the primary election on June 5, narrowing down the field from nine to four, two democrats and two republicans, who will face off in the general election on Nov. 6.

Also on the ballot will be recorder Denise Allan, attorney Michael Jacobsen and treasurer Doug Bishop, all incumbents and running unopposed.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com