Sat. June 2: candidate rally & potluck at Albia fairgrounds

Bring your appetite and your ears: Democrats from seven counties will convene at 4:00pm at the Monroe County fairgrounds in Albia to hear from gubernatorial and other candidates. Baskets of goodies, tchotchkes, and gift cards will be auctioned to benefit the campaign. This could be your best opportunity to meet our future governor!


Clarke County 2018 platform

Clarke County Democrats adopted the following platform for 2018 at the county convention on March 24.


1. Enact a [3/8%] sales tax to fund conservation and water quality.

2. Enact legislation to ensure public utility rate structures that encourage customers to install solar and/or wind power on their own properties.

3. Enact legislation to require trash collection services to provide curbside pickup of recycling materials.


4. Require credentialed supervision for all home schooled students.

5. Enact a ten-year tuition freeze on public higher education with increased state funding.


6. Amend the Iowa Constitution to limit the time in office of a governor to two consecutive 4-year terms.

7. Restore voting rights to citizens convicted of felonies who have served their prison sentences.

8. Legalize and regulate all forms of marijuana and its derivatives for medical purposes to be determined by the regulatory board, and reduce the penalty for possession of all forms of marijuana less than or equal to one ounce, and of paraphernalia, to an infraction with a maximum $100 fine.

None proposed at this time.


9. Revert back to state-run Medicaid, adopt the full Medicaid expansion rules established by the Affordable Care Act, and allow all Iowans to buy into Medicaid as recently proposed in the state of Nevada.

10. Provide full funding and financial stability for the mental health services plans currently being developed by MHDS (Mental Health and Disability Services) .

11. Reinstate rights for all people, including the elderly and their caregivers and LGBTQ persons, to have access to public restrooms consistent with dignity and respect for all.


12. Restore full collective bargaining rights to Iowa public employees and enact legislation to expand the rights of workers to organize unions without undue interference from their employers.

13. Protect IPERS: maintain its status as a public pension fund without converting any of IPERS funding to 401k , 457b, or similar types of retirement plans.

14. Enact legislation with funding to ensure accessibility to rural broadband internet at prices competitive with urban areas.

15. Repeal the state prohibition on municipal minimum wage ordinances, and enact legislation to restore the minimum wage to its 1968 level adjusted for inflation.


16. All children in foster care and adopted from foster care are required to have wellness checks every 6 months up to the age of 18.

17. State legislature is required to fund all mandates.

18. Fully fund the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University.

19. Ensure that existing laws regarding in-home visits are enforced with proper funding.

Caucuses Mon. February 5, 2018

Precinct caucuses for all Clarke County precincts except Murray will be held at Clarke Elementary School, 420 E Jefferson St. in Osceola.  Murray precinct caucus will be at Murray High School, 216 Sherman in Murray.  Registration starts at 6pm, and the caucuses start at 7pm.  Call Ed White (641-414-1721) or Terry Jacobsen (641-342-4834) if you need a ride or have a question.

Is there an issue that you would like to see addressed?  Please bring your ideas to the caucuses.  Resolutions for the county platform may be proposed by any registered Democrat at this caucus.

Along with precinct committee members to represent precincts on the county Central Committee, delegates and alternates will be elected for the County Convention to be held March 24.

District conventions will be held Saturday April 28, and the state convention will be Saturday June 16.

The primary election is June 5.  Nomination papers from candidates for state offices will be accepted February 26 though March 16, and from candidates for county offices from March 5 through March 28.  See the Secretary of State website for details.


A letter from Rich Higdon, candidate for state representative

Greetings! It’s a great honor to run for the Iowa House of Representatives from District 27. My education and experience enable me to be able to serve you and Iowa.

I graduated Lamoni High in 1975 and went on to earn a degree at Graceland University (79) in economics, business administration, and history. I hired on with International Harvester in their finance department and worked for them for about 7 years in California. While there, I earned a Masters’ in Business Administration from Pepperdine University (82). Graceland then asked me to come back and teach in the business department. I taught for a semester, then followed my wife into the US Air Force, Medical Service Corp (medical administration). I served our nation as an officer for 20 years, retiring honorably as a Major in 2009. I did tours in Cheyenne, St Louis, Japan, and Washington DC, where I served for almost 10 years. My highest award was the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. I also received the Global War of Terrorism Medal for service in Iraq (05). Then I was hired as a military contractor for the US government to teach logistics to the Afghan National Police. I did that for 4 years. Now I chase cows on the family ranch in Lamoni.

I know that governments can work for the people if led properly because I’ve seen firsthand both good and bad leadership. I have three core reasons why I’m asking for your vote.

First, economic development. I know that’s a little like saying I’m for “Ma and apple pie” but specifically, I’m for building the economic infrastructure that attracts businesses. One of those elements is surface water. We need water for businesses wanting to locate in our district. The reservoir project near Osceola needs to be completed. My opponent, Representative Joel Fry, is either opposed to the reservoir or can’t make it happen. The will of the people, supporting this project, is overwhelmingly clear. It will be a top priority for me.

Second, we need to support our public schools. I’m a product of the Iowa public schools and I know how central schools are to our children’s education and as a center for small towns. Our schools need to get their budgets on time, get paid for the students attending the current year, and enable our teachers with the resources they need. I’ve been endorsed by the National Education Association for my strong support of public education. My opponent votes for home schooling bills that move resources away from our public schools and, because he homeschools, would significantly increase money coming into his household.

Third, I’m against the state intruding into the private medical lives of Iowans. Rep. Fry pushed legislation that would require every woman who had the tragedy of a miscarriage to report it to the police, file a death certificate, and involve a funeral home for the remains. That is outrageous! Iowans are better than that.

Thanks for your time to read some of my thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you and I hope I can serve you in the Iowa House.

– Rich Higdon,

Down-ballot contests in Clarke County: a rundown

There are some interesting down-ballot contests going on in Clarke County, but also some positions that lack any candidates at all.   Cruising around the county, one can see not only yard signs for Democrats and Republicans in the same yard, but even yard signs for opposing candidates for the same position standing next to each other.   And then there are the non-partisan candidates, and even a California-style ballot referendum in Osceola on how long the mayor’s term of office should be. Who’s running for what? Here’s a rundown.

Congress Second District: All of Clarke County is in District 2; there has been some confusions about this since the 2013 redistricting. It’s Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack versus Republican Chris Marks. We are not in Steve King’s district (District 4, northwest Iowa), nor David Young’s (District 3, southwest Iowa including Des Moines). Clarke and Decatur counties are the westernmost counties in the 2nd district, which includes Iowa City, Burlington, and Davenport.

State Senate District 14: Incumbent Amy Sinclair is the Republican candidate. The Democrats don’t have a candidate.   Ruth Smith is running as an independent on an anti-corporate campaign money platform.

State House District 27: Republican incumbent Joel Fry versus Democratic candidate Rich Higdon. More on this contest next week.

Clarke County Sheriff: The impending retirement of sheriff Bill Kerns has led to a 3-way race for sheriff. Rob Kovacevich, chief deputy sheriff, is the Democratic candidate.   George Williams, the Republican candidate, is a retired law enforcement officer who has worked for the U.S. Marshall’s Service in southern Iowa as well as having held other positions in Texas and in Maricopa County, Arizona.   A third candidate, Ed Stoll, formerly of the Osceola police department prior to his retirement a couple of years ago, is running as an independent.

County Auditor: Democratic candidate Janice White, who has worked in the auditor’s office for many years, was first elected auditor in 2012, defeating Republican Joyce Neal, long-term employee of Clarke Electric Cooperative. In her first run for re-election, she is opposed by Sarah Jo Farlow, who left work in the auditor’s office in 2013 and now works as a pharmacy technician at Walmart.

County Board of Supervisors District 2 (includes Northeast Precinct and Osceola Ward 2 Precinct): Incumbent Larry Keller (Republican) is opposed by independent Richard McKnight.

County Board of Supervisors District 3 (includes Osceola Ward 2 and Ward 3 Precincts): Marvin McCann is the Democratic candidate, Ray Negley is the Republican candidate, and Derek Lumsden is running as an independent.

School Board at-large position: This is a non-partisan office, and two people are running for a position that no one ran for in 2014: Barry Mateer and Brian Crawford. Mateer is a career educator who taught for most of his career in Japan, and Crawford is a general contractor who was appointed to fill the vacancy when nobody ran for the position in 2014.

 Township trustees: There is only one contested position for township trustee: Dennis Loghry vs. Mark Doty in Liberty Township in North East Precinct..

Doyle Township in Murray Precinct, Green Bay Township in Middle Precinct, and Washington Township in Middle Precinct, on the other hand, have no candidates on the ballot for trustee. These situations offer good opportunities for write-in campaigns. Anyone interested in the position could easily take the office with a handful of write-in votes, thus relieving the board of supervisors from the necessity of finding someone to appoint. Last week’s blog post at described some of the duties of township trustees.

There are no contested elections in the other township trustee positions. Listing the candidates by precinct:

Middle Precinct: Knox Township, L. Lynn George. Ward Township, Ralph Miller.

Murray Precinct: Madison Township, Raymond Johnston. Troy Township, Monty Chew.

North East Precinct: Fremont Township, Tom Carson. Osceola Township: Janene D. Nelson.

Woodburn Precinct: Franklin Township, Ellen G. Danner. Jackson Township, John Carson.

Any of the above candidates who would like to say more about their qualifications and the issues they see as pertinent, please send me some information! Though the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune is publishing answers to written interview questions from some of these candidates every week, there are many voters in Clarke County who do not read the Sentinel-Tribune, and we want to get as much information out there as possible – not just to Democrats but to all voters.

– Sandra Baringer,