Back Print

At Candidates Forum, most of the questions were aimed at state representatives

Posted: Fri, Oct 5, 2018 8:43 AM
Republican Mike Bergan and Democrat Kayla Koether, candidates for Iowa House District 55

Eight different candidates spoke at Thursday night's Candidate Forum at Luther College.  County Recorder candidates Connie Askelson-Kuennen and Jayne Schultz; County Board District 2 candidates Floyd Ashbacher and Melissa O'Rourke; and US House of Representatives District 1 candidate Troy Hageman were given chances to talk about themselves and their candidacies.

But since the time the candidates got to speak depended on the number of audience questions they were asked and since most questions were asked about issues involving the Iowa Legislature, the majority of Thursday night's program centered on House of Representatives District 51 Democratic Party candidate Tim Knutson and House of Representatives District 55 candidates Mike Bergan, the incumbent Republican, and Kayla Koether, the Democratic challenger.

Knutson, who would represent townships in northwest Winneshiek County if elected, promoted his experience as a health administrator.  He called the current private supervision of Medicaid in Iowa "a significant mess" and said the private companies "make their money by not paying for medical services."

Decorah native and Luther College graduate Mike Bergan said the state legislature is taking "a fiscally responsible approach" to state spending.  He said he has been actively working on children's mental health issues in the legislature.

Grinnell College graduate and former Winneshiek Energy District employee Kayla Koether stressed her experience working with farmers, both at the Energy District and with ISU Extension, looking for ways to develop new crops that would provide new sources of income and leave farmers less dependent on corn and soybeans.

Iowa Resources Trust Fund:  Both Koether and Knutson called for raising the sales tax 3/8th of a cent per gallon to put money into the Trust Fund, which was approved by voters seven years ago, but not funded by the legislature.  Bergan agreed the Trust Fund should be fully funded, but suggested the money could come out of existing tax revenues.

Education funding:  Bergan noted that 57 percent of the state budget already is spent on education.  Koether said the state should make education a priority and pay for it.  Knutson said, "The money is there--it needs to be prioritized."

Reproductive rights:  Koether argued that women should be free to make their own decisions--whatever that decision is.  Bergan said we must operate under the law for the United States.

Medicaid private company supervision:  
Bergan said the current system should be kept.  "We're working through it the best we can," he said.  He suggested money could be saved by reducing smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.  Koether said the Managed Care Organizations are cutting back on services allowed and not paying the bills from providers.  "We have nothing to show this has saved money," she said.  Knutson suggested allowing people to buy in to Medicaid coverage, bringing down the cost of health care.

A complete recording of Thursday night's Candidate Forum will be posted soon to the KWLC Radio website. in the near future will be posting profiles of candidates in the other Winneshiek County election races.