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Republicans seek party’s nomination for state House

Meyer, Waechter, Sexton and Hoefling are on Tuesday’s ballot

Area Republicans will have primary election contests Tuesday in state House of Representatives districts 9 and 10.

House District 9

In House District 9, Ann Meyer and Gary Waechter are seeking the nomination.

Meyer, of Fort Dodge, is a clinical nurse instructor at Iowa Central Community College.

She graduated from Redford Union High School in Michigan, then earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mercy College of Detroit.

Waechter, also of Fort Dodge, is retired from a sales career. He is a native of Humboldt County who graduated from Twin Rivers High School in Bode. He also attended Fort Dodge Junior College. He is a veteran of the Iowa Army National Guard, and a former member of the Rockwell City school board.

The winner of the primary will face Democrat Megan Srinivas in the November general election.

House District 9 is currently represented by Democrat Helen Miller, of Fort Dodge, who will retire at the end of this year after 16 years in the Legislature.

House District 9 includes Badger, Clare, Duncombe, Fort Dodge, Vincent and rural areas of northern Webster County.

House District 10

In House District 10, state Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, faces a primary election challenge from Tom Hoefling, of Lohrville.

Sexton is seeking his third term in the Iowa House of Representatives, where he is an assistant majority leader. He was a state senator from 1999 to 2003.

He and his wife, Becky, own two businesses: Twin Lakes Environmental Services and Real Time Ag. He is also a farmer. He graduated from Rockwell City High School and earned an associate degree from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Hoefling is a political activist and consultant who runs an anti-abortion group called Equal Protection for Posterity.

House District 10 includes Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties plus western Webster County.

The winner of the primary election will face Democrat Jake Thompson, of Rockwell City, in the November general election.

Meyer, Hoefling, Sexton and Waechter were recently interviewed by The Messenger.

Anne Meyer

Why should the voters pick you?

“I have experience in the health care field. The reason I got into the race was that we have problems with access to care, with mental health care. I have experience with the stuff that I want to work on. I have been a nurse for 31 years. I feel I have the experience to work on the problems. I don’t have all the answers.”

Meyer also touted her willingness to work with Democrats in the Legislature.

“I didn’t like what we were seeing as far as the clash between Democrats and Republicans. I know Republicans. I know Democrats. We agree on about 90 percent of things. So I don’t know why in the statehouse everything has to be so my way or the highway. I feel like I want to work on the issues with both Republicans and Democrats.”

What is your vision for the future of this state?

“Economic growth. We need to bring more people into Iowa. We have skilled jobs that can’t be filled. We have professional positions that can’t be filled.

“I would like to be able to attract more people, more skilled workers, to fill those positions.

“I’d also like to see people be able to move up. I want people to realize that they can get into a trade by completing a nine-month program and become more successful economically.”

What is the No. 1 issue facing the state and what would you seek to do about it?

“The No. 1 issue that I’m concerned with is mental health care. I definitely think that is the No. 1 issue to be addressed. We see a lot of kids, a lot of adults, a lot of older adults, in mental health crises. We need to support these people before they get into crisis.”

The candidate said she wants to develop and expand medication compliance programs that would involve visits and phone calls to ensure that mental health patients continue to take their prescription drugs. She said that patients on mental health drugs sometime stop taking them because they feel good. But when they stop taking the medicine, their illness returns. Meyer said keeping patients on their prescriptions via medication compliance programs will avoid that situation.

What is your opinion of the state’s new abortion law?

“I would support it with the exceptions that were written in. That’s all I can say about that.”

Iowa’s new law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. However, it makes exceptions for incidents of rape and incest and cases in which the baby cannot live outside the womb.

“It’s not up to me to make those decisions for women in those situations,” Meyer said. “I would not take those exceptions away.”

What do you think needs to be done to improve the state’s Medicaid system?

“There needs to be more oversight. The managed care organizations sign contracts to deliver care for these patients and they’re not following through on them. Some private physicians aren’t being paid unless they pick up their phone to call their senators and representatives to get their help.

“The Medicaid system needs oversight, rules and penalties. There’s penalties for us when we don’t pay our bills.”

She said she thinks there should be a legislative committee dedicated to overseeing the Medicaid system.

Gary Waechter

Why should the voters pick you?

“I was born here and raised here. My life experience is Iowa and the Midwest. Iowa is an agricultural state. I’ve worked in and around agriculture my entire life. I think I’m the only one in the race who’s done that.

“I served in the military. I took the time to actually go there and serve. I think I’m the only one in this race to do that.

“I served on the school board. I’m the father of eight kids. I coached for many, many years.

“Another reason, I think, is I’m a Christian. I’ll bring those Christian values to Des Moines and use them when we evaluate and vote on a bill.”

What is your vision for the future of this state?

“I want to cut taxes and reduce red tape. As far as the new tax cut, I love it. Who wouldn’t? More money in your pocket.

“Also, there’s the rule of law. We have to protect our policemen and first responders. We have to give them what they want and what they need.

“And also veterans. We’ve got to honor and care for our veterans.”

What is the No. 1 issue facing the state and what would you seek to do about it?

“To me, that would be what some people call mental health. When we find the root cause of that problem, we’ll find the root cause of a lot of other problems.

“I’d look to find the root cause of it. My approach to the whole thing would be, let’s release the doctors and any medical people to step in and address this.”

What’s your opinion of the state’s new abortion law?

“I think it’s a good start in the right direction.”

The law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, but it includes exceptions for cases of rape, incest and instances in which the baby is not expected to survive outside the womb.

The candidate said he’s opposed to the rape and incest exceptions.

“You’ve got life at conception,” he said. “You’ve got DNA at conception. So if we throw in the rape caveat, now we’re killing a little one because two people did what they did. Unfortunate, but the two people have to be held accountable for what they did. Yeah, it’s an unfortunate situation, but do we kill the baby because that happened? Find the sucker that raped her and take it out on him.”

He described the exception for cases in which the baby isn’t expected to survive outside the womb as a “close issue.”

“But you’re taking the opinion of a doctor who says the baby won’t survive. Will it? That’s a more difficult call.”

What do you think needs to be done to improve the state’s Medicaid system?

“It needs some serious work. I don’t know who the heck came up with that. It’s got to be changed. But on the other hand, the way it was we couldn’t afford it. We were getting run out of money.

“I don’t know the answer to that. But I tell you what, I’d work hard on it.”

Mike Sexton

Why should the voters pick you?

“I believe that I represent the district. I’m a small business person. Both my business and my wife’s business are ag-related. I’m a farmer.

“And I’ve got the experience of being down there. I’ve been down there eight years now, with my Senate years and my House years.

“Two years ago, I was elected into leadership as an assistant majority leader. It is my intent to continue in the leadership and that is good for your district.

“I’ve proven that I can get things accomplished with the other side. I passed two major pieces of legislation in a bipartisan manner. Both my truck wash bill and my fallen officer bill are bipartisan.”

What is your vision for the future of this state?

“My hope for Iowa is that we can continue tax reform so that Iowa is very competitive in tax rates so that we can develop our businesses and get new businesses. I would like to get to a flat tax. That would be my ultimate goal.

“My concern is the direction of the ag economy. My hope is that the ag thing turns around.”

What is the No. 1 issue facing the state and what would you seek to do about it?

“I can tell you what people in House District 10 are talking to me about. To me, those are the issues I have to focus on because they are my constituents.

“One is managed care organizations. We have to make sure that this privatization of Medicaid in the state of Iowa is not leaving out or hurting our most vulnerable citizens. The intention was to find duplications of services and ways of cutting costs by not cutting services.

“We need an increased level of oversight. We need specific regulations about how to take care of patients.

“Another issue is confined animal feeding operations. I’ve told people that we have to look at the LLC issues for cases in which we have producers establishing two separate LLCs. I think what we need to do is lower the threshold from 500 animal units to 300 animal units.

“The next one, of course, is the matrix. I will work to put together a working group that includes the same amount of farmers and the same amount of environmentalists to study the matrix. It’s been at least 20 years since it was in place so I think it’s probably time that we look at the matrix.

“Those are probably the two things I hear the most about.

“From the local officials in my district, I hear about the backfill money. We got it pushed off so it won’t happen in the next fiscal year. I’m telling them it will start coming out in 2020. We’ll stairstep it down over five years.”

The backfill money is state money that was promised to local governments when the state Legislature and former Gov. Terry Branstad enacted a property tax cut about five years ago.

What’s your opinion of the state’s new abortion law?

“I’ve been pro-life since I was elected to the Senate. I’ve always said I’m pro-life. I supported the bill. I see the tide turning — more Iowans are supporting life.”

The new abortion law prohibits the procedure after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, but it includes exceptions for cases of rape, incest and instances when the baby isn’t expected to survive outside the womb. Sexton said he accepts those exceptions as necessary to get the measure passed.

“We did not have the votes on the House floor to get just a straight heartbeat bill. We knew the Democrats weren’t going to help us. If we didn’t have the exceptions, we wouldn’t have a bill. My point of view is we got a good bill and if you were going to sink it because of the exceptions there would be no bill.”

Tom Hoefling

Why should the voters pick you?

“We need some new conservative voices in Des Moines. We also need some fresh eyes on the problems we face.

“I’m a consistent, principled conservative with a long track record of standing by what the Republican platform is supposed to stand for. I’ve been at this for 25 years. I’m not an unknown quantity.”

The candidate said he takes no money from political action committees.

“I’m beholden to no one but my constituents in the 10th District,” he said.

What is your vision for the future of this state?

“I would like to go back to when our state’s motto was ‘A Place to Grow.’ This district includes communities like Pocahontas County which has seen significant population loss, according to the last census. Our small towns are suffering. We need to make this an attractive place for all of our young people to stay and prosper and also we want to make this a place for people to come to work and live.”

He said cutting taxes and regulations is the key to creating such an environment.

“I think the change that needs to be made fundamentally is in terms of taxation and regulation,” he said.

He described the tax cut bill passed during the 2018 legislative session as “trimming around the edges.”

He said he wants to abolish the state income tax.

What is the No. 1 issue facing the state and what would you seek to do about it if you’re elected?

“The No. 1 problem facing the state and the nation is the erosion of the moral basis of a republican form of government. And at the basis of that erosion is abortion on demand. As long as we allow abortion to take place we’re destroying the moral basis of our republican form of government.”

What’s your opinion of the state’s new abortion law?

“The bill is insufficient. It has no penalties. It’s full of loopholes. It’s going to go down in flames in the courts.”

The new state law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, but it provides exceptions for cases of rape and incest and situations in which the baby would not be able to survive outside the womb. Hoefling said he opposes those exceptions.

He said women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest “have an obligation to protect that child until it’s born. Then they have the option of giving the child up for adoption.”

“It’s barbaric to kill one person because of the crime of another person,” he said.

What do you think should be done to improve the state’s Medicaid system?

“I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers to that. I’m unsure at this point what is the right course to take.”

Here’s a summary of the federal and state offices that will appear on Tuesday’s primary election ballot.

i = incumbent

U.S. Representative, Fourth Congressional District

Republican

Cyndi Hanson

Steve King (i)

Democratic

Leann Jacobsen

John Paschen

J.D. Scholten

Governor

Republican

Kim Reynolds (i)

Democratic

Cathy Glasson

Fred Hubbell

Andrea McGuire

John Norris

Ross Wilburn

Secretary of State

Republican

Paul Pate (i)

Democratic

Deidre DeJear

Jim Mowrer

Auditor of State

Republican

Mary Mosiman (i)

Democratic

Rob Sand

Treasurer of State

Republican

None

Democratic

Michael Fitzgerald (i)

Secretary of Agriculture

Republican

Ray Gaesser

Chad Ingels

Craig Lang

Mike Naig

Dan Zumbach

Democratic

Tim Gannon

Attorney General

Republican

None

Democratic

Tom Miller (i)

State Senate, District 5

Republican

Tim Kraayenbrink (i)

Democratic

John O’Brien

State House of Representatives, District 9

Republican

Ann Meyer

Gary Waechter

Democratic

Megan Srinivas

State House of Representatives, District 10

Republican

Tom Hoefling

Mike Sexton (i)

Democratic

Jake Thompson

State House of Representatives, District 48

Republican

Rob Bacon (i)

Democratic

Tim Winter

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