Green touts life experiences in Senate campaign
Editor’s note: In the latest in a series of ongoing articles introducing candidates on Tuesday’s primary election ballot, Jesse Green, a candidate for the Republican nomination in state Senate District 24, answers questions posed by The Messenger.
Senate District 24 includes Boone, Greene and Hamilton counties, southeast Webster County and northwest Story County. The incumbent, state Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, is retiring.
Green faces Chad Behn, Joshua Dyer and Todd Rasmussen for the Republican nomination.
The Democratic contenders are Keith Puntenny and Cynthia Oppedal Paschen.
What is your political experience?
I have not run for a political elected position, but have held other elected and leadership positions, such as the Dayton Rodeo and Celebration Committee. I have served the rodeo my entire life, but was on the board for six years. During that six years I served as chairman, vice president and treasurer. The celebration is over 80 years old, and I was honored to be the youngest chairman ever elected. Additionally, I have taken the opportunity for local leadership with a seat on the Webster County Farm Bureau Board, serving as secretary. My leadership abilities have been extended through participation in Farm Bureau’s Ag Leaders Program and Webster County leadership classes, and being named Top 10 Under 40 awardee in 2017 by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. These and more experiences have shaped me for even greater political experience, so that I am able to form policy that will bring a positive impact to my neighbors of Senate District 24 and Iowans.
What is your profession?
I am a fifth-generation farmer. Our operation focuses mainly on corn and soybeans, but we raise a lot of hay and run livestock as well. I love farming for many reasons, but working with family members that are flexible has allowed me to pursue my dreams in the off-season of serving others, including teaching Bible at Community Christian School and mentoring.
What is your educational background ?
I am a graduate of Community Christian School’s K-8 program in 1999 and Southeast Webster High School in 2003. I am now pursuing my dreams of a college education by studying online through Emmaus Bible College and Iowa Central Community College. I desire to always be a life-long learner. The ability to learn and to also teach others is an impactful part of who I am, and when I am actively participating in any of those two activities I thrive.
Why should the voters pick you?
I believe I have the most proven track record of public service of all of the candidates. What drives me is being the best servant leader I can be and maintaining a stewardship mindset. I know this is how God has shaped me. As far back as I can remember, including my days as a young 4-H member, I realized I thoroughly enjoy serving people. Secondly, I have lived a genuine life of ups and downs and have not only survived — but thrived — through life’s challenges. Due to this reality, I have the ability to connect with voters on any level. I can meet the voter where they are at in life regardless of income, past choices, education level, and quickly understand where they might be at and how I can help them. This is exactly what we need in our leaders — the empathy to connect with the citizen at a heart level and the boldness to help move everyone forward in a healthy direction. If one wants to look at accomplishments, then I would point to the Dayton Rodeo. In 2017, I was honored to receive the Top 10 Under 40 Young Professionals Award and here is what I think stood out when people considered me for this. The rodeo is the third largest professional rodeo in the state. I was able to cast a vision and gather support from private, public, and different nonprofit groups to make much needed improvements without having to raise ticket prices significantly. Isn’t this what we desire of government? I will always fight to cast a vision and to gather support from multiple groups while being a good steward of the taxpayer dollar. Lastly and most importantly, voters should vote for me due to my faith. I know who I am in Christ and I do my work for the audience of one — and that’s Him. All glory and honor goes to Him, not me. Due to what I know He has done for me, the least I can do is give my life in service to Him and you.
What is the No. 1 issue facing the state and what would you seek to do about it if elected?
We immediately must raise the standards for education. The solution is simple – school choice. When I say this, people automatically draw battle lines, and when this happens there are two losers: the teachers and the students. At the end of the day, I don’t care what it takes, but the days of union first and students last mindset must come to an end. We must maintain a heart for both. So here is my plan: Lower the class size for K-8 by hiring more teachers and partnering with private school and home school groups. Simple! Lets get the job done! I would also mention that education is also the base of many other issues facing the state I would focus on, including quality of life and economic development in our local communities.
What would you recommend to rejuvenate the economy?
First, raising the standard of education. That is the sustainable long-term approach and is the main part of the solution in solving every issue we face. We must develop more critical thinkers who think for themselves; we must develop a future workforce that understands the value of a hard day’s work and how that benefits not just themselves but society. That includes teaching more classes on how to manage finances better.
Secondly, we must look closely at how to improve the meat industry in our state. The ability to be the heart of the food system here in Iowa is incredible and full of opportunity. In the meat industry specifically, we need to allow for more competition that would provide more value to the farmer as well as the consumer. This pandemic crisis has revealed weaknesses in our economy as they relate to the food supply, and I will fight tirelessly for the future of agriculture which is the backbone of Iowa’s economy.
What would you do to bring jobs to rural Iowa?
The same answer as above.
What changes, if any, would you recommend in response to the coronavirus pandemic?
Do not be so quick to bail out America financially. Life will never be perfect, and historically, when we face times of adversity we tend to come up with new ideas and ways to not only adapt but thrive out of a crisis. The consequences and pain of this out-of-control spending might hurt worse than the short-term pain in the economy of a virus. Also, let’s not forget that when government comes in to save the day with the best of intentions, someone is going to be a winner and a loser. There were many small business owners that didn’t get the treatment that others received. This sadly divides our citizens further and creates future impact even yet to be seen.