MASON CITY — A Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” last month showed 47% of Iowans said they disapprove of the job Governor Reynolds has done to address the coronavirus pandemic, and the three candidates running for the Iowa House District 54 seat agree that some things could have been done differently.
Bennett Smith, who is running as an independent from Clear Lake, says he wished the governor would have mandated the protocols necessary to contain the spread of the virus. “This issue of a mask mandate is a small sacrifice that all of us can make in situations where it’s really needed, and obviously where it’s not needed, we don’t have to wear it. I think mandating those protocols would have been crucial because then you don’t have to close down the economy, and you can also sustain the economy recovery, you can save lives and jobs by doing that.”
Democrat Karen Koenig of Hampton says more local control needs to be allowed to address the pandemic. “I also believe that we also need more local control when it comes to schools. The option at schools not being forced to go face-to-face, to be able to receive funding is not correct. We need to make sure that is something that local control is available.”
Republican Shannon Latham of Sheffield says business owners need more say in how they are going to conduct business during a pandemic. “As a business owner, I know we continue to change our protocols, we continue to look to the CDC and guidelines to see what we need to do in our business, but I also believe that we need to allow people and businesses to operate as they are comfortable with. I’m glad to see that our small businesses are opening, it’s so important for our economy to have strong, small businesses. I guess that I just would welcome the opportunity to work on some recovery issues.”
The three candidates are running for the House District 54 seat that covers the western third of Cerro Gordo County, all of Franklin County and the northern and western portions of Butler County.
The candidates made their comments during a legislative candidate debate program on AM-1300 broadcast on Thursday morning. If you missed the program, you can view it via the YouTube video on this page