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The Exchange, Special Election, Voter ID, 01/17/18


The Exchange 011718  


Coming up on The Exchange, a Republican takes Siouxland’s sixth district house seat after a whirlwind campaign.  That special election also ushered in the first test of Iowa’s voter ID law.

Also, tax reform on the docket for Iowa lawmakers this year.  While some say tax cuts are not what the deficit ridden state needs right now, others disagree.

Also, want lawmakers to continue property tax backfill payments, a local mental health organization wants to expand their facility, and we hear from the Siouxland Public Media Artist of the Month.  That’s coming up after this news.



Welcome to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett. 

Rita DeJong

Republican Jacob Bossman defeated Democrat Rita DeJong 55-to-44 percent in yesterday’s sixth district special election to take the place of Jim Carlin.  Carlin moved on to the state senate last month.  The Woodbury County Auditor’s office says nearly 20 percent of voters came out to vote, which is a big turnout for a special election.  Bossman works for Republican US Senator Charles Grassley and lives in Sioux City.  DeJong is a retired teacher and principle in the Sioux City Community School district.  DeJong had a lot support from the Woodbury County Democratic party and from a national postcard writing campaign that tries to turn red seats blue, or Republican to Democrat.

That election was the first test of Iowa’s new photo voter ID law.  The law requires voters to show a state issued photo identification card when they vote.  It went into effect January first.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate was in Sioux City yesterday to oversee what he calls the “soft rollout” of the voter ID law.  He met with Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill and reporters at the county courthouse yesterday afternoon.  Pate said that the first tryout of the law was going smoothly, with voters bringing their IDs and poll workers being prepared for the change. 

Pate1 :22 

“We’re very excited . . .”

Pate toured the election precincts and said he was impressed with how well prepared Woodbury County was for this election.

Pate2 :26

“Our elections staff I think is doing a great job . . .”

Pate said for most voters using the new voter ID process, it was fairly simple.

Pate3 :32

“Most of them, it’s not anything different . . .”

Pate says this year, counties with have a chance to learn the new system, with what he calls a “Soft rollout.”

Pate4 :38

“it is in a sense . . .”

Pate said the new voter ID law doesn’t seem to be affecting voter turnout.

Pate5 :30

“From what I’ve heard. . .”Pate said this year, it won’t be a problem if voters come to the polls without their ID.

Pate6 :32

“2018 is a soft rollout . . .”

Pate was asked about the need for voter ID to fight voter Fraud.

Pate7 :42

“This was never about that . . .”

Pate added that while it’s not a huge concern in Iowa, voter fraud is always a concern.Pate8 :46

“But I’ve been on the record . . .”

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill worked with Pate throughout the day as the special election was underway.  Gill said there were very few issues with the new voter ID law. 

Gill1 :44

“Some folks say . . ..”

Gill said some in the county had concerns about the costs of recent special elections and others were less than pleased with the short time frame for the campaigns.

Gill2 :42

“IF you’re a supervisor . . .”

Gill said while it was a cold day, the weather didn’t seem to affect turnout.  Nearly 20 percent of registered voters in the sixth district came out to vote in yesterdays’ special election. Jacob Bossman said his understanding is that final election results will be certified by the Secretary of State's Office on Monday, and he could be sworn in as soon as Jan. 23.

You’re listening to The Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media.  I’m Mary Hartnett.  The Iowa legislature began its 2018 session last week.  One of its priorities is tax reform.  Republican governor Kim Reynolds also said she would like to lower personal income taxes.  The Republican led House and Senate agrees, but Democrats fear those cuts may make it harder for the state to balance its budget.

Thomas Sands is the president and CEO of the Iowa Taxpayers Association.  The former statehouse representative says one of the big issues for Iowa is to end the practice of deducting federal taxes from state tax returns.


Thomas Sands Iowa State Taxpayers Association

Tax 12:18



That was Thomas sands the president and CEO of the Iowa Taxpayers Association.   

Music bump

You’re listening to The Exchange on Siouxland Public Media, I’m Mary Hartnett.

Backfill payments for property taxes were approved by the Iowa Legislature in 2013, as part of the largest tax cut in state history.  But now it’s unclear whether they will continue at the same rate Lucas Beenkin of the Iowa State Association of Counties says those payments were a necessary part of property tax cuts.

Lucas Beenken, Iowa State Association of Counties

Backfill 8:30

In: “The backfill . . ..”

Out: “. . . their part of the bargain.”

That was Lucas Beenkin, of the Iowa State Association of Counties. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she can’t commit to maintaining the payments.  

You’re listening to The Exchange, on Siouxland Public Media. I’m Mary Hartnett.  

Mental health advocates have been concerned about the future of services since the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors decided to leave its regional group, Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services.  Now, the Siouxland Mental Health Center has lost out on its first choice of a site to upgrade Friendship House, it’s a home that serves individuals with mental health issues with companionship and chances to explore opportunities.

In April, the Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services Board agreed to pay $675,000 for Siouxland Mental Health to move ahead with plans to move to a more modern building. But the same day, the board postponed formal action.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors later voted to withdraw from Sioux Rivers, effective July 1.  Siouxland Mental Health is now considering legal action. Friendship House manager Kathy Roberts says the biggest problem at the house is that there just isn’t enough space to accommodate everyone who wants to come there.

Kathy Roberts, Friendship House

That was Kathy Roberts, the manager of Friendship House, a center that welcomes people with mental health issues to share friendship and a meal each day.  

Siouxland Public Media Artist of the Month

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