Three seek FD Ward 1 seat


Three candidates are running for the Ward 1 Fort Dodge City Council seat.

Incumbent councilman Mark Taylor, and new candidates Terry Moehnke and Eugene Newsome will appear at a forum tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Light of the City Conference Center, 2175 180th St. north of Fort Dodge.

An Oct. 8 primary will reduce the field from three candidates to two.

The general election is Nov. 5.

Each candidate was asked the same questions; here are their responses.

Terry Moehnke

222 Crestview Drive

Age: 61

Professional experience: Practicing optometrist. Served in the U.S. Navy, based at Naval Submarine Medical Center, Groton, Conn.

Community or volunteer experience: Served on the Animal Shelter, Red Cross and Hospice boards, Capital Campaign Committee for Baber Hospice House, Past Gold Coat President-Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma, Past District Governor West Iowa Sertoma, Past District Governor of Iowa Sertoma, founder and chairperson Veterans Memorial Park, and founder and chairperson Backpack Buddies.

Why are you seeking the City Council seat?

“I have served the people of Fort Dodge in my many volunteer projects throughout the years. I have often thought about the possibility of serving on the City Council as a way to give more. For me in my personal life that time in now. I believe with my community experience I can represent the hardworking people of my ward with respect, a willingness to listen, making decisions based on the facts, and an eye on the tax dollar.”

What do you see as the top priority or priorities for the council in the upcoming term?

“Jobs are always going to be an issue in this area until we are able to quit exporting our most precious resources, our children.

Economic growth will lead to more businesses coming to the community and we need to encourage their employees to make their homes here. I applaud the progress we have seen as a community over the last few years, but I also believe that more work is ahead.

The challenge to continue our progress lies with the leadership of those who hold office in our city. I want to bring respect and cause back to my ward. Priorities of our city are decided upon by the citizens with input and dialogue and I believe, from the mayor on down, that dialogue has not been taking place.

I would make my top priority communication. In order for our citizens to support our city’s priorities they need to know and understand the reasons our council chooses to do something. I think that is a current weakness.”

Eugene Melvin Newsome

18 N. Third St.

Age: 71

Professional experience: Trained as a bridge carpenter; was always a union worker who worked on bridges and highways. U.S. Army veteran, 173rd Airborne brigade, Okinawa. After retirement, worked as a custodian at Iowa Central Community College.

Community or volunteer experience: Has served on the Cable TV Commission, the 2030 Planning Committee that was going to do the crosstown connector, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Commission, the Fort Dodge Human Rights Commission, and is a member of Harry C. Merriwether Masonic Lodge 46.

Why are you seeking the City Council seat?

“I want to help Fort Dodge catch up. We’ve been behind for so long with infrastructure, and attracting new businesses. Now that things are picking up, I want to help continue that effort.

“I want to represent the Pleasant Valley area. That’s why I never moved out of Ward 1. Pleasant Valley has been having a lot of problems, and nobody seemed to have a solution. But I have a solution for it. … I guarantee if they elect me in Ward 1, myself and the people in Pleasant Valley know the solution to make it a pleasant place to live.”

What do you see as the top priority or priorities for the council in the upcoming term?

“One of the top priorities is to get that crosstown connector situation straightened out, and quit stalling on it.

“Four years ago, when I ran for an at-large seat, I said we should make a massive assault on the streets and roads, and they did nothing. Now in the last few years they’re trying to get something done.

“We also need to watch the budget. … We don’t want to end up like Detroit.

Pleasant Valley and the Coleman District that connects to Pleasant Valley, they’re like the whole tea party over again – taxation without representation. … I want to represent the whole ward, not just two sections of it.”

Mark Taylor

100 Fifth St. N.W.

Age: 54

Professional experience: Enlisted in the U.S. Army Combat Arms in 1984, earned Special Operations Identifier, graduated No. 1 in his class from the Warrant Officer Candidate School. Over 24 years developing near-term and long-range strategic plans, managing personnel, budgets and programs, evaluating situations and making decisions. Chief Warrant Officer Four (retired), US. Army Intelligence Technician.

Why are you running for re-election?

“I am running for re-election because citizens have many concerns that require action. My mantra is, ‘Quality of life for all.'”

What do you see as the top priority or priorities for the council in the upcoming term?

“I will not spend the taxpayers’ money without first prioritizing the necessity. I am working to reduce the city’s property tax, as it is the highest rate in the area.

“Ward 1 needs and deserves retail and housing development along the river and west corridors, from Iowa Central to Starlight and the ag park. Supporting the ag park expansion and westward growth of the city are linked.

“Fort Dodge streets are a priority. The Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST), $3.6 million a year, can and should fix a lot of roads. Fifth Avenue South is an example of poor design (cobblestones), quality (rough road) and expensive. I am holding planners and contractors accountable for projects. School closings cause redistribution of population and wealth. I am coordinating better dialogue between the City Council and school board.

“I support the Freedom Rock and its prominent placement on Westside.

“I support keeping the big dam and making the river a water destination.”