Sexton to seek Shaw’s House seat

Former state Sen. Mike Sexton is seeking the seat in the Iowa House of Representatives that will be vacated by retiring state Rep. Tom Shaw.

Sexton, a Republican from Rockwell City, was a senator from 1999 to 2002. He is now the president of the Rockwell City-Lytton Board of Education.

”I will work to find ways to make it easier to be an employer in the state, draw new jobs to Iowa and ensure our workers have the skills they need to succeed,” Sexton said Wednesday. ”I will go to Des Moines and fight for our rural communities and Main Street businesses.”

Shaw, R-Laurens, said Tuesday that he will not seek a third term.

Sexton said Shaw’s retirement and the fact that his youngest child will graduate from high school this spring create a ”perfect opportunity” for him to return to state government.

Sexton is seeking the Republican nomination in House District 10, which includes Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties plus western Webster County. He is the only candidate for the Republican nomination so far. No Democrats have entered the race.

The candidate is a farmer who, along with his wife, Becky, also owns two agriculture-related businesses: Twin Lakes Environmental Services and Real Time Ag. He was named the 2013 Neal Smith Entrepreneur of the Year by the Iowa Small Business Development Center for starting Real Time Ag, a software company that makes a program to help farmers stay current with regulatory reporting.

Sexton first ran for the state House of Representatives in 1994. He was defeated by the late Norm Mundie, who was the Democratic incumbent.

In 1998, he ran for the Senate and defeated state Sen. Rod Halvorson, D-Fort Dodge.

He became the chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Commitee.

Sexton was the target of an ethics complaint by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. That group claimed that his chairmanship and his job as an environmental compliance officer for Swine Graphics Enterprises, of Webster City, constituted a conflict of interest. The Senate Ethics Commitee dismissed that complaint in 2002.

He decided not to seek re-election, citing the desire to spend more time with his children who were still in school.

Sexton grew up on a family farm near Rockwell City and graduated from Rockwell City High School. He earned a degree in agricultural management and business from Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville. He and his wife have five children.