Bomgaars, Hess set to debate Nov. 1
It's been 13 months since the two candidates announced plays to seek the opportunity to represent the newly formed Iowa House District 2.
Spencer High School teacher Steve Bomgaars (D-Spencer), who received no challenge in the primary election, will face Megan Hess (R-Spencer), who won her primary race against Josh Davenport, in the Tuesday, Nov. 6 general election.
Before the two face off on the ballot, however, they will face one another in a live debate Thursday, Nov. 1, in council chambers at Spencer City Hall.
The debate is scheduled for an hour, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Council chambers will open for seating a half-hour before the debate.
Representatives from the area's print and radio media will serve on the media panel, asking each candidate questions. Questions may be submitted by audience members to the moderator. All questions must be formatted for each candidate to answer.
Following a statewide redistricting process, House District 2 will include all of Clay and Palo Alto counties, as well as southern Dickinson County, when the new state governing body is sworn in.
"After serving over seven years on the city council, I have seen what can be accomplished when leaders and the community come together," Bomgaars said. "We need a similar approach to state government -- moving forward by finding common ground and steering away from the divisive rhetoric so prevalent today. I want to represent the concerns of all the people of northwest Iowa, not just special interests ..."
Hess, a 2005 Spencer High School graduate, has experience in Congress, the Iowa Statehouse and the White House. She began working as a page at the Iowa Legislature in 2005. From there Hess has gone on to serve in Washington D.C., working in the White House for the Office of Public Liaison, and Office of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs. She also spent time working with Iowa lawmakers Sen. Charles Grassley and Rep. Steve King. While in law school, she worked for the House research staff in the Minnesota legislature.
Bomgaars has taught Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics, American Government and U.S. History at SHS for more than 30 years.
"I have always encouraged my students to actively participate in citizenship," Bomgaars said. "An important part of learning about American government is not just seeing problems, but working toward solutions."
In addition to teaching, Bomgaars has coached SHS boys golf and led Spencer to nine state tournament appearances, including three runner-up finishes. He is also a member of the Spencer School Foundation Board of Directors and a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
"The state of Iowa faces challenges in the near future," Bomgaars said. "We need state leaders who will work to find practical solutions and take advantage of the many opportunities Iowa holds for our children and grandchildren. Our focus must be on creating a positive climate for economic development with good paying jobs, supporting our strong agricultural economy and on improving our educational system so our children are prepared for the future."
Hess, a former student of Bomgaars while attending Spencer High School, said she expects a civil campaign as the two approach the election.
"All politics is local. You usually know your opponent pretty well. It just so happens, he happened to be my teacher," Hess said.
Hess cited jobs and the economy as a top priority of hers.
"Nearly every weekend during law school I would cross the border into Iowa and see the sign that says 'Fields of Opportunity.' It is my fear that those opportunities are not available for a lot of people -- of any age.
"To bring people here we need to address the problems in housing, education, economic development and couple it with lower taxes, less regulation and less government," Hess explained. "I have been talking to local business owners to figure out what it would take for them to hire one more employee. I will take a grassroots effort of economic development to Des Moines and show the state and nation that northwest Iowa has its doors open to business."
Hess sees her previous experience as a strong point.
"Being a clerk and a page, I was really exposed to the processes and inner workings. ... I know the people. I know the process. I'm ready to work the first day. I'm ready to get things done."
Hess said that everything fell into place for her to make a run at this time.
"I've always been interested in the state happenings in the legislature.It just kind of fell together. I got a job here and the district opened up, it was just right."