By MATT MILNER
Courier staff writer
---- — BLOOMFIELD — With this year's elections just around the corner, it's early to announce a candidacy for next year's contests.
The way Steve Siegel figures it, that's a good thing. He announced his candidacy Tuesday as a Democrat running for the Iowa Senate's 41st District. He believes it's going to be a hard race.
The district encompasses approximately the eastern half of Wapello County and the western half of Jefferson County, including Ottumwa and Fairfield, and all of Davis and Van Buren counties. Siegel kicked off his campaign with stops in Bloomfield, Keosauqua, Fairfield and Ottumwa. He told audiences he is “a doer, not a grandstander.”
A Democrat represented the district until the last elections, when Mark Chelgren, a Republican, upset incumbent Keith Kreiman. Siegel hopes the voters are in the mood for another change in 2014.
“This is about the policies that affect everyday Iowans,” he said. “I think the incumbent senator does not reflect the views of the district.”
As a county supervisor for the past 17 years, Siegel sees a disconnect between how legislators enact policy and how it plays out for local governments. Mental health policy is an issue that plays to Siegel's 20 years as a social worker.
Iowa counties funded mental health services at different levels, but the state decided they had to band together in groups. But if the funding is different within the groupings, the residents of better-funded counties wind up subsidizing the counties with lower tax levies.
“I really tried to get that point across,” Siegel said. “It just seemed to fall on deaf ears. Maybe this is a way we can get it across.”
The election will be Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. If there is a primary, it will take place June 3, 2014.