By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Democrat Tom Rubel will challenge Steve Siegel to decide who takes on Republican Mark Chelgren for the Iowa Senate, District 41.
Rubel, a past superintendent of the Ottumwa school district, is executive dean of regional economic advancement at Indian Hills Community College.
“My experience working with our local economic developers has taught me that while it is important to continue to try and recruit businesses to our area, it is even more important to grow our own," Rubel said. "This means supporting existing businesses and assisting new entrepreneurs."
He said as an experienced leader, he can advocate for this part of Iowa while he's in Des Moines. There are already good things happening here, he said.
“I want to continue providing support for these initiatives as your state senator. [And] I want to make sure that southern Iowans get the same amount of consideration as citizens in metro areas."
Rubel said like other Iowans, he's tired of the "us-versus-them" mentality in politics. Working like that, very little gets done, he said.
"I've developed a pretty deep understanding of bringing people together to solve problems," he said. "Decent people who come together to do good for their community can get things done. Sometimes we just sit back and let things happen. Those days are over. We need to take action and include as many people as we can [to sustain] a great place to live and work.”
Rubel and his wife Pam have five grown children and six grandchildren. He is a graduate of North Iowa Community College, Yankton College and Northwest Missouri State University. He is on the board of the Ottumwa Area Economic Development Corporation, as well as the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation Leadership Advisory.
The new District 41 covers all of Davis and Van Buren counties; part of Wapello County, including Ottumwa; and part of Jefferson County, including Fairfield.
— To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark