To the editor:
With two fine candidates running for the Democratic nomination for State Senate District 41, voters get to choose between a populist (Mary Stewart) and a conventional politician (Ed Malloy).
Their backgrounds and careers speak clearly about their different viewpoints towards the role of state government in supporting people, farms and businesses.
Mary Stewart grew up in southern Iowa. Raised in a family ?of modest means? by a single mom, she had to make her own way in the world, working 33 years at Indian Hills Community College, where she rose from administrator to Director of Academic Services.
At IHCC, Mary directed programs to train or retrain Iowans in 10 counties for the new tech economy. These programs continue to serve people spanning the full range of abilities and ages.
Ed Malloy grew up in New York. His father was a policeman. He ran a child care program and a Big Brothers/Big Sisters center before shifting to natural food sales and then to an oil brokerage. He is in his ninth term as Mayor of Fairfield.
Mary maintains a deep connection with her roots, the working people of southern Iowa. Her administrative experience at IHCC taught her how to create and deliver practical programs directly to the people they serve. Mary?s approach to economic development is to work with corporations to identify job skillsthey need and with workers to develop those skills.
Ed works collaboratively with local businesses and other stakeholders to secure funding for projects that benefit the community. He speaks of state facilitated development of entrepreneurial centers and investor networks to stimulate rural cities and counties. He has a record in Fairfield of bringing in grant money for renovation and development of the city, with emphasis on sustainability.
Mary supports job training, affordable and accessible healthcare, raising the minimum wage to a livable wage and preservation of the environment. She sees government?s role as facilitating economic wellbeing through common sense policies and programs, including state-funded incentives for development of rural communities, farms and businesses.
Ed draws support from local businesses and from residents who appreciate the many projects that have made Fairfield a destination city. His electability against the Republican nominee is based on his success in developing the economy and infrastructure of Fairfield, and on his connections with local and state government officials and agencies.
Mary draws support from the residents of this rural district, many of whom are struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living or reaching to upgrade their skills as the job market evolves. She also finds support amongst small business owners and farmers who face daily challenges to their security and viability.
Both candidates speak of collaboration between businesses and people, and between Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. Both are qualified to represent the 41st District. Mary appears to be well-liked across the range of voters in the district while Ed?s support appears to lie in Jefferson County where he is very well known and appreciated.
The Democratic primary election runs through June 5th.
? David Sands, Fairfield