We need a new candidate in Iowa House district 14

This bad news comes to you courtesy of the Mason City Globe-Gazette: State Representative Mark Kuhn will retire from the Iowa House next year to seek a seat on the Floyd County Board of Supervisors. He served on that board for six years before being elected to represent House district 14 in 1998. He told the Globe-Gazette that he will serve out his current term but wants to be closer to his family.

He said some of the highlights of his legislative career include:

– In his first term, securing an $800,000 interest-free loan for Floyd County and Charles City for Iowa’s first shared (with the DOT) transportation maintenance facility, located in Charles City.

– Authoring a bill banning the gasoline additive MTBE, believed to be a cancer-causing agent.

– Increasing markets for ethanol.

– Working to make the State Capitol building safer for persons with disabilities.

– Securing a $500,000 I-JOBS grant to repair the flood-damaged Charles City Fire Station and for infrastructure projects in Rudd, Rockford, Marble Rock and Nora Springs.

Kuhn currently chairs the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. He is a farmer and strong supporter of agricultural zoning at the county level, also known as “local control” over confined-animal feeding operations (CAFOs). I had hoped that one day he might chair the Iowa House Agriculture Committee, and I’m sorry to hear of his retirement.

District 14 (map in pdf file) contains all of Floyd and Mitchell Counties, plus part of Cerro Gordo County. Bleeding Heartland readers familiar with north-central Iowa, which Democrats should run to replace Kuhn? According to the Globe-Gazette, one Republican candidate has already declared in this district: Josh Byrnes, the agricultural and industrial technology division chairman at North Iowa Area Community College. In the 2008 election, Kuhn won just under 71 percent of the vote against Jeff Mosiman.

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