Retired county worker wants to run for Jasper County supervisor again
March 19 – Pam Olson originally ran for a seat on the Jasper County Board of Supervisors in 2018 when she was still the county’s assistant engineer, but now that she is retired she feels more confident to speak out and is campaigning for a place on the board again.
“Last time, I didn’t want to walk away from my desk. I wanted to be, I guess, cautious, politically correct — that sort of thing,” Olson told Newton News in a March 16 interview. “There were some things going on that I might not agree with, but that I wasn’t free to comment on at the time.”
But now Olson can speak freely.
Olson disagrees with the current supervisors’ policy and said the three-person council feels one-sided, as if “one person makes the decisions and the others just follow.” Jasper County is made up of nearly equal parts independents, Democrats and Republicans, she said.
“As an elected official, you have to listen to everyone,” she said. “You run under one party, but when you’re an elected official, you represent all the people. And I think if you form committees and do that kind of stuff, that should be taken into account. You want to represent everyone . , not just maybe a section.”
Although Olson criticized the board for being biased, she also praised the two remaining members for the recent decision to reappoint conservation board member Carol Kramer. Supervisors Denny Carpenter and Doug Cupples voted to keep Kramer. Supervisor Brandon Talsma voted against.
“They should listen to a department head or someone who deals with this type of committee,” Olson said. “For me, when they got the applications, those applications should have gone to the curator…and then brought them back to the supervisors and said, ‘That’s the one I recommend. “”
Olson retired from Jasper County after 41 years. She has lived in the county for 43 years and has participated in the Maytag-sponsored Junior Achievement Team, the Newton Branch of the American Business Women’s Association, and was a certified CPR and First Aid Instructor with the Red Cross.
She has also worked with Share Iowa to encourage volunteer work in communities. While working for the county, she was one of the first employees to vote to bring the PPME union to Jasper County and served as a shop steward. Within the department, she worked with various engineers and prepared budgets.
Olson said over time she also saw what worked in the county and what didn’t. She praised the county for actively trying to improve infrastructure. However, she thinks some council decisions are questionable, especially when it comes to county buildings.
“The purchase of this (administrative) building surprised me somewhat. And if my memory serves me correctly, the shop in which these guys work in the secondary roads department is structurally deficient and should have been replaced a long time ago” , Olson said. .
If elected, Olson said she would address each decision while speaking to the public. Board action may affect them, she said. Another thing Olson worries about is that property taxes will be affected by the Governor’s flat income tax; she is especially concerned about people who don’t make as much money.
“(They) don’t get as big of a cut in their income tax, but could get a very big increase in property tax, and that concerns me,” Olson said. “How will the citizens of Jasper County handle this if this happens?”
Olson said what motivates her to campaign again is her desire to make sure everyone in the county is heard.
“To make sure everyone knows their voice matters,” she said. “It doesn’t matter which party you belong to when an individual is elected. They serve everyone. And I just want to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]