League of Women Voters hosts forum

By Joel Kraushaar

On Tuesday, September 20 the League of Women Voters of Muscatine County held a public forum for the candidates who are running for Muscatine County Sheriff and Muscatine County Board of Supervisors. The public submitted questions to moderator Sue Johannsen and the candidates fielded questions.

Republican incumbent Sheriff CJ Ryan and current Muscatine County Sheriff Deputy and Democratic candidate Michael Channon discussed their plans. In Channon’s opening statements he outlined two areas of concern. Channon stated that “body cameras are a must for our officers. They protect the public and they protect law enforcement.” Channon also called for improved security measures being installed in the Muscatine County Courthouse. “We need to invest in some sort of metal detectors. Whether installing a permanent system or wand metal detectors, we need to install something.” Ryan pointed out that in his time as sheriff, the budget has been balanced and revenue has increased. “By housing federal prisoners, we earned over two million dollars in revenue last year,” Ryan said.

Channon and Ryan discussed the body camera issue. Channon stated, “We were allowed to purchase our own body cameras and wear them, but in October we were instructed that we could no longer wear them.” Ryan explained, “We were instructed to discontinue the use of body cameras by the county attorney because no county policy is in place.” Ryan said, “Body cameras are a part of the budget proposal for $90,000 dollars that includes new HD quality car video systems and body cameras.”

The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors took the forum next. Republican candidate Scott Sauer and Democratic candidate Nathan Reichert are running for district five, while Nathan Mather and Kas Kelly are vying for the district four seats. Questions about managing and maintaining the county’s bridges and roads were asked. Kelly stated, “Everyone is okay with closing roads and bridges in the county unless it’s their road or bridge.” Mather said, “There times in government where the squeakiest wheel gets the grease. Our job is to make sure the right wheel is getting the grease.”

The public asked for the candidates’ qualifications for evaluating the budget. Sauer responded, “I have decades of experience budgeting for my private business. We ran a successful outdoors business and now a storage business.” Reichert said, “I have six years of experience with the Iowa legislature where I successfully managed budgets. And I have an understanding of how everything ties together.”  Mather pointed to running a private business. “I know what it means to have to make a payroll.” Kelly said, “Every year I have been a part of operating this county with a balanced budget.”

The election for Sheriff and the County Board of Supervisors will take place on November 8, 2016.