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Emmetsburg City Council Candidate Q&A

October 31, 2013
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Candidates for Emmetsburg City Council were given the opportunity to state their views prior to the Nov. 5 election. Each was asked to respond to these questions:

1) What are your overall objectives for the future of the City of Emmetsburg for the next four years?

2) Briefly discuss Emmetsburg's economic development goals. How can these goals be achieved?

3) In your opinion, what are Emmetsburg's strengths??What are your suggestions to build on those strengths?



The Campbell family moved to Emmetsburg in 1971. Brian and Janis have lived year round at 301 Harrison since 1977. We are residents of Ward 1. The City Council position for which I am a candidate is City-Wide at Large.

I am a graduate of the University of South Dakota/Springfield. My career at Iowa Lakes Community College includes over 30 years as Associate Professor of Automotive Technology until retirement. I then returned to Iowa Lakes for over 7 years as Secondary Programs Coordinator which offers college credit classes to high school students.

During these 42 years of residence, I have been involved in a wide variety of community and school activities. We have supported with money and time both academic and extracurricular grade school, middle school and high school activities when our daughter, Kim, attended and now as our grandchildren, BriAna and Phoenix attend. A brief list would include Vocal and Band Boosters, Athletic Boosters, event public address announcer, theatre productions, dance team.

Community involvement has also been a focus of our family. We believe if you are going to live in a community, you have the obligation to give back to the community. Such activities have been Police Reserve officer, Little League coach, Mainstreet Community Theatre, baseball and softball announcer on KEMB-LP, City Council (2 terms), church lay worship leader and Western Iowa Synod Vice-President, Palo Alto County Hospital Emergency Medical Services, etal

I am presently retired and involved in a series of part time activities.

I appreciate the support I have received in my years on the City Council and will continue to represent the people of Emmetsburg in a manner which is best for the future of our city. I would appreciate your continued support.

Question #1: A council person must be constantly diligent to realize that what is best for the City of Emmetsburg and the citizens of Emmetsburg must be a priority over any personal agenda or goals they may hold.

In the next four years I would expect to see the completion and success of the Five Island Community Center. Development of the campground located on North Huron will be an asset to the community and promote tourism and use of Five Island Lake. I would foresee either completion of the lake dredging project as we now know it or expansion of the project with additional Palo Alto County financial participation.

I would expect to see additional economic, social and cultural activities that would involve the entire community from inception, to planning, to implementation through completion. The entire community must be prepared to react when an opportunity presents itself.

Continued updating of infrastructure and streets will provide better services to residents and improve the appearance of Emmetsburg

The overall objective of the council has to be to lay a solid ground work for Emmetsburg to thrive in the future. Several goals are addressed in the following responses also.

Question #2: The economic development goals of Emmetsburg are probably similar to any community regardless of size or economic status. Emmetsburg wants to maintain the economic structure, business and services, which presently call Emmetsburg home and of course to attract new businesses into the community. There are no simple answers to economic development and several books have been written on the subject.

Is it advantageous to use nonprofit gaming money to establish a loan fund to provide financial assistance for expansion to existing businesses or startup of new enterprises? Assistance through grant application and loan acquisition will promote growth and development.

One of the necessities of retaining the economic base presently in Emmetsburg is that the entire population must develop a positive attitude about the community and the businesses. The businesses must be assisted to meet their financial and employee requirements. Expanded cooperation with Iowa Lakes Community College will provide training and retraining opportunities.

Emmetsburg needs to tell its story and make industries aware of the advantages of our community. Every community has buildings and land available. Businesses are looking for more than buildings and land. So what makes Emmetsburg unique? We have a work ethic to be successful and produce a quality product or service. We can have a positive attitude by the entire population. They are looking for a quality of life. Emmetsburg has an exceptional educational system, cultural and entertainment activities, and outdoor activities of hunting, fishing and water recreation.

I would advocate for and support that a special committee is formed and a multimedia presentation is developed that can be taken to economic development conferences and other interested groups to promote the community. I also would encourage that teams with members from across the community be formed to meet face to face with prospective business leaders to expose them to the virtues of Emmetsburg.

Question #3: As I have stated in previous responses, Emmetsburg has a number of strong resources. The key is for all of them to work toward common goals.

The workforce of the area has a strong work ethic and the ability to produce a quality product and service. Prospective employers need to be made aware of this asset. It is time to think outside the box.

The educational opportunities available locally through the K-12 system, Iowa Lakes Community College and Buena Vista University allow potential employees to train or retrain to gain the knowledge and technical skills necessary to become valuable employees. These schools expose students and their families to Emmetsburg and provide Emmetsburg with an opportunity to showcase the advantages of working and living in this area and possibly persuade them to stay and raise their families.

Emmetsburg has a senior population with a wealth of business and personal experiences. Is it possible to create a system of mentoring for this "school of hard knocks" knowledge to be shared with the next generation?

There is a solid and expanding business base in the Emmetsburg area. Of course it is possible for each to experience growth. Is it possible to create spin off businesses that would open an entirely new aspect of employment?

Emmetsburg has made strides toward becoming a viable site for relocation and creation of businesses. Now is not the time to rest on past achievements but to increase the focus of exposing prospective employers and residents to the Emmetsburg we all know; "A great place to live."



Pete Hamilton, 2303 4th Street

Emmetsburg, Iowa

1st Ward

Retired business owner


EHS Class of 1963

Emmetsburg Junior College 1965

Mankato State, Biology and Chemistry, 1967

Northwest Missouri State, Masters Secondary Administration, 1973

Work Experience:

High School Biology and Chemistry teacher 1967-1973

High School Principal 1973-1976

Insurance Sales 1976-1988

President and CEO, Hamilton Consultants. Inc. 1988-2008

Served on Bridgewood Park Homeowners Association Board


Wife, Nancy Currans Hamilton

Adult Children: Heather, Matt, and Molly

My overall objectives for Emmetsburg are:

*To help develop open communication and greater trust between the City Council and the residents and business owners of Emmetsburg. For example, an easy to understand financial statement of all Casino money collected by Emmetsburg should be provided to the residents.

*To ensure that the City Council spends within its means in order to keep property taxes at an affordable level.

*To provide a fair and open evaluation process of our management team.

*To fully review the way our city finances street repairs, including the street assessment process.

*To encourage more residents to get involved andcommunicate their concerns at city council meetings.

*To work with the DNR, County Supervisors, citizens of Emmetsburg, and area farmers to make sure the quality of our lake improves. A DNR Biologist recently stated that the quality of our lake is moving in the wrong direction and has been for the past several years.

Our economic goals and Emmetsburg's strengths are so closely related that I will include both in this answer.

Our first goal for economic development should be to get everyone pulling in the same direction. We need to be working with Palo Alto County economic development, our local school system, the Community College, and the business community to develop a coordinated economic plan to attract more small businesses to the area.

Economic development also means attracting people to our city. One target group would be the newly retired individuals looking for the quality of life Emmetsburg can provide. When Nancy and I decided to retire we considered the following as strong points in choosing Emmetsburg:

*A good medical facility including established long term care providers

*An excellent wellness center

*Recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, golfing, and biking

*A community college and public library to enhance lifelong learning

Another important target group would be young people with family's looking for a community with the following strengths:

*A strong education program with modern facilities

*An opportunity for their older children to receive free college credits while attending Emmetsburg High School, saving thousands of dollars in college costs

*A safe environment and recreational opportunities for their children

*High quality job training in the Community College

*Affordable housing suited for young growing families using incentives and creative financing options

*Good paying jobs created by the private sector

In trying to answer these questions I visited with several businesses in Emmetsburg as well as some of our real estate brokers. Some of the insights from these people are:

1. Our property taxes are too high and tend to discourage some potential home buyers.

2. Even though jobs have been created many of the workers do not live in Emmetsburg.

3. Affordable housing is a real issue.

4. Several people felt that a more cooperative attitude between the city, county and business owners would be helpful in creating greater economic development.

5. The number one question from the city leaders should be: How can we help your business grow and create more jobs?

In conclusion, I would like to thank the newspaper for providing this platform to express my views and opinions.

I would appreciate your support on November 5th!



Alden (Mike) Hermansen

Emmetsburg Ward 1

High School: Emmetsburg High School, Class of 1964

College: College of Emporia, BS Elementary Education 1973

Military: U.S. Air Force, 366 Tactical Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB, NM

Family: Wife, Pam; Daughter, Christy; Sons, Adam and Daniel

Question #1: My overall objectives for the City during the next four years:

Promote and support work in process

Involve more young professionals in business recruitment

Communicate more clearly with the citizens of Emmetsburg

Promote more visible financial details to the citizens

Listen to the citizens concerns and provide answers as expeditiously as possible

Investigate the possibility of land acquisition to make available to contractors to purchase for single family home building.

Question #2: Economic Development goals:

Understanding what type of industry and how large that industry is must be considered for Emmetsburg. It makes no sense to spend for something we cannot support with either infrastructure or employee popu- lation. The recruitment of smaller businesses, (30 to 75 employees) seems more reasonable to me. We are the beneficiarys of forward thinking former Councils and business leaders that give us such fantastic facilities such as the medical facilities and professionals that serve there, the Community College, Wellness Center, solid financial institutions and political leaders that support the city with both intellect and funding. All of this makes for a fine business environment in Emmetsburg and needs to be communicated to prospects. One person cannot normally drive a campaign for industry. It has to be a community comittment to entice business into a rural setting and I think we have a willing and able community with the resources to do it.

Question #3: Emmetsburg strengths and weaknesses:

Some of the strengths have been mentioned above but many more can be highlighted such as our school system which has remarkable facilities, students and teaching professionals.

Our recreational facilities, parks, ball fields, camp grounds, walking/bike trail, Five Island Lake, Wild Rose Casino, gaming non-profit grants and the list goes on. We also have a wealth of knowledge available from our "seniors", many of them of which serve as volunteers or tutors for young business'. All of this has come about because of a cooperation and willingness of the citizens to support and be involved in making Emmetsburg all that she can be. This attitude will continue to enhance the town for future generations.



Brian Malm

1108 Palmer Street

Emmetsburg, IA 50536

Ward 3

Occupation: Propane Sales and Marketing

Family: wife Amy, children Haily (17), Hannah (13), Heidi (11), Matthew (6)

Question #1: To help make decisions that enable Emmetsburg to be a place where my children can choose to live and raise their families as I have been able to do.

Question #2: Economic development is contingent to staying pace with technology. I believe a state of the art telecommunications system would be a huge step in the process toward Emmetsburg's economic development.

Question #3: Its citizens and a sense of community. groups, such as FUEL, that take an active role in the community, not only help with important projects in the community, but also help determine which projects are important. I would encourage everyone to participate in the community, whether it is running for office, joining a committee or board, sharing your opinions at coffee, or even simply by voting.



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