County elections feature contested races for supervisor, recorder seats

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Next week's election could lead to a change of faces in the Dickinson County Courthouse. Three supervisor seats are up for grabs, with District 1 being vied for by Republican William Leupold. Mike Koppert is challenging Mardi Allen for her District 2 position. Paul Johnson is unopposed in District 4. Jason Carlstrom secured an unopposed Republican county attorney bid after beating contender Melanie Summers Bauler during primary elections. Carlstrom seeks to take the place of Rosalise Olsen, who is not seeking another term in the position.

County Recorder Jan Bortscheller is seeking another term while being contested by two nominees by petition, Republican Lezlie Boetel, a sourcing agent for Pure Fishing, and Independent Sue Reiter, a former deputy recorder seeking to return to the county office.


Position of candidacy: Dickinson County Supervisor District 1

Name: William (Bill) Leupold

Party Affiliation: Republican

Leupold secured the District 1 nomination against opponents Kenneth Eckerman, Robert Cosens and Gilbert Zahren during the primary elections.

Currently a lead instructor at Estherville's Laker Alternative High School, Leupold's civic involvement had included board positions with Farm Bureau, the Superior Co-Op, Spirit Lake Community School District Board, and as Dickinson County Republicans convention chair.

Leupold notes the "protection of our lakes from invasive species, the unemployment in our county, the pattern of growth in our county, a balance between rural and urban needs, and a continuing look at sharing services between cities and counties" as the main reasons behind his decision to run for a spot on the board.

"While serving on the numerous boards I've been associated with, I have always listened to my constituents," Leupold said. "Whether a constituent agreed or disagreed with my position, I would listen and factor that constituents' opinion in my final decision. Besides, there is a reason I have spent all but six years of my life in Dickinson County (I came back summers), and that is my deep appreciation of the many things this county offers, and I don't want to see them harmed."


Position of candidacy: Dickinson County Supervisor District 2

Name: Mike Koppert

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Koppert, a Vietnam veteran and longtime lake shore dock carpenter, is challenging current incumbent Mardi Allen for the District 2 position. Koppert has served as the Abbie Gardner State Site Manager for 22 years and on the Arnolds Park City Council for 13 years.

He cites "the confidence gap that exists between the constituents and their elected representative" as the main motivation behind his candidacy.

"I know tax money is very important, but I also know that life is a precious gift worth more than money," Koppert said.

Name: Mardi J. Allen

Party Affiliation: Republican

Allen currently holds the District 2 seat, and has been retired from a 20-year career as a director and vice president of profit centers for Communication Data Services. Allen marks budget management among her most significant accomplishments while serving as a supervisor, and cites an annual presentation compiled with the assistance of the auditor's office as one way she helps analyze the way the Board utilizes funds and allocates funding.

"I am concerned about the rising costs at the county," Allen said. "At the end of this year's presentation, I listed ten things that I would like to work on with a study committee of county employees and/or residents. The list includes state funding reductions, union negotiations, health insurance costs, county recycling costs, county workweek and hours, county donations to non-county organizations, communication center costs, general services costs including utilities, and rural services costs."


Position of candidacy: Dickinson County Supervisor District 4

Name: Paul C. Johnson

Party Affiliation: Republican

While officially retired from his career as a chemist, engineer, technical manager, and vice president for a fishing tackle manufacturer, Johnson still completes occasional freelance technical consulting work.

Johnson marks the "construction of the new courthouse and its completion under budget, resolution of Lower Gar problems, adoption of ordinances for wind generation and highway signage and (the) transformation of a County Board of Supervisors that makes decisions and takes action in a factual, business-like manner" as his most noteworthy accomplishments as a supervisor so far.

Still, Johnson notes "the environment, water quality, Lower Gar Outlet, integrity of government and preservation of ... natural resources ... in Dickinson County" among the most pertinent issues to voters in his district.

If re-elected, Johnson plans to keep these issues in mind.

"I will continue to serve as an environmental watchdog with heavy emphasis on water quality," Johnson said. "Attention will be directed towards a New Careers Center that provides technical training and new employment opportunities."


Name: Kris Rowley

Party Affiliation: Republican

Running unopposed for the County Treasurer position is Kris Rowley, who has been in the position since Jan. 1, 2007. Prior to being elected, Rowley served as the Victim Witness Coordinator, "helping victims of crime with resources and assistance through the court system."

Among her most noteworthy accomplishments during her treasurer tenure so far, Rowley says has been, "automating the office," updating software in property tax programs, expanding drivers license issuance days to five per week and offering a passport photo service.

Rowley says she plans to continue to add automated momentum while being watchful of the economic climate, if offered another term.

"I plan to continue to maximize interest for our county investments," Rowley said. "I bidded out the county business two years ago and this resulted in good positioning for our county just before the economy took the hit. I plan to continue working with area banks in this manner."

"I've also focused on providing help to disadvantaged citizens by getting them identified and hooked up to state credit programs and other resources," Rowley added. "I try very hard to give people information on options."


Name: Jan Bortscheller

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Current County Recorder Jan Bortscheller comes to the end of her current term with 18 years of experience in the position -- and two opponents by petition challenging her spot.

Prior to her time in the office, Bortscheller spent three years as deputy recorder and has a legal background with work in offices across Iowa and the Lakes area including Abstract Guaranty Company in Council Bluffs, and the law offices of Larry A. Stoller and David C. Larson (now Judge Larson).

Bortscheller marks "meeting the people and being able to help them with their legal documents, vital records (births, deaths and marriages), boat, ATV and snow registrations, passports and (having) them leave the office feeling at ease that whatever they have brought to us" as the most enjoyable aspects of her current position.

She also has goals if re-elected.

"My top priority will be as it has been in the past -- to have the office run according to the laws of Iowa with integrity and efficiency with the staff that I have," Bortscheller said.

Name: Susan Reiter

Party: Independent -- Nomination by petition

Reiter is not new to the recorder's office. She began working in the office in 1989 and was appointed deputy recorder in June of 1993.

Reiter's other career history, which she describes as "bookkeeping, management and real estate" includes stints as the manager, operator and owner of Waseca Glass and Mirror and Manager of Westside Marina in Storm Lake.

She says her top priorities if elected will be to do her best to "work for all of Dickinson County residents for they are the ones that pay the wages of the county employees."

Reiter also notes that she is ready to accept the challenges that come with the work in the recorder's office again.

"I loved the challenges of learning new jobs assigned to our office," Reiter said. "For instance, when we got the passports and vitals. I also have a fondness for public relations, which I feel is very important."

Name: Lezlie Boetel

Party: Republican -- Nomination by petition

Currently a sourcing agent for Pure Fishing, Boetel previously held a five-year position as a paralegal for the company. She has also assisted attorneys in the Iowa Great Lakes and in Des Moines, focusing on "real estate and contracts."

Boetel notes the importance of a legal background at the helm of the recorder position to "understand the transactions taking place in the courthouse." She views the recorder spot as a "great opportunity to work with Dickinson County government at a unique level."

"My top priorities when elected will be to continue to add information and forms and applications to the Dickinson County Recorder's website," Boetel added. "I would encourage Dickinson County citizens to utilize the website to expedite their Recorder's Office experience ... When elected I am willing to take suggestions from our community to increase the level of customer service each of you receive while in our office."


Name: Jason Carlstrom

Party Affiliation: Republican

Spirit Lake-based private practice attorney Jason Carlstrom defeated current assistant county attorney Melanie Summers Bauler in the Republican race for the County Attorney nod, currently held by Rosalise Olsen, who is not seeking another term. Carlstrom, a 2005 Drake Law school graduate and former pilot, opened Carlstrom Law Office in January of 2007 and says his work places an emphasis on criminal and juvenile law, as well as additional divorce and bankruptcy work.

He notes that the County Attorney position will provide him with the ideal opportunity to combine his views on effectual government with his passion for the community where he lives.

"I am running for the position of County Attorney because I have a strong desire to serve my community and it is the best way I can do that," Carlstrom said. "The county mixes rural ag production with a thriving tourism industry and some of the most valuable real estate in the State of Iowa. Dickinson County is, of course, a central concern and player in various important conservation issues and discussions that need to remain on the forefront of people's minds as well."


* Polls will open in all precincts in the county from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2

* Any voter who is physically unable to enter a polling place has the right to vote in the voter's vehicle. For further information call the auditor's office at (712) 336-3356 or e-mail

* Voting Precincts and Polling Places:

Center Grove Township No. 1 -- Okoboji City Hall

Center Grove Township No. 2 -- Arnolds Park City Hall

Lakeville-Excelsior Township -- Mahan Hall (Iowa Lakeside Laboratory)

Lloyd Township -- Terril Memorial Building

Milford-Okoboji Westport Township -- Milford Community Building

Richland/Superior-Spirit Lake East Township -- Superior Municipal Building

Silver Lake Township -- Lake Park Community Center

Spirit Lake City North -- Dickinson County Community Building, West Room

Spirit Lake City South -- Dickinson County Community Building, East Room

Spirit Lake West-Diamond Township -- Dickinson County Expo Center

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: