Meet the Candidates 2024: Marshall County Supervisor

Ahead of the June 4 primary vote, the Times-Republican sent questionnaires to all of the candidates in contested races for county, state and federal offices. Today’s feature highlights the three Republicans — Kevin Goodman, Ruth Lycke and Bill Schendel — running for a seat on the Marshall County Board of Supervisors as GOP incumbent Steve Salasek is retiring after serving two terms. No Democrats filed to run for the seat.

Their responses are printed below, and a candidate forum will be held at the Marshalltown Public Library on Thursday, May 30 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

1. What is your personal, professional and educational background, and why have you made the decision to run for Marshall County supervisor?

Kevin Goodman: I graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1980 and continued my education at Iowa State University graduating with a degree in Farm Operations and Management. While at Iowa State, I pitched for the ISU Varsity baseball program lettering all 4 years. I also met my wife, Dana, while attending ISU. After graduating, I returned home to the family cattle feeding and grain farming operation. I have managed a feedlot finishing and row crop farming operation since 1986. My wife, Dana, and I started a private label beef company, Goodman Beef, in 1995, in which we sold 1/4s and halves of beef to families throughout central Iowa. With Goodman Beef, we created and trademarked our Goodman Beef logo. I was also involved with 5 other partners to open an Indoor baseball and softball academy called Game7, in Marshalltown, in February of 2002. Game7 provided a safe environment in which young players could improve their “stick and ball” skill sets and I provided over a thousand lessons to area softball and baseball players. I umpired high school baseball for 20 years. The single best thing about that experience is that I felt I accomplished what a good umpire should be: impartial. Unbiased. A much needed skill set when dealing with numerous people who are advocating for their individual departments. I enjoyed a 4 year stint coaching MHS varsity softball from 2012-2015 and being a part of the 2020 MHS Varsity baseball program. I have since retired from feeding cattle and now have the time to give back to the community that has provided much for my family. I love analyzing numbers amongst many other things. I wish to be a part of a group of like minded individuals to make Marshall County a place in which others wish to raise a family and create their own opportunities.

Ruth Lycke: Green Mountain High School, Iowa State University, DMACC- Nursing, Mary Greeley Paramedic, USAF Medical Corp.

With the broad educational and work experience I have gained over the years and having served on the GMG school board it is a natural transition to serve the county on the board.

Bill Schendel: I graduated high school from Central Iowa Christian Academy here in Marshalltown. I completed my AA degree from MCC. I received my bachelor’s degree through Buena Vista. I began working for my dad at Schendel Pest Control throughout high school and summers during college. I became a state-certified technician in 1989 and later took over the business.

Since taking over the business, I have served on the board of the Iowa Pest Management Association for six years, as well as serving as president of the board. I am actively involved in Fellowship Baptist Church of Marshalltown, and I have served on the church’s board for over twenty years. I have also served as a Timber Creek Township trustee for ten years, and for the last five years I have served as our township’s clerk.

I have always looked for ways that I can be part of positive change in our community, serving through our church and our business in whatever ways that I could. When asked to run for county supervisor, I realized that this could be an opportunity for me to serve our community in areas that I had not been able to reach before. I love this community, and as a lifelong resident, I am proud to call it home. I believe that we cannot expect good things to happen within our communities without spending our time and energy and getting involved. This was just the next right step.

2. In your opinion, is the county currently headed in the right direction, and if not, how would you propose reversing course?

Goodman: I believe that the leaders of our county and the towns and cities that are within the county, truly believe they have us headed in the right direction. I have seen the growth within Marshall County. We need to continue to add amenities to attract people to live within our county. That requires good schools, recreational opportunities, and providing a safe environment in which to raise a family. I hope to be a part of this network of leaders to continue on the path we currently are on. I would be diligent in keeping our property taxes as low as possible while prioritizing the necessary things for growth.

Lycke: I think overall the direction is good but we could refine our goals and keep our budget under control as we enhance our offerings and grow our community and update our offerings.

Schendel: The county has certainly had its challenges over the last six years. Despite these challenges, I believe the current and past supervisors have done well. Keeping the county running while also handling major repair projects after back-to-back natural disasters is not an easy task. To the best of my knowledge, the county is heading in the right direction, and I want to continue in a positive, forward motion.

3. Growth has frequently been mentioned as a goal at both the city and the county level, but since the 2000 census, the county’s population has essentially held steady at close to 40,000 people. What steps, if any, should be taken at a county government level to help catalyze that growth?

Goodman: Growth is the key to keeping property taxes at manageable levels while maintaining necessary services. There are 98 other counties trying to accomplish the same thing. We need to be better at it than all of the other counties. Wind and solar energies could be a part of that growth. Marshall County is a big proponent of wind energy.

Lycke: I think we need to capitalize on the close knit community, enhance our security and tap into the massive population shift leaving the big cities.

Schendel: I am thankful that my kids have come back to Marshall County to live and raise their families. I want to be a part of growing our community into a place where families come to stay. I think one of the biggest challenges we face is how much of our tax base is spent within other counties. Amenities like shopping, eating out, and entertainment are often found in neighboring counties, such as Polk and Story. If we can encourage the growth of these kinds of amenities within Marshall County, we can encourage families to make Marshall County home and spend more taxable dollars within the county.

4. Do you agree with the county’s current spending priorities and tax rates, and if not, what changes would you propose if elected?

Goodman: I believe we have three highly qualified county supervisors who are well respected. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Salasek is retiring as I have heard very positive things about him. I do not know him personally, but good people do the right things. I will not be afraid to dig into areas that may be sacred to some but may need to be massaged in a way to make it better or more efficient. I think this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson sums up what kind of a supervisor I would like to become: “Do not go where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Lycke: Tax rates can always be lower but I think we’ll need to think out of the box to realize that dream. The state is working and growing the economy and lowering rates but I think it will take a county wide effort and personal involvement to make it happen.

Schendel: The tax rate within Marshall County is not the lowest nor the highest within the state. As county supervisor, my goal would be to ensure that we are getting the best value for each tax dollar we spend.

5. Do you believe the county’s current ordinances on wind and solar projects are adequate? If not, how would you address them once elected?

Goodman: I believe we are doing a very good job of promoting wind energy. In visiting with individuals who are involved in wind energy development, it seems to me that Marshall County is looked up as favorable to the continued development of wind energy. Solar energy could be viewed as the next big thing as long as property rights and private business can work together cohesively to bring about more solar energy projects. It would be worthwhile to review.

Lycke: Wind and solar are ‘attractive’ but I have not seen adequate savings to justify increases in projects or investment. There are far more beneficial options we can easily explore.

Schendel: I’m not aware of any ordinance issues with solar and wind turbines. I’m in favor of the growth they could bring to the county.

6. Additionally, would you support the use of eminent domain on private property for any sort of carbon capture pipeline if it were to come through Marshall County?

Goodman: Eminent domain can be a very emotional issue. It’s a very delicate balance between the rights of the property owner and the benefits to the public at large. My preference is that eminent domain be used very sparingly. Carbon capture pipeline projects such as the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, appear to be a federal issue with a recent ruling by a federal court to strike down Shelby and Story county’s restrictions for placement of the pipeline. Eminent domain should be a last resort.

Lycke: I oppose eminent domain and I have looked into carbon capture aggressively and it is a tax scheme built on a lie.

Schendel: My first response is definitely not. Eminent domain is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of all the factors. Marshall County property owners should not have to worry about their property being taken away without due process and or compensation.

7. The county recently utilized American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to fund the construction of a campground at Green Castle Lake. Are there any other major recreational projects on your radar if you are elected, and do you believe the county should financially support the completion of the Iowa River’s Edge Trail from Steamboat Rock to Marshalltown?

Goodman: I think the Iowa River’s Edge Trail would be an asset to all counties and towns along the route. My wife and I enjoy biking on trails and we do the Grimes Farm trail to Riverview Park whenever our schedules allow it. We have also loaded up the bikes and driven to Slater, Iowa and have gone biking on the High Trestle Trail. We have seen many other bikers on the trail with diners, cafes, and sports bars enjoying the bikers stopping in to enjoy a break from biking. I can see businesses in the county benefitting from the Iowa River’s Edge Trail. If we can get this project completed with the use of Federal and State Grants and very little input from Marshall County property taxpayers, I am in favor of the project moving forward. Recreational tourism is a growing revenue source for the state of Iowa and Marshall County needs to find ways to tap into that.

Lycke: The trail needs to be considered but it is going to require a serious consideration as to the costs and the paybacks to the county.

Schendel: I don’t have any recreational projects in mind, and I admire the people and clubs behind the expansion of the Iowa River’s Edge Trail. Their hard work on this project is to be commended. County involvement in a project like this must be carefully weighed. Because this project is geared toward a certain demographic, we have to ask ourselves what is the return on investment for those that would not use the trail.

8. The Board of Supervisors has been engaged in conversations with Sheriff Joel Phillips and Buildings and Grounds Director Lucas Baedke about upgrades to the jail/sheriff’s office along Highway 30 between Marshalltown and State Center. Currently, they are utilizing about $2.25 million in ARPA funds while leaving the door open for a larger bond issue in the future. In your view, what is the best course of action on improving this facility for the long term?

Goodman: To keep and attract highly qualified public employees, you need to create a positive work environment. It appears that the project at the Jail/Sheriff’s has been impacted by much higher steel prices which has nearly doubled the cost of the project as it relates to the HVAC system. I would be in favor of funding the project with as many Marshall County citizens as we can. It should not be left entirely to Marshall County property taxpayers to fund this project. I am quite sure this will require an intense educational learning curve for me.

Lycke: I spent time touring the facility, its needs, currently and in the future and you cannot sustain or attract growth in the county without ensuring adequate resources to maintain and grow the facility and provide for increasing safety and security within our county.

Schendel: I believe Sheriff Phillips and Lucas Baedke have given great consideration for the needs of the building. I agree that those upgrades are necessary to improve the efficiency of the county facility.

9. If it hasn’t been mentioned yet, what is another issue that you’d like to shed light on and address if you are elected?

Goodman: I don’t have any pet projects that I would bring with me if I were to be elected as Marshall County’s next Supervisor. I do know that those of us that live on gravel roads always have high expectations for a smooth ride home. Not everyone feels they are getting that. My fellow farming peers also want safe bridges so they can drive their heavy equipment from farm to farm. Farmers no longer have a couple of 150 bushel wagons bringing in the harvest. Lots of heavy duty trucks and semi tractors and trailers capable of carrying 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of grain to a local elevator or cooperative that will meet up with a 20 ton limit bridge they may have to drive 6 to 8 miles out of their way to safely deliver their harvest. I would like to see a North to South paved road on either Oaks Avenue or possibly Marsh Avenue to access the North side of Marshalltown. There is only one paved road between Hart Avenue on the east side of Melbourne and Highway 146 that goes south from Le Grand to Gilman and that is Highway 14. That’s 28 miles with only one paved road going North and South.

Lycke: I am seeking a job as a supervisor of this county and it’s important to view the job not as I see it alone but listening to the input of the needs of the citizens of this county.

Schendel: I don’t have one issue or an ax to grind. However, I am concerned about the high unemployment rate within our county. According to the Iowa Workforce Development and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate within Marshall County is nearly double that of the surrounding counties and more than double both the state and national average.

10. Why are you the most qualified candidate in this race?

Goodman: I don’t know that I am the best qualified candidate in this race. What I do know is what kind of person I am. I enjoy being around people. I enjoy talking to complete strangers about numerous topics. I have tried to live a life that I don’t worry what others may say about me. I’ve done many things in my life and wish to continue experiencing new and challenging things. I have an ability to take complex things and find the lowest common denominator. It’s a necessary thing to do if you’re going to successfully teach a 10 year kid how to throw or hit. I listen, I evaluate, and then you make the best decision with the information you have. The final stage is to assess whether that was a sound decision or not. When you run a business, you will get plenty of opportunities to go through those stages. And if you’re good at it, you will be able to run a business for a long time. I fed cattle for nearly 37 years. Trust me, I’ve had ample opportunities to evaluate numerous decisions along the way.

Lycke: In my job career I’ve served as a student, paramedic, nurse, clinic manager, author, speaker, advocate, school board member, USAF member, veteran, wife and mother. I spent the last 20+ years learning to overcome a severe stroke… I feel that my educational experience, work and personal challenges have prepared me well for seeking answers, working out of the box and finding new solutions in our changing world.

Schendel: I know that I will have many things to learn if chosen to take on this role. I want the voters to know that I would go into this position with the willingness to listen and learn. Your concerns, values, and priorities are important, and I will do my best to make sure that your opinions are fairly represented. I want you and your family to enjoy a vibrant and growing county where you feel that your tax dollars are spent wisely.


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