Editor’s Note: We asked the two Democratic candidates for Benton County Supervisor, Scott Hepker and Ed Sass, to share their thoughts on the position and issues the county faces. Below, in his own words, is Hepker’s response. The Primary Election is Tuesday, June 5.

Urbana native Scott Hepker has announced his candidacy for Benton County Board of Supervisors. Scott currently lives two miles west of Urbana with his wife, Mary.

Scott currently serves on the board of directors for USA Communications, based in Shellsburg. He began farming in 1993 after moving to his grandparent’s farm. Scott also works helping drive people to medical appointments and day programs as a part-time Transit Driver for Benton County Transportation. He retired from the Iowa Department of Transportation after thirty-two years of service.

Serving the community has always been a priority for Scott. His list of community service work includes:

* 17 years as a volunteer with the Urbana Fire Department

* 15 years as an EMT with the Urbana Ambulance Service

* Former member of the Urbana City Council

* Former member of the Urbana planning and zoning board

* Current member, and Coleman Award honoree of the Urbana Lions Club

* Current three-term member of the Polk Township trustees

* Nominating committee for East Central Iowa REC board of directors

* Member and volunteer at the Urbana Christian Church

* Four-year term on the Iowa State Extension Council

* Former assistant 4-H leader for Polk 101 4-H

* Member of the Vinton Airport Commission

Scott and Mary have been married 34 years and have two children; Meghan and Matthew and they are proud grandparents of two grandchildren. Scott enjoys flying, fishing, and spending time with Mary at their Harper’s Ferry cabin.

Notes concerning issues facing the county:

I think my volunteer and community service experience will prove to be great assets in five areas of concern for our county. Those areas include economic development, public safety, secondary roads, management and stewardship of county parks, and long-range planning.

Economic Development

Benton county is well-positioned for growth and can best reach economic development goals by working closely with Benton Development Group. As a county, we have some great resources many other counties lack. Our proximity to the larger communities to our north and south is aided by two U.S. highways and access to I-380. We have an airport in Vinton and Belle Plaine, providing access to both the north and south ends of the county.

While attracting new businesses and providing jobs is important, I also believe we need to focus on maintaining and protecting the investments already made in creating our vibrant, livable communities. Protecting those investments means doing all we can to support our educational opportunities, provide access to health care, and provide for public safety.

Public Safety

We are fortunate to have excellent police and sheriff departments in our county that are sincerely committed to serving and protecting all citizens. We have committed volunteer firefighters, EMT, and Paramedics on call 24/7 to protect life and property. Providing them with the financial resources they need, and expressing our frequent gratitude for their service is a key responsibility of our county government.

Secondary Roads

Maintenance and repair of Benton county’s 327 bridges and 1,249 miles of roadway is not only important for safe travel, but doing so efficiently is important for the county’s budget. I believe my 32 years with the Iowa Department of Transportation will be an asset when issues concerning our roads and bridges are before the county’s board of supervisors.

County Parks & Recreation

I thoroughly enjoy being outdoors, whether it is to work on the farm, or when I spend time fishing. Providing recreational opportunities through our county park system, and practicing good stewardship on the farm to maintain and improve water quality are both important to me. As we move into the future we will be faced with decisions about water management, and those decisions will impact our recreational opportunities, as well as the health and wellbeing of our people, our wildlife, and the land we depend on.

Long-range planning

A child who finishes kindergarten this spring will graduate in 2030. The year 2030 seems a long way off, but we all know how quickly our children grow to become adults and parents. We should be doing all we can to prepare for the world they will be living in, and that means carefully thinking through plans for growth, development, and improvements to the quality of life Benton county offers