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Campaigning for Iowa House District 53 seat: Steckman vs. Abela

Democrat incumbent Sharon Steckman will face Republican opponent Simon Abela in the November general election

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 2:52 AM
Updated: Oct 21, 2020 8:45 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - One of the races on the 2020 ballot in part of Cerro Gordo County: Iowa House District 53, which covers the entirety of Mason City, as well as parts of the county between Worth and Franklin Counties. The two candidates running for the seat - Democrat incumbent Sharon Steckman, and Republican challenger Simon Abela.

A former teacher, Steckman has represented the district since January 2009, and has served a total of 6 terms. During her time in the House, Steckman is noted for her work on the historic tax preservation bill, which provided a state income tax credit for historic preservation of buildings. In addition, she has served on the education committee, having helped reform education policy. 

"I worked with Ron Jorgensen...he and I worked really well together getting some things done with education. I have been disappointed in the last several years in that education funding has gone downhill. We're not prioritizing education, whether it's K-12, community colleges or the regents, none of them have been prioritized in our budget, and that needs to change."

If re-elected, one of Steckman's priorities in the new legislative session is to tackle the state's response to COVID, including providing oversight on money being received, with Steckman pointing to the state receiving $26 million for expanded testing across the state as part of the Test Iowa program earlier this year, as well as providing some sort of incentive like a tax credit to go to small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.

"We need to get a handle on that and make sure people feel safe. We want our businesses to open and open in a safe manner and to feel that they can have people in."

In addition, another issue that started work last session that she would like to see improved next year is access to childcare, and also the environment, including a focus on water quality.

"I think we need to incentivize the sustainable farmers, the ones that are practicing cover crops, set-asides. We need to incentivize those farmers to keep doing those great practices, which help our water quality and global warming. We had the derecho, the flooding. There are major climate problems that farmers are a big part in helping us solve."

With a growing political divide, and a seemingly growing dissatisfaction from voters, Steckman is committing to work with everyone on both sides of the aisle in Des Moines.

"I think it's important that we work with both sides and get things done, we have to. We're getting away from that in Des Moines, and that's why I'm very excited about running this time.

"Everybody can have a good idea. I don't care what party it is, they can have a good idea. And we need to look at those ideas and see if they're good for Iowans and go forward with them."

Coming to the U.S. from Malta 36 years ago, Abela has a background in the environmental engineering and occupational health and safety fields. In addition, he worked on and supported several projects for the U.S. Military's operations in Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Spain, and was responsible for all base closures in 2011. He's also served as an alderman in a small town in Texas, and also ran in a primary for an elected position in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone, Missouri.

He, too, has also seen the need to improve the state's education standings.

"The education system in Iowa has unfortunately dropped. Also, in the United States, if you look at our education system, it's not as competitive. Russia, Bulgaria and Italy have a more robust education system than ours. We need to go back to the basics and teach our kids math, science, history and civics, and appreciate what America is all about. If we teach our children the core necessaries without political views and stick to the facts, I think our country will have better children coming up."

Abela is staunchly pro-life, and does not support using public funding for abortions. In addition, he supports lower taxes, a stronger entrepreneurship environment to bring more good paying jobs to North Iowa, and a modest increase in the minimum wage, to $9-10/hour. In addition, he vows to not support any legislation that would involve defunding law enforcement or first responders.

"If it's something else that goes beyond my principles, whether it's anything on defunding the police first responders, or funding abortion, I'm going to stick to my guns. But if there is something for the common person, without getting into the complications of local politics, let's get it done. Let's get it done for the people."

Like Steckman, Abela also supports water quality measures.

"We need to reinvest in our system. There are other techniques to bring water that you don't have to completely on rivers. You can create water from the air. That's something I was striving and working with in California in 2013. I also tried to put together a project in Africa."

If elected, Abela is determined to work on both sides of the political aisle.

"I truly believe you have to have dedication more than anything else, not the money or the fame. Run a project and have it accomplished, and I enjoy doing that.

"I want to people to know that I am here and ready to help."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318763

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin673361116
Ramsey28256505
Anoka22583228
Dakota22414190
Washington14207116
Stearns13976117
St. Louis8991112
Scott859755
Wright795543
Olmsted681134
Sherburne601541
Clay508957
Carver486215
Kandiyohi420522
Rice419237
Blue Earth418016
Crow Wing364034
Otter Tail321723
Chisago315612
Nobles309930
Benton305751
Winona284830
Douglas266837
Mower265823
Polk261224
Morrison233829
Lyon223011
Beltrami219218
McLeod217914
Becker209416
Goodhue208428
Steele19917
Isanti194217
Itasca193923
Carlton191316
Todd182514
Nicollet164026
Mille Lacs157031
Freeborn15546
Le Sueur148811
Cass146010
Brown145715
Waseca139811
Pine13958
Meeker13289
Roseau12194
Martin117420
Hubbard115725
Wabasha10781
Redwood97919
Chippewa9147
Cottonwood8964
Renville89529
Dodge8700
Watonwan8634
Wadena8156
Sibley8004
Rock7889
Aitkin77830
Pipestone74118
Fillmore7240
Houston7134
Yellow Medicine66512
Pennington6638
Kanabec62713
Swift5998
Murray5953
Faribault5732
Pope5531
Clearwater5268
Stevens5243
Marshall5059
Jackson4961
Lake4326
Koochiching3996
Wilkin3925
Lac qui Parle3863
Unassigned38559
Lincoln3651
Norman3537
Big Stone3242
Mahnomen3044
Grant2806
Kittson2298
Red Lake2163
Traverse1491
Lake of the Woods1011
Cook770

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 229327

Reported Deaths: 2395
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33896336
Linn14340166
Scott1132587
Black Hawk10968137
Woodbury10428129
Johnson964137
Dubuque927491
Story684522
Pottawattamie644070
Dallas641757
Sioux372725
Webster363936
Cerro Gordo359046
Marshall351246
Clinton333844
Buena Vista307314
Muscatine293469
Des Moines291620
Warren283214
Plymouth277142
Wapello257372
Jones233615
Jasper224344
Marion206821
Lee205017
Carroll199922
Bremer196712
Henry18417
Crawford176916
Benton171821
Tama154940
Jackson146513
Washington146215
Delaware144921
Dickinson140311
Boone138311
Mahaska127927
Wright12706
Clay11924
Buchanan118510
Hardin116510
Page11524
Hamilton11429
Clayton11238
Cedar109313
Harrison108630
Kossuth10847
Calhoun10757
Mills10647
Floyd106216
Fayette105610
Lyon10538
Butler10266
Poweshiek99713
Winneshiek98413
Iowa97612
Winnebago93124
Cherokee9014
Hancock8737
Sac8738
Grundy87111
Louisa86818
Chickasaw8664
Allamakee82811
Cass81823
Mitchell8035
Appanoose79912
Humboldt7855
Union7796
Shelby77311
Emmet76824
Guthrie76315
Franklin74321
Jefferson7252
Unassigned6950
Madison6924
Palo Alto6574
Keokuk6157
Pocahontas5644
Howard5619
Osceola5341
Greene5310
Ida50013
Clarke4904
Davis4739
Montgomery47011
Taylor4673
Monroe44712
Adair4418
Monona4402
Worth3690
Fremont3663
Van Buren3615
Lucas3296
Decatur3200
Wayne3027
Audubon3002
Ringgold2202
Adams1712
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