Candidates for Baxter City Council – Newton Daily News

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Name: Daniel Kunkel

Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for municipal council. Daniel Kunkel, longtime resident of Baxter. Raised 2 daughters, Alex and Elizabeth with my wife, Colette.

Besides Baxter City Council, I have been involved in many Baxter and Jasper County organizations and boards such as BEDCO, Baxter Early Learning Center, Newton Housing Development Corp, Iowa Landlord Assoc. to name a few.

I was a city councilor for 2 and a half terms and I would like to continue to advance the city’s improvements and see several ongoing projects come to fruition.

What is the problem that concerns you the most for the city? Obviously, I want to continue to see Baxter grow and move in a positive direction, but if I had to choose a topic for this interview, I would choose city emergency services such as EMT, police, and firefighters. .

Where would you like to see the city grow in the years to come? Baxter is a growing community and there is currently a strong demand for housing in all its forms.

What is the best quality from Baxter? What can the city improve on? Baxter’s best quality is its residents. So many residents are involved in the community and want to help do what’s best for Baxter. All of these residents, government entities and organizations work together to make Baxter the great community that it is.

What other city issues are you most passionate about? My biggest passion is seeing Baxter grow in a positive direction while retaining all of the great qualities of the small towns it already has.

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Name: Josh lokenvitz

Age: 42

Occupation: Retired Military / Truck Driver

Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for municipal council. My wife, Meghan, was living in Baxter when we met and started dating eight years ago. After a brief period together at Johnston, she convinced me to move to Baxter shortly after our marriage. I was hesitant at first, but I completely fell in love with this small town. We recently celebrated our 6th anniversary. We have a two year old son, Alex, and she has two sons, Kolton and Nolan, from a previous marriage. I retired from the military in April after 22 years of service in the Iowa National Guard. I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and to Afghanistan in 2018-2019. I have served my state and nation for the past 22 years and now that I am no longer on active duty I feel it is time to serve my local community. I actually wanted to run for city council since we moved to town, but couldn’t due to an active duty order with the National Guard.

What is the problem that concerns you the most for the city? In my opinion, the most important part of being an elected official at any level is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I spent 14 years on active duty in the Iowa Army National Guard, and 13 of those years were spent in various forms of financial work. I have gained invaluable experience in all areas of public finance and budgeting through my multiple finance roles including accounting, accounts payable, contracting, program / budget management and budget analysis . I believe this experience will allow me to help streamline the city budget, maximize the products / services received for the money spent and ultimately save taxpayer money.

Where would you like to see the city grow in the years to come? First of all, I love the small town that Baxter is and has become. It’s the perfect picture of the small town in Iowa that everyone wishes they could be a part of. The main area that I would like to see grow in the city would be the updating of infrastructure. In recent years, storm sewer upgrades have been completed and some pavement work is currently being completed on Southwest Avenue. I would like these updates / improvements to continue throughout the city, as the city budget allows.

What is the best quality from Baxter? What can the city improve on? I mentioned it earlier, but the best quality of Baxter by far is the small town feel and the people who live there. There aren’t many places around here where you wave to everyone you see, but Baxter is one of those places whether you know the person or not. I love that what may start with a quick family walk around the block ends with us coming home 3 hours later after several conversations with the neighbors. As far as improvements go, I think the city is mostly on the right track at the moment. As mentioned previously, I would like to contribute to some improvement in the management of the budget as well as to make it accessible to any citizen who wishes to see it.

What other city issues are you most passionate about? My family is by far the determining factor in every decision I make in life. I want to do my part to make sure Baxter is a place where anyone can take pride in raising a family. I also think it is essential for the involvement of the community in the way the city is run. This is why, if I were elected, I would organize informal discussions on a monthly or bi-monthly basis so that we can ensure that citizens’ concerns are heard, understood and resolved in an appropriate, efficient and timely manner.

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Name: Josh Meckley

Age: 36

Occupation: Automotive Technician at Meckley’s Parts & Service

Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for municipal council. I am Josh Meckley, my family and I are long time members of the Baxter community. I help operate our family owned auto repair business which has been a local business for over 35 years. My wife Rachel is a school counselor for Miller Middle School in Marshalltown. We have two sons, Cannon and Hudson. I am running for re-election to continue to advance the progress of the community, maintain a strict budget to ensure that the present and future needs of the community are met, and strive to provide the best quality of life Baxter can offer.

What is the problem that concerns you the most for the city? One of my concerns for the future would be to tackle the aging infrastructure in our city. I have been outside of budgeting and planning to replace or repair our aging sewer, street, water and storm water infrastructure. I would love to have the opportunity to continue to implement plans to address these issues for the future of our city.

Where would you like to see the city grow in the years to come? I will always continue to support residential and commercial growth within our city. I would like our residential growth to continue at a steady pace that reflects our community. Much of the personality of a small town comes from its local businesses, so realizing new business opportunities within the community would be a major goal for growth.

What is the best quality from Baxter? What can the city improve on? It is difficult to choose a quality of our city that surpasses the others. I would say our community as a whole is spectacular. We need citizens to support our K-12 school, use our local businesses, keep our community attractive and invite new potential residents, volunteer for recreation committees, and always help anyone in need. They are the ones who create our charm and make our city attractive on many levels. There will always be room for improvement and nothing is ever perfect. As long as there is support, community involvement and transparency between the city and the citizens, this city will always be able to respond to the improvements that need to be made along the way.

What other city issues are you most passionate about? I will always be passionate about anything that can add to our already exceptional quality of life at Baxter. I continually seek to build on our momentum so that Baxter continues to have a positive and bright future for years to come.

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Name: Nathan Doubek

Age: 23

Occupation: Vice-president at Thatcher Auto Center Inc.

Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for municipal council. My name is Nathan Doubek and I am a candidate for the municipal council because it would give a younger perspective on things, and also to get more involved in the community.

What is the problem that concerns you the most for the city? May the city make the best decisions for the people of Baxter.

Where would you like to see the city grow in the years to come? I think it would be good for Baxter’s businesses to grow and see the city come together more.

What is the best quality from Baxter? What can the city improve on? the best quality of Baxter is seeing people coming together like when the derecho was over it was a bad event but everyone came together to help the others. Just be a community that continues to work together.

What other city issues are you most passionate about? Maintain the school, the Baxter Police Department and make it a small town environment.

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Name: Russell F. Parker

Age: i am 65 years old

Occupation: I have been a truck driver for 45 years

Please introduce yourself and explain why you are running for municipal council. I have lived in Baxter since 1979. I have placed 4 children in the Baxter school system. I currently have 2 boys at Baxter School. One is a Senior and the other is a 7th year. I currently sit on the church board at Ashton Chapel.

I am running because I think the municipal council needs more diversification. As in the age variety and I also believe that we need to have a voice for the working class people in our community. Since in the past the majority of Council members were business owners, all taxpayers need a voice, especially those on fixed incomes.

What is the problem that concerns you the most for the city? I’m concerned that we need more independent senior housing to live on. It would also free up affordable housing for young families in our community.

Where would you like to see the city grow in the years to come? I would like the Town of Baxter to continue to modernize its infrastructure on a more regular basis, as this has been overlooked in the past.

What is the best quality from Baxter? What can the city improve on? Our best bet is that we are centrally located in the Newton, Des Moines and Marshalltown areas. We have a wonderful kindergarten to grade 12 school system as well as a daycare next to the school that offers preschool.

What other city issues are you most passionate about? Make Baxter an affordable place for our young families as well as retired and senior residents.


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