Photo of Dane Nealson courtesy of the candidate
By Lauris Olson
(Feb. 22, 2012 – 11 a.m.) A former state leader of college Republicans is challenging Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell for the new Iowa House District 45 seat.
Dane Nealson. 26, of 317 N. Dakota Ave. in Ames announced his candidacy last week. Nealson is single and has no children. He grew up in West Liberty.
“I feel that on the issues, I line up closer to the Ames community than [Wessel-Kroeshell] does ,” said Nealson.
“I think that in the last couple of elections, the Republicans had candidates enter the District 45 race a bit late. When I was approached by some people about running, I thought about it and decided that I couldn’t sit on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to do it.”
Nealson said the “biggest issue” for him is the flow of young adults from the state in search of employment opportunities.
“I know that Iowa has done better than many other states and the agriculture industry is a big reason for that,” he said. “I really think we need to focus more on creating an environment that allows people to stay, work and open businesses.
Nealson said he believes changes in Iowa’s property tax structure, creating balanced budgets that don’t borrow from various special use funds and introducing Lean Sigma Six quality improvement management techniques into state government will be the most effective actions to help job creation in Iowa.
“If we can adjust move the needle across the board on property taxes, we can attract and create more businesses,” Nealson said. “That in turn creates a larger tax base and revenue base, which is good for Ames and is good for our largest employer, Iowa State University.
Nealson said the state could look at increasing support for the local government agencies to make up for potential revenue losses or stagnant property tax revenues caused by changes.
“As for backfilling, I think we can look at areas in government where we can find efficiencies and savings and possibly use that money,” he said.
He would also like to work on legislation that encourages public/private relationships and stop the state from borrowing money to meet its operating needs again.
He points to former Gov. Chet Culver’s decision to have the state issue $875 million in bonds to pay for the I-Jobs stimulus program
“That will be about $1.7 billion in debt and interest for us to pay off,” said Nealson. “There are babies today that will be paying it off when they are 20.”
Nealson brings a solid background of Republican Party experience with him.
He started working on Republican causes while attending Muscatine Community College, mainly helping with state legislative campaigns.
He graduated from Iowa State University in 2010 with a political science degree. While at Iowa State, he was elected chairman of the Iowa Federation of College Republicans.
“That gave me great exposure to working with different sets of ideas, even withing the Republican Party,” he said. “You can imagine that the perspective of a Republican college student at the University of Iowa often varies from that of a student of Morningside College [in Sioux City].”
After graduation, he went to work in the field managing the Republican Victory Office headquarters in Ames. From there, he moved on to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s GOP presidential campaign as a paid staffer and then to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign when Pawlenty withdrew and Perry entered the race following the Iowa Straw Poll in August, 2011.
Nealson currently works as a pharmacy technician for NuCara Pharmacy in Nevada.
“Since 2008, I have looked a lot at national politics,” said Nealson, “It took me away from the more localized issues. Now I am focused on those again.
He counts an Ames City Council member, Jeremy Davis, among his advisors. Davis is his campaign treasurer.
He pledged to run a positive campaign.
“Rep. Wessel-Kroeshell has served us for the better part of a decade and I disagree with her record, but I respect her willingness to put her name on the ballot and run for office,” he said. ‘I certainly don’t want to get into any personal attacks. I don’t think people are looking for that divisiveness.”