Two newcomers to state politics are the candidates in a special election Tuesday to fill the Iowa House District 52 seat.
Todd Prichard, D-Charles City, who maintains a private law practice and also serves as Floyd County assistant attorney, and Dennis Litterer, R-Ionia, who owns his own insurance and investment business, are running for the seat left vacant when Brian Quirk, D-New Hampton, announced his resignation in December.
The House district encompasses eastern Cerro Gordo County, as well as all of Floyd and Chickasaw counties.
Prichard, 38, said if elected his first priorities will be economic development. He said he wants to ensure that Iowa is a good place for small businesses as well as find a way to grow Iowa’s agricultural economy.
Prichard said as a small-town lawyer he runs his own business and advises a lot of other small business owners on issues such as business law and taxation. He said this gives him a good background for working on economic issues in the state Legislature.
Prichard’s second priority is education. He said he wants to expand the reach of community colleges, ensure that Iowa’s early childhood education programs are strong and see that “students in rural districts have access to world-class education.”
Prichard’s third priority is veterans’ issues. He said he wants to make sure “we fulfill our commitments to our returning veterans.”
In addition, he said he wants to work with people in both parties to come up with ways to reduce the tax burden on property owners in the state.
Prichard, a major in the Iowa National Guard, serves on the boards of directors for TLC, a child care/preschool center in Charles City, and the Charles City Family YMCA.
He and his wife, Ann, have three children.
Litterer, 57, said his two biggest priorities are lowering residential and commercial property taxes and education reform.
He said Iowa ranks third in commercial property taxes, which makes it difficult to attract new businesses to the state.
Litterer said 58 percent of the state’s budget goes to education, but Iowa still isn’t seeing results.
This is why Gov. Terry Branstad is proposing education reform, according to Litterer.
“We are trying to get a better bang for our buck,” he said.
Litterer said the top seven jobs in the state require a two-year college degree, so more emphasis should be placed on community colleges.
“We don’t have enough skilled labor,” he said.
Litterer, who farmed for 16 years in the Nashua area before going into the insurance and investment field, noted he has experience in the two biggest industries in Iowa — agriculture and insurance.
He also has served on a number of community organizations and on the Nashua City Council and Nashua School Board.
Litterer and his wife, Lisa, have three grown children.