MASON CITY — Sharon Steckman, a Democrat and retired Mason City school teacher, was elected to her fifth term in the Iowa House District 53 Tuesday, defeating Cerro Gordo County GOP Chairwoman Barbara Hovland by a wide margin.
District 53 includes Mason City, Rockwell and central Cerro Gordo County.
With all 16 precincts reporting, unofficial vote totals showed Steckman with 60.4 percent (8,948 votes) compared to Hovland’s 39.5 percent (5,851 votes). Hovland was seeking elective office for the first time.
Both women are residents of Mason City.
Steckman said she is grateful for all the support she received, noting she had a broken foot for 11 weeks but lots of people stepped up and knocked on doors for her.
“My constituents are my endorsement and the one I prize the most,” she said.
The victory was bittersweet for Steckman.
“I’m sad that some of my fellow Democrats won’t be coming back,” she said.
Steckman was following other Iowa House races Tuesday night. She said she was hoping the Democrats could get the majority back or at least gain more seats.
Steckman has long been an advocate for increased funding for education. She also opposed Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s change in the state’s Medicaid program, moving it from state control to private control.
Steckman said the change was made too quickly, has not saved the state money has promised and has caused problems for providers and clients alike.
Hovland disagreed. She said if Medicaid was at the rate it was going, it was not sustainable. She also was concerned about fraud.
Steckman also believed the Mason City Council moved to quickly to try to bring the Prestage Foods of Iowa pork processing plant to Mason City and supported opponents who successfully protested against the proposal.
Steckman also believes there should be more local regulation of hog confinement facilities. Hovland disagrees, stating control should remain at the state level.
“CAFOs have been around for a long time. We shouldn’t take away from other programs to fund water quality,” she earlier told the Globe Gazette.
Steckman serves on the House Education, Environmental Protection, Labor and Ways and Means committees and is an assistant minority leader.
She serves on the Tax Credit Interim Committee, the Midwest Higher Education Compact Council, the local RSVP board, the state iJAG Board (Iowa Jobs for America’s Gradutes), Una Vocis Board and Francis Lauer Youth Services Board. She is a past member of the STEM Council.