Central Iowa native and Grimes transplant Tom Hayes is running for county supervisor on the Democratic ticket.
He is the only male in the race, as three women (two Republicans and another Democrat) are running.
“If can get elected, there’s a few changes I’d like to make,” says 51-year-old Hayes, who lives in northeast Madison County in the Badger Creek watershed.
He and his wife, Connie, have five grown children. They have lived here since 2011. He is a union leader with the Laborers’ International Union of North America.
“I’ve been thinking the last few years about wanting to run for supervisor ... it sure seems there is a lack of leadership and I would like to show some leadership.”
Hayes lists the usual suspects as campaign issues – roads, bridges, infrastructure, and health.
To him, especially living in the northeastern realm of the county, encroachment from West Des Moines also hits high on his list of issues. It ranks even higher on his list than wind turbines.
“I am not opposed to building turbines. I do believe we should have a limit. We are a county known for our bridges, and we have the urban sprawl moving this way ... if you had to weigh the two out, [it’s] urban sprawl versus wind turbines.”
Hayes says he thinks a reasonable limit on the total number of turbines in the county would be around 200.
“I’m willing to listen to any resident. I’m not the type of person to say ‘there won’t be any more wind turbines.’”
“I’m not really running on the wind turbines. I’m not opposed to the wind turbines, but I do agree with people who do complain about some of the health issues, and I do agree with them.”
“If I have to be totally honest, I don’t want one 1,500 feet out my door ... I do know that they’re not a bad thing. But they are not the greatest thing.”
Hayes says he is also concerned about the importance of health care, and keeping a local hospital.
“We need to make sure that our hospital is well taken care of, and we do whatever it takes to keep that open.”
Hayes says he lives closer to Des Moines, where there are more hospitals, but he says people who live on the other side of the county don’t have that luxury.
“We need to make sure that we keep a hospital open and everything going ... I just think that that’s an important thing.”
Hayes says that without a doubt, more transparency is needed in government.
“I think we could plan our meetings a little bit better ... I do believe that we need transparency in government.”
“I also believe in closed sessions.”
Hayes says there are certain things covered under the Iowa open meetings law that just cannot be discussed in an open session.
“I’ve been doing the stay-at-home thing,” Hayes says, although he admits he may go into the office a couple times a week.
As far as the county response to the COVID-19 is concerned, Hayes says he thinks the county “has done a pretty good job of shutting things down.”
“In opening up, I think it’s good to advise to have masks. I just hope people are cautious about where they go.”
“I think [the county] actually stepped up their game a little bit more [than the governor].”
Hayes says he doesn’t believe county residents would have like a stay-at-home order coming from local officials.
“Could we have done a bit more? Yeah.”
Hayes says he knows personally of a worker coming down with coronavirus, someone who was deemed an “essential worker”.
Hayes says he thinks he would have recommended holding out a little longer before opening up the county.
“Now we’re in a situation where the county can not hold on without opening up.”
“Whether I like that or not, doesn’t matter.”