Story County auditor, attorney and county sheriff all run unopposed

Lucy Martin runs for her third term as Story County auditor.

Ethan Wiersma

All unopposed positions were reelected, with Lucy Martin as Story County auditor, Timothy Meals as Story County attorney and Paul Fitzgerald as county sheriff for Story County.

Lucy Martin

Martin won her with 38,237 at 98.17 percent of the votes.  She was re-elected to her second full term as auditor and commissioner of elections in 2016.  She began serving as auditor in January 2011 following her unanimous appointment to fill the vacant office; she won her first election in 2012.  

Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, sat down and provided crucial information about the Story County elections. Kedrowski first talked about the many roles Martin takes on as county auditor. 

“The county auditor does a lot of things simultaneously; on one hand, she supports the Board of Supervisors, as well as keeping records and announcing meetings,” Kedrowski said. “The county auditor also has an auditing role, they have to make sure that public funds are spent appropriately. Lucy Martin also works with the Secretary of State office, they make sure an election happens, she hires and trains poll workers, as well as making sure ballots get to where they need to go.”

County auditor is a partisan position, and Martin has been in office for 15 years now as a Democrat.

Kedrowski explained what impact Martin has on college students in Ames. She said Martin has a big role in getting students involved in voting. Kedrowski said she has been working very closely with Martin to make sure students understand the process and importance of voting. 

“I helped Martin arrange early voting in towns across Story County,” Kedrowski said. “She does a great job of training poll workers and making sure everything runs smoothly.” 

Prior to holding office, Martin was a deputy auditor. She continues to serve Story County as auditor for her fourth consecutive term.

Some essential functions Martin takes care of are preparing and certifying tax levies as well as maintaining Story County financial records. She is also responsible for overviewing the Board of Supervisors, which discusses public hearings and approvals of claims. Martin is an active commissioner of elections and keeps track of real estate transfers.

Martin has worked with Story County for many years on various committees, such as the real estate and MAPS committees, land use and rural affairs, transportation committees with the Iowa State Association of Counties, the County Strategic Technology Advisory and more. Martin is also a member of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors and has served as president and vice president of District 1.

“The auditor does so many different things, I just want to continue to do what I’ve been doing as well as I can,” Martin said in an interview with Victoria Reyna-Rodriguez.

Martin currently serves as co-chair for the Statewide Election Administration Training (SEAT) Board and is SEAT certified. She is also a previous member of the executive board of the Iowa Precinct Atlas Association of County Auditors. Finally, Martin is also active in her local chapter of League of Women Voters and is a Precinct Election Official.

During this next term in the auditor’s office, Martin said she hopes to “continue to offer free and fair elections in Story County, which is what most people associate with the auditor’s office.” 

Timothy Meals

Timothy Meals will continue to serve as Story County attorney after collecting 37,071 votes, winning at 98.03 percent.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Iowa State before attending law school at Drake University.

“The county attorney is the person who takes cases to trial on behalf of the people,” Kedrowski said. “You can almost think of it as a prosecutor: when someone commits a crime within the county, Meals is the one to represent the people and bring the case forward.”

Since 2017, Meals has served as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ first assistant attorney and has spent 20 years in the county attorney’s office. Meals continues to represent the Democratic Party.

Meals’ journey to the Story County attorney’s office is an unconventional route, working jobs in the former Bourns factory and Gateway Hotel in Ames before making the leap to become an attorney in his late 30s. 

Paul Fitzgerald

Paul Fitzgerald continues to serve as county sheriff in Story County after winning 38,278 votes at 97.43 percent.. Fitzgerald is responsible for law enforcement in Story County, ensuring all local, state and federal laws are followed within his jurisdiction. 

“I just love it, just love it to death to have a group of people that I can lead and the things that we accomplished here at the sheriff’s office, we’re recognized throughout the state and throughout the nation,” Fitzgerald said.

As Fitzgerald continues as county sheriff for his eighth term, he will become the longest-serving sheriff in Story County history.

“Fitzgerald is the top law enforcement officer in Story County,” Kedrowski said. “The county sheriff covers the areas in Story County where the Ames Police Department and university police don’t reach. They play an essential role in the community, especially in rural areas.”

Kedrowski also explains if students are arrested anywhere outside of campus, they would have to report to the county sheriff. 

Fitzgerald said his main concern as a sheriff is crimes against children, and he is always looking for new ways to ensure their safety.

Story County is 10 points below the national average when it comes to violent crimes with Fitzgerald as county sheriff, according to crime statistics.