Story County hosts County Candidate forum

Makayla Tendall

Candidates for elected offices in Story County met for a county candidate forum in the council chambers of the Ames City Hall Oct. 2. 

The candidate forum was put on by the Ames League of Women Voters and featured candidates for the positions of Story County attorney, county recorder and the county board of supervisors. 


Stephen Holmes, the Democratic incumbent, is running for county attorney. He has been the county attorney for 25 years. Holmes said he believes he is qualified for the position because of his track record prosecuting state crimes and providing legal counsel for the board of supervisors. Holmes also oversees a staff of around 30 other attorneys. 

Stephen Howell, the Republican candidate, is also running. He has 17 years of experience as an attorney in Story County. Howell said while he does not have as much prosecuting experience, he brings skills like management to the table as well as experience in civil and criminal law.

Howell said that if elected he would increase the Victim Witness Assistance Program so that victims of crimes would have a one-on-one service to educate them on trial processes if they are unfamiliar with them.

Holmes said that when he began as county attorney the amount program employees was one or two, and the number has increased drastically due to a large number of cases. The number has since dropped because there is less of a need for those services, Holmes said.

County Recorder

James Cheek, the Democratic incumbent running for county recorder, said he has been the county recorder for 13 years and he wants to continue improving the way public records are made available.

Cheek said he also wants to work with state legislators to make birth certificates available at the local level for everyone. As it stands, children of single mothers in Iowa must go to the state level to receive a copy of their birth certificate instead of the county. 

Stacie Herridge, the Republican candidate, said she was the county recorder for 14 years prior to Cheek. Herridge said she had moved to the county auditor’s office and was able to learn skills there applicable to the duties of county recorder. 

Herridge said she is looking on how to digitize documents and make them more accessible. 

Board of Supervisors 

Rick Sanders is the Republican incumbent for one of the three positions on the county board of supervisors. Sanders said during the last four years that he has been on the board of supervisors he has helped to create the first balanced budget in Story County in 25 years and helped bring the county out of debt. 

William Klees, a senior in interdisciplinary studies, is running against Sanders for the Republican seat.

Klees said he is running because he sees a strong detachment and sense of distrust between members of his generation and government entities. Klees also said that he is a strong candidate because he can provide perspective from ISU students’ points of view. 

Independent candidate Lauris Olson said she has 20 years of experience as a journalist specializing in local government and 16 years of management experience. Lauris said she plans to increase public involvement with policy changes. 

Paul Toot, the incumbent running for the Democratic seat, said he was also on the board when they balanced the budget and helped cut $6 million from spending and helped put almost that same amount of money toward a cash reserve. He said he also helped increase funding to the public libraries, fair board and other organizations. 

Midterm elections will take place on Nov. 4.