Candidates give their ideas for the future at forum in Atlantic

(Pictured from left) Candidates Denise O'Brien, Cindy Axne and Tim Gannon all spoke during a farm forum held in Atlantic on Thursday morning. (photo by Jennifer Nichols)

ATLANTIC – Three candidates running for state and federal offices spoke about what they would like to see happen if they get elected in the mid-term elections.

Tim Gannon, who is running for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Denise O’Brien, who is running for the seat in Iowa District 21, and Cindy Axne, who is running for the seat in the Iowa’s Third District, all talked during a forum held in Atlantic on Thursday morning at the Atlantic Public Library meeting room.

The forum was held to discuss agricultural issues, among others, and all candidates asked what would the world be like if each candidate was elected.

Gannon said it was important to increase what is being spent on ag research, in part to find out, “What we can do with things we grew and raise,” and how we can “turn them into new products,” because that could lead to more people opening businesses with those new products in the state of Iowa. He also thought it was important to spend more money on conservation and outdoor recreation, and that the outdoor recreation could bring more people to Iowa, spending more dollars in businesses here.

Axne said it’s important to make sure we don’t have people in Iowa who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and to help farmers look for ways to retain nutrients in their soil, which in turn could increase yields. But she also said things like keeping young people in the state and giving people access to areas like “work hubs,” in which older buildings could be restored and include added technology, could help communities around the state thrive.

O’Brien said it was important to get more infrastructure in the state-not just roads and bridges-but also processing facilities, which could help individuals produce more locally grown food, and in turn, reduce the amount of food that is imported into the state. She said it’s important to “work in balance with mother nature,” and said officials should fund the Leopold Center, which, according to their web site, was created to “ develop new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources as well as reducing negative environmental and social impacts.”