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Senate hopeful follows own drummer

BY QUENTIN MISIAG | SEPTEMBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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On paper, Jim Bollard shares a few commonalities with the man he’s hoping to succeed in one of Iowa’s most populous Senate districts.

An eye to inner-city neighborhood revitalization: check. A lengthy business background in Iowa’s capital, a smaller pool of campaign fundraising than that of his challengers, and comprehensive education reform: check, check, and check.

One glaring difference: party affiliation.

Bollard, a self-proclaimed “lifelong” independent, whose District 17 filing on Aug. 20 marked his first jump into a race for government office, has an up-hill climb in the heavily Democratic area.

The District 17 seat — which includes downtown Des Moines, Sherman Hill, and the city’s South Side — was last held by Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, the Democratic candidate for Iowa governor.

Entering the race several months after his contenders, Democratic nominee and former state Sen. Tony Bisignano and Republican Army veteran Jonathan Lochman, would appear as a disadvantage.
Bollard refutwed those claims, saying he doesn’t believe that’s the case.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, he said he’s not too concerned about the late foray, citing political fallouts from other state politicians (whom he declined to name) and a barrage of television attack ads.

“A lot of that has fallen to the side, and people are inundated in some of those commercials,” the Pocahontas, Iowa, native said. “We have made connections inside both of [Republican and Democratic] camps, but they are hesitant to go on the record in supporting us.”

As of Sept. 3, Bollard said he had spent $0 on campaigning efforts.

As the president of the Easter Lake Park Homeowners and Neighborhood Associations, the former 32-year information technology professional at Allied/Nationwide Insurance said unique get-out-the-vote efforts center on heavily driven data strategies.

That includes analyzing past voter records, eyeing which voters have requested absentee ballots, and stumping at neighborhood associations and church groups are underway, he said.

Bollard said among the education endeavors that need to be addressed include the creation of more finance and money-management programs in the state’s K-12 system to better prepare for retirement.

If elected, he said, he would also consider a program involving community service for a paid college education, which was first proposed by independent gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Narcisse’s campaign in July.

Bisignano, the Democratic nominee whose campaign has been built from the ground up from early voting turnouts, said the arrival of a new political contender hasn’t fazed his campaign.

He said his biggest concern if elected would be snagging more funding assistance for low-income seniors, which would include a property-tax freeze.

Opposing recent large tax credits for out-of-state companies, he said wants to see a closer watch on when they are handed out and holding firms accountable for the job-creation numbers they promise.
Bisignano said he was unaware of the official funding that has been pooled for his campaign.

Across the political aisle, Republican nominee Lochman had raised slightly more than $1,000 as of Sept. 3.

If elected, Lochman said he would like to propose new legislation to give state officials the freedom to provide medical care and educational assistance beyond that offered through the federally mandated GI Bill.


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