Contested race in Iola
Four vie for three village seats
By Holly Neumann
On the ballot for the April 4 spring elections for the village of Iola are Pamela Parks, Jim Rasmussen, Kathy Briquelet, Mary Timdal and Joel Edler.
Parks, Rasmussen, Briquelet and Timdal are running for three village trustee positions.
Edler, who was unavailable for comment, is running uncontested for the position of village president.
Parks, an incumbent, has lived in the Iola area for the past 20 years. She was appointed to the board about a year ago, after Leland Johnson passed away.
“After being broken in as a rookie, I am finding that this is a great way to help and serve my community,” she said. “I have learned some things about how important it is to be a part of something if you want to make a change. This is the way to do it. Rather than being an observer, it puts action to your words and makes a difference.”
Parks cares about the Iola community.
“This is my home,” she said. “This is the longest I have lived anywhere. I care about the people as they are like family. When you are family, you want everyone to be successful. I care about everything that is going on.”
She reflected on an accident she had years ago.
“I had lived in Iola for two years and did not know anyone when I had a bad car accident,” she said. “I had a 5 year old, a toddler and 5 month old, and I could not take care of my kids. The community rallied with me. I had people coming to my home to bring meals, care for the children, you name it. Ruth Buchholtz even stepped in as a grandma. I remember telling my mom and dad, ‘I am finally home.’”
According to Parks, that is what makes Iola great.
“We care and we are a family for each other,” she said. “There is a real foundation of love in this community.”
She believes her biggest asset is her ability to listen.
“There is a lot of diversity in this community,” she said. “From life-long residents to implants, one income and two-income households, Iola has it all. They all need a voice that will support and listen to what they have to say, I feel I can do that.”
“The people of Iola care deeply about how things are run and the importance of keeping those things healthy,” she said. “We may not all agree, but in the end, we are all connected together, because this is all too important to us.”
Rasmussen, an incumbent, was born and raised in Iola, and has been on the village board for 22 years.
“I enjoy doing it,” he said. “It’s been great over the last 22 years that I have served, and I would like to see that continue.”
Currently, Rasmussen serves on the Finance Committee and is chairman of the Personnel Committee.
“I think experience is very important,” he said.
He beileves the biggest asset he brings to the board is his willingness to listen.
“I am willing to listen to all parties involved before I make a decision,” he said. “Some people shoot from the hip, and I don’t think that that is the wisest way to go.”
He believes there have been large improvements in the downtown area, as far as buildings being filled.
“There is still some that needs to be done, but it is much better,” he said. “Now we have some work to do over at Taylor Field.”
Rasmussen believes that in order to make the area grow, there is a need for an industrial park.
“We have talked about it as a board over the past 15 years,” he said. “Not everyone is in favor of this idea. But in order to make this area grow, we need to bring industry to the area, so that we have a larger employment base. The more people you get here, the better it is for the community as a whole.”
He, too, thinks Iola is a great place.
“The people are the most important part,” he said. “This is a caring community.”
Briquelet, an incumbent, is a long-time resident of Iola and mother of two daughters who works at F+W Media as the business manager for the production department.
“I was asked to fill in for Betty Finch’s term when she wasn’t able to complete it,” said Briquelet. “I have had the pleasure of serving on the board for about 2 1/2 years now.”
She has served as the chair of the Parks Committee, as well as serving on the Finance Committee.
“My project for the year is the remodeling of the bathrooms at the park, and I wanted to see this through,” she said.
Briquelet believes her financial background is another asset she brings to the board.
“I have a strong financial background from my employment at F+W, so I am always trying to weigh economic considerations with the needs of the community,” she said.
In addition to furthering her work at the park, Briquelet wants to see the development of a Sustainability Committee.
“By devolving a Sustainability Committee, it will help preserve our wonderful area and the continued improvements in the park,” she said.
She believes the people in the area make Iola a great place.
“I enjoy being able to contribute to the betterment of the community, and I want to thank the people for allowing me to serve on this board,” she said. “I look forward to your continued support, so I can continue the work I started.”
Timdal has lived in the Iola-Scandinavia area for most of her life.
“I decided to run for the village board as a way of giving back to the community, for all they have given me,” she said. “With my experiences, I believe I have some of the qualifications that are needed.”
Timdal believes her love of the community makes her a good candidate.
“I lived here most of my life, and I am an active part of the community,” she said. “I have a good network of friends and family, great communication skills and I really care about what is going on.”
She wants to see some changes with the Lake Iola Lake District and area parks.
“I would like to see the lake district do something different with our lake; we have quite a problem,” she said. “This is one of our community’s assets, along with our park systems. We have two beautiful parks that could be updated or upgraded. Our village garden is also important. It’s a nice place to go and for our kids to learn about gardening.”
Timdal believes she would be good at listening to community members.
“My ears will be open,” she said. “I have already had people coming to me with their views and ideas.”
She thinks it would be an honor to serve the community.
“I will do the best I can do and be the best that I can be,” Timdal said.