A six-term Democrat proud of his centrist efforts in the Iowa statehouse faces a three-term alderman who wants to take his Davenport City Council experiences to Des Moines for the Iowa House District 89 seat.
Incumbent Jim Lykam takes on Republican Bill Edmond as both say voters in the west-central Davenport district are most concerned about economic issues, ranging from jobs to gas prices.
Because of redistricting, part of the district is new to Lykam, who said he’s not taking his incumbency for granted, having knocked on 6,000 doors so far in the campaign before the Nov. 6 election.
“People seem to have recognized me,” he said. “You’re never comfortable; when you’re
comfortable, you lose.”
People are recognizing Edmond, too, for his service as 2nd Ward alderman on the Davenport City Council. He wants to talk about state issues, but often ends up taking time to chat about city issues, too.
“That is something that will slow me down,” he said of campaigning. “They are concerned with the same concerns I am: these unfunded mandates coming down from Des Moines and affecting the city of Davenport.”
Lykam worries that solving economic problems will get lost in the hue and cry over social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.
“I’ve cut a pretty centrist reputation up there,” the Democrat said. “I think the people send you up there not to be in gridlock, but to pass legislation and move Iowa forward.”
Edmond thinks his experience as an alderman will serve the district and the state well. He has helped craft budgets and has seen how legislation enacted in Des Moines affects cities.
“We need more people who have sat down and prepared a budget at a local level,” he said. “They do a good job, but they aren’t too keenly aware of the ramifications or repercussions they send to the cities.
“We need more ex-local officials there,” Edmond said. “I can’t drive that home enough.”
He wants to work with the state’s largest cities in crafting business property tax rollback that works for cities and property owners.
Lykam is concerned about the future of mental-health funding, saying he’s viewed it from a public safety standpoint and considers a cut to funding “penny wise and pound foolish.”
“In this era of cutting government, it is not a good cut,” he said.