Diane Hammell and Linda Schmitt are both vying for a four-year term for the Manchester City Council at-large seat and were both given the opportunity to answer the following questions.

Incumbent Mary Ann Poynor will be running unopposed for a four-year term for the second ward seat.

Diane Hammell

Q: Tell us some background information about yourself.

A: I am a lifelong northeast Iowa resident and have lived in Manchester for 43 years. I had a 38-year career in banking, retiring from my position as chief financial officer at F&M Bank in 2016. For the past five years, I have been working at the Blessed Trinity Cluster in Manchester as a bookkeeper/payroll clerk.

Q: Why are you running for this seat?

A: As someone that believes in community service and in giving back, I felt this would be an opportunity to continue serving. Most recently I served as board president for the Good Neighbor Society. I have also served on the Castle Theatre Board, St. Mary’s Finance Council and was the co-chair of the Manchester Whitewater Park capital campaign. Currently, I am serving on the Library Board and Board of Adjustment for the city. I believe that my experience would bring value to the city council. I understand the need to listen, to learn and am not afraid to ask questions.

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the challenges facing Iowans today, and as an elected official, how can you help Iowans facing those challenges?

A: I feel current challenges that Iowans and Manchester are facing are a skilled workforce and retaining young people/families to our state and community along with maintaining fiscal responsibility to our citizens.

Q: Anything else you would like voters to know heading into the election?

A: Manchester has been a great community for me to live. I appreciate the great leadership we have had from our city officials. I feel that Manchester is a growing community with a lot to offer. I would like to be a part of that vision.

Linda Schmitt

Q: Tell us some background information about yourself.

A: I was raised north of Manchester. I have resided here for the past 36 years with husband, Jay, and son, Mark. I graduated class of 1979 at West Delaware and worked at Hendersons in sales and purchasing. I was employed at Rockwell for 20 years. I became an entrepreneur in 1983 opening U-Pick Schmitt Strawberry Farm near Dyersville. After five years, young, motivated employees were hard to find and our aged customers could no longer pick, so we closed. For the past 30 years, I have been owner/business manager of our rental properties in Manchester.

Q: Why are you running for this seat?

A: I am running for the City Council seat because I care about Manchester and its residents. Manchester does have some good amenities to offer. But Manchester has a spending problem and lots of debt. I feel that I would be an asset to the council as each expense would be evaluated to see if it is necessary. We need to maintain what we already have. I have talked to many citizens and most think the city spending is out of control. Manchester needs to grow responsibly.

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the challenges facing Iowans today, and as an elected official, how can you help Iowans facing those challenges?

A: We are living in very challenging times in Iowa and all around the country. Many employers cannot find enough employees to fulfill their needs. Operating shorthanded is the new norm. Some businesses are open for limited hours or have closed completely. As an elected official I would lobby the schools to offer more internships that wouldn’t require getting a college degree. Several employers in the Manchester area have had interns train with them and it has worked out great. Another challenging issue is the raising of property taxes. As I go door to door (around 200 so far) voters have expressed to me that they don’t have any idea of how their tax dollars are being spent. We all work hard for our money to support the city. We request due diligence to be done. If I am elected I won’t forget that the funds belong to the taxpayer. I would provide transparency and accountability. Public forums should be held for citizens to inform them of what exactly the city proposes to do with the increase in revenue they are seeking.

Q: Anything else you would like voters to know heading into the election?

A: Manchester is a great place to raise a family. Our schools are exceptional. Manchester has an aquatic center and many nice parks. Aside from all Manchester has to offer, it also has issues. In my opinion, the biggest issue is our debt. In 2005 the city of Manchester debt was $2.4 million, now it has grown to $12 million plus. Where is the money being spent? This needs to be addressed. If I am elected I will examine all expenditures to verify they are essential. Working together we can get Manchester financially secure. We have to live within our needs.

— Compiled by Dylan Kurt