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Letters to the Editor

October 25, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
Editor, I voted for Brent Heeren. I hope you will too. Continuity of a proven and capable person like Brent in the office of Tama County Attorney is important. In Iowa, law enforcement at the trial court level is not a matter of party affiliation but of established work history and the character that work demonstrates. I held that office for 10 years. After leaving it i defended cases prosecuted by Brent. To my chagrin, Brent was dogged, resourceful and successful. I won once! So i know of whereof i speak when I say Brent is a good solid fair prosecutor. Beyond that I have had the pleasure of seeing Brent the family man together with Becky (his spouse) succeeded in rearing their children to adulthood. Outside work and family Brent has been part of his church and its work with the youth found there. So you have the complete and capable candidate for the office of county attorney. All you need to do is vote for him. Jared O. Bauch Traer, Iowa

To the Editor: Voters in Tama County have a clear choice in the upcoming election for County Attorney. Brent Heeren has my support and my vote and here’s why: PRIORITIES and PROVEN RECORD. Brent has done plenty of ride alongs with law enforcement officers and he implemented an efficient and cost effective solution for handling collections which was approved by the Supervisors as a good deal for Tama County. Setting up a debt collection service in the County Attorney’s office and riding around with police officers, however, are NOT priorities. Brent’s PRIORITIES are 1) helping the youth and children of Tama County, 2) protecting citizens from violent criminals and assisting victims, and 3) managing taxpayers’ resources in a conservative, responsible manner. Brent personally handles all juvenile court cases. This includes protecting children from abuse and neglect as well as holding juvenile offenders accountable to help them become law abiding citizens as adults. Brent also works to bring career criminals to justice, expertly handling very complex and challenging cases. He doesn’t cut and run from hard work. Years ago, Brent established one of Iowa’s first Victim/Witness Coordinator positions to make sure the justice system prioritizes the needs of victims. He was presented with the 2018 Director’s Medallion Award from the Iowa Department of Public Safety for outstanding investigative and coordinating efforts in a high-profile homicide prosecution. Our family has lived, served, worshiped, and paid taxes in Tama County since 1982. Brent knows how to manage his office efficiently, keeping within the budget and still has the same number of staff as the day he started 36 years ago. Brent has a PROVEN RECORD of fairness, expertise, and success. He’s not a flashy politician who will say or do anything to get your vote. He really is just a hard-working prosecutor you can trust. So, the choice for Tama County voters is clear: Brent Heeren is dedicated to SERVICE, not simply seeking STATUS. Please join me in voting on November 6th to re-elect Brent Heeren Tama County Attorney. Becky Heeren, Toledo

Letter to the Editor: In response to Mr. Marquess’s letter to the editor published last week, I want to apologize if anyone thinks I attempted to bully Mr. Marquess. That was certainly not my intent. I would think it would be hard to bully a person running for Tama County Attorney, but I understand the truth can be brutal sometimes. I think it is also important to clarify some of the half-truths Mr. Marquess stated in his response letter. He was correct that Mr. Heeren hired me over the December 2017 and January 2018 period when Assistant County Attorney Peter Mommer took unpaid paternity leave. My understanding is that there were very few choices to fill this temporary spot, but I had been retired from private practice for over a year and acting as a Special Prosecutor at the time and was already in the Tama County system. For my two months of service, I was paid a flat fee of $8,000.00 per month before any taxes etc. were removed. On its face that seems like a lot of money for a temporary employee. What Mr. Marquess failed to mention is that the money paid was not only salary, but was also compensation for the benefits normally paid to an assistant; including health and pension benefits. Since I am a retired U.S. Navy person, I already receive health care etc. through my military benefits and did not need to be covered. Mr. Marquess also claims to be able to bring back $100,000 to the Tama County coffers implying that Mr. Heeren is squandering the opportunity. Either Mr. Marquess has no understanding of the reasons and financial aspects of the sharing agreement with Benton County and the benefits to Tama County or he is intentionally misleading people to attack Brent Heeren. Just imagine the costs involved with hiring a new employee in the Tama County Attorney’s Office to solely handle collections. Then picture the costs of that new employee’s healthcare, retirement, new office, etc. tacked onto this new employee’s salary. Simply stated, the sharing agreement with Benton County saves the taxpayers of Tama County money without burdening the County with long-term costs. It is interesting that Mr. Marquess brings up the budget reduction in the Tama County Attorney’s Office. I assume he learned of that when he was in the office in January of 2018 asking Mr. Heeren for a job. My understanding is that Brent had to say “no” because there wasn’t an opening, although I’m not sure that Mr. Marquess would have been hired even if there had been an opening. Mr. Marquess asking for a job in January is part of a pattern in his practice of law. Mr. Marquess has not had a stable law practice since becoming an attorney. He has changed jobs every 2 or 3 years since becoming an attorney. The following is from his law firm’s website regarding Mr. Marquess’s employment as an attorney: 2014 to Present: Attorney - Hinshaw, Danielson & Haney, P.C., Marshalltown, IA. •2013 to Present: Magistrate Judge - Poweshiek County, IA. (Quit this position…) •2012 to 2014: Owner/Attorney - Marquess Law Firm, P.L.C., Marshalltown, IA. •2010 to 2012: Lead Prosecutor - Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Tama, IA. •2006 to 2010: First Assistant County Attorney - Tama County Attorney’s Office, Tama, IA. •2004 to 2006: Assistant County Attorney - Marshall County Attorney’s Office, Marshalltown, IA. Mr. Marquess left out his time at the Public Defender’s Office in Marshalltown. I’m not sure why. Seven different legal positions since 2004 is not normal for a competent practicing attorney. In reviewing Mr. Marquess’s law firm’s internet website it is clear why Mr. Marquess was looking for another new job in January. His firm must have already been failing. The law firm website states that it will dissolve on November 15th, 2018. It also states that the two attorneys’ other than Mr. Marquess are moving on to new positions, but Mr. Marquess is simply listed as running for Tama County Attorney. Mr. Marquess has been a Marshall County resident for many, many years. His wife has been a Marshall County resident since she began her law practice over a decade ago. It would be reasonable to assume both of Mr. Marquess’s children were born in Marshall County and go to school there. As of March 25th, 2017, when the Marshalltown Times-Republican did a short piece on Mr. Marquess he was a staunch Marshall County resident. He stated to the paper, “Marshalltown is a wonderful place to raise a family. It is also a great place to practice law.” He also indicated his parents moved to Marshalltown to be closer to their two grandchildren. Nowhere in that article was there a mention of Tama County. No mention of a passion to change the “status quo” in Tama County. In October of 2017, Mr. Marquess bought his weekend retreat at Union Grove Lake in Tama County. Approximately a week later he registered to vote in Tama County. It is important to note that he did not move to the cabin. His family did not move to the cabin. His children did not change schools. As I pointed out before, Mrs. Marquess cannot move to Tama County because she is a District Court Judge in Marshall County. Iowa Code Section 602.6201 requires her to remain living in her District. For Mr. Marquess to hold office in Tama County he must be a Tama County resident. Partial proof of that residency is that the person be registered to vote in Tama County. To be valid to register to vote in Tama County your “primary overnight residence” must be in Tama County. The simple rule is that you can’t register to vote in a county where you don’t primarily live. It sounds fairly common sense. And yet, in his responses, Mr. Marquess has never denied that he lives primarily in Marshall County. In his supporter’s responses, they never deny that Mr. Marquess primarily lives in Marshall County. Iowa law appears to be clear that Mr. Marquess can’t serve if elected Tama County Attorney if his primary home is not in Tama County. My request on his now deleted Facebook page that he withdraw was not intended as bullying, but was intended to save everyone the pain of having to go through this process unnecessarily. It just appeared selfish to me that Mr. Marquess continues to pursue this election when he should know that he is not eligible to serve. I understand Mr. Marquess is soon to be unemployed, but that shouldn’t be a burden on the backs of Tama County voters. There is now a hearing scheduled on November 7th, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Tama County Supervisor’s Conference Room for the Tama County Auditor to hear the evidence regarding Mr. Marquess being on the voter list in Tama County. My hope is that this hearing is unnecessary. Michael Bandy Traer, Iowa



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