Wednesday, March 10, 2004
POLK COUNTY -- Brian Hewitt wants to get ordinary people involved in the political process.
He sees his grass-roots candidacy for county commissioner as the perfect start.
Hewitt entered the race March 3. He changed his registration from independent to Republican.
Hewitt grows produce and raises paint horses on a family farm with his wife JoHanna. The couple have five children between 6 months and 13 years old.
As a commissioner, Hewitt said he would restore residents' trust in county government. "The citizens of Polk County deserve another option other than career politicians and lawyers to represent them," he said.
Hewitt wants to focus on how the county manages its water resources. "Every citizen in Polk County should have access to quality, affordable water."
Some people truck water to their homes, Hewitt said. "That's an outrage. We're not a third-world country."
Polk County's highways need serious attention, Hewitt said, particularly highways 99 and 22. Changes to those highways should be made delicately, he said.
Hewitt wants to balance the needs of industry; agriculture; city and county residents; fire, police and emergency medical service access to the highways.
If elected, Hewitt said he would reach out to county residents by having frequent and meaningful public meetings. He feels county officials should make more of an effort to reach out to residents when changes in a road or bridge affect them.
"People need to be informed and part of the process of making decisions."
Hewitt considers himself a straight shooter. "My campaign is grass-roots and I have no political agenda or special interest groups to represent," he said.
"I don't have my personal ax to grind and I ain't politically correct."
Although he has never held political office, Hewitt feels his life and business experience prepare him for a job as county commissioner. He said his farm operates without debt or farm welfare.
"I understand what it takes to make something run and operate in the black."
Solving the county's problems takes more than politics, Hewitt said. It requires every group of people in Polk County.
"We're like men and women in a sinking boat," he said.
"The answer is not to cannibalize people or push people over, but to work together as a community, repair the boat as a community and continue the journey we're on."