In the Iowa House District 4 race, incumbent Republican Dwayne Alons is running for re-election, opposed by Democrat James Van Bruggen. House District 4 comprises all of Lyon County and part of Sioux County.

Name: Dwayne Alons

Party: Republican

Age: 61

Residence: Hull

Occupation: Grain farmer

Biographical info: Boyden-Hull High School 1964 graduate, Northwestern College (Orange City) degree in 1968, master's degree from University of Arkansas, 31-year military career, retiring in 2002 as brigadier general in Iowa Air National Guard.

Electoral Experience: Five two-year Iowa House terms. Since winning a Republican Party June 1998 primary, Alons had been unopposed in fall elections until now.

Three main issues for 2008:

1. Economy

"We need to be making sure that legislators will protect the family budget over the government's budget, in resisting further tax increases."

Alons said he will focus on controlling spending, bringing the state budget growth back to the 3.5 to 5 percent typical growth, rather than the 17 percent in the last two years combined under Democratic control.

2. Business climate

Alons said there should be an easing of "business regulations that state government has imposed." Additionally, he backs a "constitutional amendment that our status will remain as a right to work state and there won't be forced union dues on people who don't choose to be a union member."

3. Education

He said K-12 schools are functioning well with local control, and the highest-performing Northwest Iowa schools should be modeled to others. Alons favors continued support for community colleges and Iowa Tuition Grant for private college students.

Why vote for me:

"I believe I bring a high level of experience. I've been involved for 10 years, been the chairman of a couple of different committees."

Alons said he will provide leadership gleaned from the military, and lessons learned in working through some tight budget years in the early 2000s.

Name: James Van Bruggen

Party: Democrat

Age: 25

Residence: Sioux Center

Occupation: Sales for Legend Marketing in Orange City

Biographical info: George-Little Rock High School 2001 graduate, political science degree from Iowa State University, paid staffer for the John Edwards presidential campaign, legislative assistant for a Burlington state representative.

Electoral Experience: First run for electoral office

Three main issues for 2008:

1. Education, since Iowa's small schools are struggling to fend off consolidations.

Van Bruggen is glad Iowa teaching salaries were raised with 2007 action, but said there should be more funding for all educational institutions -- K-12 schools, community colleges and universities, along with aiding private college students by increasing the Iowa Tuition Grant.

2. Transportation.

Those living in the rural district have long commutes for jobs and road funding is insufficient to keep up with highway needs. He said the funding pieces for highways enacted in 2008 fell short of Iowa Department of Transportation projected needs, so all funding mechanisms should be discussed again.

"They passed a Band-Aid for what needs to have surgery."

3. Natural resource preservation

The state should promote more conservation areas and devote all hunting and fishing license fees to the Resource Enhancement and Protection program, instead of the current partial placing of the fees into REAP, Van Bruggen said.

Why vote for me:

"I've got experience on the important issues from working in the Iowa House" as a legislative aide.

Being relatively young is not a concern, Van Bruggen said, since in campaigning people have said they like seeing a younger candidate. Plus, he said, House Minority Leader Christopher Rants won his first term at age 25.