SIOUX CITY -- Fresh off their convincing wins to new four-year terms, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors members Matthew Ung and Jeremy Taylor said they'll continue to advocate for taxpayers and county government accountability in the year ahead.
Both men, who are Republicans from Sioux City, got just above 55 percent of the Tuesday vote to defeat two Democrats, Flora Lee and Carter Smith, also of Sioux City. On Wednesday in mulling through Woodbury County results and their months of campaigning, Taylor and Ung said voters responded to their records of reducing the property tax rates and other moves.
Ung, a 30-year-old office manager at Foot & Ankle Clinic in Sioux City, said he was proud of a second win by a double-digit percentage.
"I presented a holistic picture of promises kept in several areas of county government, proving that a diligent county supervisor is an electable county supervisor. I hoped and trusted my record would speak for itself, and I'm so grateful that the people of Woodbury County were listening," Ung said.
In his summary, Taylor said, "Without straight ticket voting and with an independent-minded electorate, I truly believe voters took the whole of what we have been able to do on taxes, transparency/accessibility, and creative solutions so that it was not a single-issue campaign."
Two other county offices were set Tuesday. Mike Clayton was picked to serve a third term as county treasurer, after defeating Bruce Garbe, and County Attorney P.J. Jennings won re-election in unopposed fashion.
With the wins, there will be some consistency in the people serving as county supervisors. Of the five supervisors who held office prior to the 2014 election, all had retired or been swept out office by the subsequent election, making for county board members who were low on the tenure curve.
But the two years through 2020 will have the same five county supervisors serving, making for four years of stability, with Ung and Taylor, plus Marty Pottebaum, Keith Radig and Rocky De Witt.
Taylor and Ung won on a night when other Republicans didn’t fare as well in Woodbury County. J.D. Scholten, a Democrat, got more county votes than incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve King in the Iowa 4th congressional district race, and Jackie Smith, a former Democratic county supervisor, ousted two-term state Sen. Rick Bertrand in District 7.
While Ung and Taylor pointed to their records, challengers Lee, a former Sioux City School Board member, and first-time candidate Smith at various points of the campaign spoke against the incumbents' support for moving Woodbury County to a new regional group to deliver mental health services to low-income people and others.
At the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year next summer, Woodbury County will exit the Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services and join Rolling Hills Community Services Region, which has seven counties lying more easterly. Taylor and Ung had criticized the working relationship within Sioux Rivers.
On Wednesday, Ung said the Democrats "turned out to be single-issue candidates on the issue of mental health regions rather than on the care itself. Not only that, but it was an issue already decided by the board after long years of legal counsel and open meeting discussions."
On that topic, Taylor said, "voters saw through a lot of misrepresentation by being able to be presented with facts."
Taylor, 40, is an energy and environmental specialist for Sioux City School District and former state legislator. He said his top two goals for 2019 include building infrastructure such as roads in a financially responsible way and to "help lead a smooth transition" into Rolling Hills.
Ung said he aims to "govern with integrity" and "moral consistency" and in the next year to prioritize county projects to pursue through long-term planning.
The positions held by De Witt, Radig and Pottebaum will go before Woodbury County voters during the November 2020 election.