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SIOUX CITY | Republicans Jeff VanDerWerff, Skyler Wheeler and Kevin Van Otterloo are vying to become the party's nominee for the Iowa House District 4 position.

District 4 covers most of the Republican stronghold of Sioux County, including the cities of Sioux Center, Orange City, Rock Valley and Hawarden. Since no Democrat has filed for the seat, the winner of the June 7 GOP primary is all but guaranteed to sail to a two-year term in the November general election.

The seat is being vacated by state Rep. John Kooiker, R-Boyden, who is retiring after serving one term.

District voters had a chance to hear from the three candidates during three public forums.

KEVIN VAN OTTERLOO

Party: Republican

Age: 57

Residence: Rock Valley

Occupation: Owner of Vans Marketplace Foods in Rock Valley.

Electoral experience: Mayor of Rock Valley since 2013; previously served on the City Council for 10 years.

Two Main Issues for 2016:

1. Abortion: We need to continue to do everything we can to eliminate abortions and defund Planned Parenthood.

2. Economy: We need state, county and city governments to work together to make Iowa a place for business to flourish. We need to have a balanced budget, by cutting spending and reducing taxes on residential and commercial properties.

Why Vote For Me: "My many years of involvement in local government and in the business world have provided valuable experience and have displayed my conservative values daily. I’ve proven my ability to make tough decisions and lead. Through my upbringing right here in this district, along with many lessons I’ve learned along the way, I am prepared to represent this district with integrity and respect."

SKYLER WHEELER

Party: Republican

Age: 23

Residence: Orange City

Occupation: Account representative, Staples Promotional Products in Orange City

Electoral experience: First run for public office

Two Main Issues for 2016:

1. Protecting unborn, innocent life from conception to natural death and protecting our religious liberty.

2. Defending our Second Amendment rights and instituting Stand Your Ground legislation in Iowa.

Why Vote For Me: "I am the most conservative candidate in this race as evidenced by endorsements from The Family Leader, Clarice Alons and Rep. John Kooiker. My views best mirror those of Sioux County and I'm able to add a fresh voice to the debate. My support spans generations as I've also been endorsed by Steve Kelly, chairman of the Dordt College Republicans, and Zara Trigg, a high school student who organized Sioux County's Generation Joshua Club."

JEFF VANDERWERFF

Party: Republican

Age: 55

Residence: Orange City

Occupation: Northwestern College government and public policy professor

Electoral Experience:

Two Main Issues for 2016:

1. Will seek a seat on the House Education Committee to improve the state's education performance.

2. Focus on fiscal and regulatory concerns. Sioux County has enviable agriculture sales and economic diversity. To the extent possible, it should be protected and preserved, not to mention encouraged.

Why vote for me? "My relational abilities and skill set dovetails nicely with the representative role... I've earned the trust of my colleagues and have been selected to serve as faculty president as well as our representative to the board, among other leadership positions. They know I'll listen to them, even when some of us disagree, and I work hard. I'm also a pragmatic conservative who recognizes that politics is ultimately the art of what's possible."

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County and education reporter

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