At the conclusion of Saturday's event, the Everett C. Brown Award was presented to this year's recipient, Amy Schleier. Past recipients that were in attendance received special recognition, including Orvil Nelson, Margaret Dozier and Sharon Witcraft.
The Brown Award is a yearly honor that was created in 1971 in memory of Everett C. Brown, who provided service to the Boone County Democrats in numerous volunteer positions from the 1930s through the '60s and served as the Boone County Democrats chairman for 25 years.
When presenting the award, Boone County Democrats Vice Chair Becky Lyon described Schleier as "someone who always shows up for what is asked with a smile on their face."
Schleier, who lives near Luther in rural Boone, has been an active Democratic volunteer for the past five years and said that her involvement is primarily due to democracy.
"Democracy is not a spectator sport. If people don't get involved, you're giving your freedom over to whoever else will get involved, so I think that it's important to be part of the team," Schleier said. "It's a fun group of people and you can talk about issues and we usually see eye-to-eye."
Throughout the evening, various items were auctioned off and a portion of the proceeds received will help support local candidates' campaign efforts.
Fifty percent of the auction's proceeds will fund the Unmet Needs Fund Program for Military Families, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In attendance at the event were State Rep. Donovan Olson, of Boone, who is seeking reelection unopposed, State Rep. Lisa Heddens, of Ames, Boone County Sheriff Ron Fehr, and Boone County Auditor Phil Meier, who is also running unopposed.
Boone County Supervisor Al Sorensen, who faces State Sen. Jerry Behn, of Boone, for the Iowa Senate District 24 seat, also attended the event, along with Boone County Supervisor candidates Tom Foster and Bill Lusher.
Olson said Republicans have two goals in the upcoming election. First, he said Republicans want undecided voters to support them. Olson said that if undecided voters are not going to vote for Republican candidates, Republicans will smear their Democratic counterparts in an attempt to persuade undecided voters to not vote at all.
"It's not just important to elect Democrats, but the policies of Democrats are far better," Olson said.
Issues for Iowa
As Heddens discussed the upcoming election, she discussed the importance of initiatives for renewable fuels and the Iowa bioeconomy. She also stressed the importance to rebuild infrastructure in Iowa, due to the severe flooding that occurred during the early summer months.
Sorensen gave an update on his campaign efforts in the Iowa Senate's 24th District. He said he has been canvassing homes throughout Boone County, and has even traveled to Grant Township in rural Webster County. One man that he held a discussion with told him that candidates never visit that area of the district. Sorensen said he explained to the man, "I'm here because I care for you and I want to serve you."
The 76-year-old Boone County Supervisor, who served in the Iowa Senate for five years in the 90s, said Republicans may attempt to use his age against him. However, he said he would not allow such a tactic to sway his desire to serve the district.
"It's been a great experience," Sorensen said. "I'm sure that Republicans are going to use my age against me. I don't care. I don't feel as old as I look."
State Sen. Herman Quirmbach, of Ames, said Boone County has strong candidates on November's ballot.
"I think we've got some really strong candidates here in Boone County," Quirmbach said. "I serve with Jerry Behn. He's a nice enough guy. But I just don't think that he has really voted in the county's interest."
Two of Behn's positions that Quirmbach noted were his votes against the School Infrastructure Local Option Tax and the Farm Progress Show Bill. Prior to allocating the funding for the Farm Progress Show, Quirmbach set up a meeting with the appropriations committee chairman and worked with Boone County Supervisor and Central Iowa Expo Vice President Mike O'Brien.
"Mike O'Brien came down to the Capitol one day and I set up a meeting with the chair of the appropriations subcommittee and got him to agree to put that last quarter million (dollars) into the budget and then Jerry voted against it," Quirmbach said.
Quirmbach said the SILO Tax is a beneficial measure for rural counties, especially those with aging facilities.
"It didn't raise any taxes. Everybody has got the 1 percent sales tax for school infrastructure, anyways. It just redistributes it more fairly. It helps in particular, the rural areas. There are school buildings in Boone County that are old and need updating. I don't know why Jerry would've voted against it; maybe he has his side of the story," Quirmbach said.
When introducing the two Boone County Supervisors candidates, event emcee and Boone County Attorney Jim Robbins commended the local board for its accomplishments.
"If you look at some of the things we've accomplished the last few years in Boone County, we need to make sure that success continues," Robbins said.
Foster, who has lived in Boone County his whole life, is retiring from a career in the parks service. However, he said he is not ready to end his service to the county.
"I'm not ready to retire. I want to continue serving my community and my county," Foster said.
Lusher, who has lived in the county for the past 25 years working for the Iowa Department of Transportation, said that growth and industrial development are possibilities in Boone County. He also stressed the importance of open communications with citizens to address any concerns.
"I will always promise to return your phone calls if you have questions or concerns. I want to work with you as a team," Lusher said.
Speaking on behalf of Barack Obama's "Campaign for Change," Boone County Field Organizer Kari Cadena discussed her experiences on the campaign.
"Six months ago, I never dreamed that I would be in Iowa," said Cadena, who came from Austin, Texas, to work on Obama's campaign.
"I've never met such a great group of people. You've all been so generous, not just to work with as people, but to get to know," Cadena said. "Thank you for welcoming me to your community. It has been an honor."
Cadena said grassroots efforts of volunteerism are a major factor in determining the overall success of a campaign as Election Day draws near. Though canvassing and phone banks often pull some people from their comfort zones, Cadena said when voters communicate with those from their communities, the efforts are usually effective.
"That's how we win elections," Cadena said.
Also in attendance at the event was Sandy Opstvedt, of Story City. Opstvedt is a union representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and she also serves on the Democratic National Committee's Executive Board, representing 13 Midwest states.
When the DNC held its convention in Denver in August, Opstvedt was present as one of Iowa's 12 superdelegates. Though she initially supported Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Opstvedt eventually declared her support for Obama when he became the party's clear nominee.
"I'm really excited and enthusiastic about it and I think that Sen. Biden being part of the ticket just really enhanced the energy level of people nationwide. I think that he's (Obama) got a remarkable chance of becoming our president and (Biden) our vice president," Opstvedt said.