Osceola Mayor Fred Diehl was graced with the presence of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, former Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell and former Iowa Senator, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge spoke during a fundraiser for Diehl’s campaign for Iowa state representative Monday at The Loft, formerly Southern Hills Winery.
During the event, Judge, Harkin and Boswell spoke of their experiences with Diehl throughout the years, as well as their thoughts of him as state representative.
Diehl has been active in politics since high school.
“It started way back when I was in high school,” Diehl said. “I ran for secretary of agriculture, but I didn’t have enough votes. So, I went to another guy who I thought did and I said, ‘I’ll swing my 90 votes to you if you appoint me when you get elected.’ He got elected, and he appointed me assistant secretary of agriculture.”
Diehl has been mayor of Osceola for 18 years, and said he has always wanted to pursue a position as a representative for the state of Iowa.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” Diehl said of running for state representative. “(Leonard) Boswell, he called me up and tried to talk me into it. Also, Mark Smith, who is another state representative from Marshalltown, he called me and wanted me to do it, so I said yes.”
“I’m for public education,” Diehl said. “I’m for expanding the middle class by getting more skilled people in skilled opportunities. ... I’m monitoring the lake project, and I want to see another passenger train go through from Omaha to Chicago.”
Diehl is a strong supporter of the lake project.
The 816-acre lake being built could provide 2.2 million gallons of water per day, which would be more water supply for Osceola and Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) since West Lake, the current water source, doesn’t meet the needs of Clarke County and SIRWA.
The total cost for the reservoir is estimated at $37.6 million, and funding includes many sources, especially local-option sales tax.
Public education is also something Diehl strongly supports.
According to Diehl, money has been taken away from the local public school system, and instead is being given to private schools or those who homeschool.
“There’s been several bills to take away or decrease the amount of money going to public schools, and I don’t think that should happen,” Diehl said.
Diehl stands for expanding the middle class in the area.
“By expanding the middle class, you’re providing these opportunities for the skilled market ... through the area community colleges,” Diehl said. “I think that’s a great opportunity.”
Diehl also wants to see another Amtrak train go through Osceola. The train, which might run from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago, Ill., would bring more people to the area.
The fundraiser was the beginning of Diehl’s representative campaign.
“It’s wonderful. I enjoy it,” Diehl said. “It’s my bag. I like to talk to people. I like to see different people, so I thoroughly enjoy it.”
Diehl said he has been to several parades thus far, and has talked with many people one-on-one.
“It’s kind of tiring,” Diehl said. “Pretty hard work.”