Sheriff candidates assure churches, firearm owners constitutional rights

David Turpen, left, and Alex Pruismann talk about the position of Hamilton County sheriff during a Republican debate Tuesday at Webster City High School. The two candidates will be on the GOP primary ballot June 4.

Alex Pruismann and David Turpen, candidates for the Hamilton County Sheriff, took the stage before a light crowd Tuesday at the Prem Sahai Auditorium in a debate sponsored by the Hamilton County Republican Party.

The two Republicans face the June 4 primary, both wanting to replace retiring Sheriff Doug Timmons. Just under 50 people attended the forum.

State Rep. Phil Thompson, R-48, chairman of the House Public Safety committee and a Boone County resident, was moderator.

“We’ve got two really great candidates here,” he said, opening the evening.

Pruismann, a deputy in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, served as a patrolman for the Iowa Falls Police Department prior to joining the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office.

Turpen is chief of the Ellsworth, Jewell and Stanhope Police Department. He was a deputy with Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office from 2007 until 2020.

Pruisman lives in Blairsburg; Turpen lives in Webster City.

The importance of taking on the leadership role of sheriff was reflected in the first questions.

“I think being accessible is a very good quality, and to lead by example,” Turpen said.

Pruismann said, “It’s important to cultivate more leaders that are underneath of you. So we want to give anyone who is an employee a chance to better themselves, which will better the department. We can only be as good as the weakest link.”

The evening’s questions also focused on community engagement.

When asked if the Hamilton County DARE program, the School Walk Throughs and High Five Friday programs would be continued, there was little dispute.

Pruismann said, “I am probably the biggest proponent of the DARE program. The relationship you get from the kids is something that is so rewarding and that is something that will never stop.”

Turpen concurred.

“I have to agree with Mr. Pruismann; the kids are our hope for the future,” he said. “People need to see us out at whatever events they have.”

When asked what the most important issue that needs to change at the sheriff’s department, mental health took center stage.

“For me, being a deputy already at the office, I would like to boost morale, No. 1,” Pruismann said. “We need to be more respectful and we have to be more open about the issues we have with each other in the department.”

Once again, Turpen concurred.

“I have to agree with Mr. Pruismann that there are some morale issues, but … no matter where you are there is always some issues with morale. I think we need more cooperation between the departments.

“I think if we can work to improve our cooperation with outside agencies, like the Webster City Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, the schools, the cities themselves, in general, I think people will be happier. And just getting together and talking about our differences; we’re all people. We’re not perfect. If we can just get together and work it out.”

Some of the evening’s questions prompted both men to reflect on the importance of following the United States Constitution. The final two asked if they would enforce laws that required them to shut down churches or to collect guns from Hamilton County citizens.

Both replied quickly.

“Absolutely not,” was Turpen’s response.

“No!” Pruismann said.

The candidates answered questions developed by the Republic Party Central Committee in addition to questions submitted by the audience. The debate was live streamed on the Facebook page for the Hamilton County Republican Central Committee, and continues to be available to view on that site.

Speaking after the debate was Kevin Virgil who is running for Congress in opposition of Rep. Randy Feenstra, of Iowa’s 4th District.

Candidates April Ely and Mary Clausen were given time to speak.

Ely is running for the District 2 seat which is being vacated by Supervisor Dan Campidilli’s expected retirement at the end of 2024.

Clausen is running for the District 1 seat opposing sitting Supervisor Jerry Kloberdanz, a Democrat.


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