PACKWOOD — Adrian Dickey of rural Packwood is making his first foray into the world of politics by running for the Iowa Senate District 41 seat.
Dickey is the president of Dickey Transport in Packwood, a town he knows well. He was born and raised there, attending Pekin Community Schools before graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. Upon Iowa Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’s victory over Rita Hart in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party reached out to Dickey to see if he would run to fill Miller-Meeks’s vacant seat in the Senate.
“I’ve always had an interest in running for office,” Dickey said. “I don’t view the political realm as a career choice, which is why I’m in favor of term limits and why I haven’t done a lot of politics on the local level. I felt that a person needs to serve for a short period of time so someone with fresh ideas can come in after them.”
Dickey has been in private business 26 years, working at the transportation company his grandfather Harold Dickey started in 1959. Dickey’s father, David, two uncles and an aunt purchased the business from Harold, and now Adrian is the third generation to take the reins. What was once a one-truck operation now boasts a fleet of 75 trucks.
Many clubs count Dickey among its members, such as the board of directors of the Iowa Motor Truck Association and the parish council at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fairfield. Dickey is active in the Pekin Community School District, and is past president of the Jefferson County Hospital Foundation, which he served on for nine years.
But the one organization that will be a focus of his campaign is his 29-years-and-counting membership on the Packwood Volunteer Fire Department. One of the issues Dickey plans to push if elected is increasing tax credits for volunteer first responders such as firefighters, EMS and law enforcement. He said they currently receive a $100 tax credit, which is quickly eaten up in certification fees and dues such that there’s hardly any remuneration to them at all.
“Those people are missing hundreds of hours of work and missing their kids’ birthday parties,” Dickey said. “I feel our state has taken advantage of that, but mostly because people don’t realize the hours and effort the volunteers are putting in.”
Dickey wants to offer the roughly 15,000 volunteer first responders in the state a $1,000 tax credit, which would only be eligible in years when the state posts a budget surplus.
“If passed, it would cost our taxpayers less than one-10th of 1 percent of our state’s budget,” Dickey said. “For our district, it would be a huge payback at very little cost.”
Dickey said he considers himself a “core conservative” who believes in lower taxes and is anti-abortion, pro-religion and pro-Second Amendment.
“If we continue to find ways to approach issues from a perspective of limited government, it will be to the overall benefit of our state,” he said.
The Union asked Dickey if he has agreed to participate in a forum with Democratic candidate Mary Stewart. Dickey said that, given the time constraints on him of running a business and the obligations of a father, he didn’t see how he could find the time for a forum on his schedule. Stewart has said she would welcome a forum with Dickey.
The special election between Dickey and Stewart will be next Tuesday. Only voters in Senate District 42 can participate, which includes most of Jefferson and Wapello counties, including the cities of Fairfield and Ottumwa, and all of Van Buren and Davis counties.