Holst’s Knowledge Rivals Incumbents – NSP

Holst’s Knowledge Rivals Incumbents – NSP

[Excerpted from the North Scott Press, October 22, 2014 by Sarah Hayden. NSP.October22.2014.ScottCountySupervisorRace]

It’s hard to miss the large, impressive, campaign yard signs bearing Diane Holst’s name. They have made Scott County residents familiar with her name, despite her lack of political experience.

With an aggressive mail campaign, a web- site – dianeholst.com – and the yard signs, she wants to make sure residents know who she is.

“I’m not concerned about anything I say because I don’t change what I say. I am very specific. I want them to know about me before they make their decision. I’m even mailing to Democrats because I think I have positions that appeal across the board. I just want them to be aware that I’m out there and they can make the judgment,” she said.

Holst has never held political office or even worked on a campaign, but her level of involvement and knowledge of the political process rivals the incumbent candidates.

I became active about five years ago when I noticed my taxes were going up,” said Holst, “and I realized I didn’t understand. I didn’t even know who to call. I didn’t understand the whole structure.

“I started by going to a budget public hearing. I realized if that was going to take place and I had no clue it was going to happen, then I wasn’t going to be uninformed again. It was a personal issue that I started following,” she said.

“People need to be informed. By the time you show up at a public hearing, it’s already been in the works for five years. The first public hearing I went to, I thought they had to respond to me!”

Holst quickly learned that county business was more detailed than she had anticipated.  “Once you go to the supervisors’ meeting, you realize there are a lot of other meetings because there are boards and commissions.

Then I started going to other meetings because if you really wanted to know what was going on, you had to go where the product was being made.

If I was going to be informed, I needed to go to those. I’ve gone to about 125 meetings where county business is discussed over the last four-and-a-half years.

“But I wasn’t changing anything. I was informed, but I didn’t represent anybody be- cause I wasn’t elected. Someone said to me, ‘Diane, you know more about what’s going on than anyone, you need to run.’”

Holst is Scott County born and raised. Her parents were onion farmers in Pleasant Val- ley. She graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and has been married for 39 years to her high-school sweetheart, Dave. Together they have two children, three grandchildren, and one on the way. They moved to rural Eldridge seven years ago.

Holst works as a renewal sales support specialist for Hewlett-Packard, TS Americas Services. She manages federal accounts and has worked there for 35 years.

“My background is researching,” she said. “In order to vote on an agenda item, I want to do my own research. I’ve looked into these issues and I would have my own set of questions. You raise your voice and discuss it as a group.”

Holst said she wants to “bring people in to the property tax process so they understand what drives what piece of it, because we have moving parts.

“The levy rate is set on how much money they need for the budget and the budget has been growing every year. Our budget has doubled in the last 14 years and our population has only grown 5 percent.”

If elected, Holst would like to make county meetings more accessible to the public by streaming them live via satellite. She would also make recordings available to the public.

Furthermore, she would try to change regular meeting times from 5:00 p.m. to later, making it easier for those who work full-time to attend. Committee of the Whole meetings which are currently scheduled at 8:00 a.m. would also be moved to a more agreeable time, if she could influence a change.

“The county needs to discontinue loading their documents via scanning to a .pdf. They are not searchable documents, and no one can search the county site by a word like ‘server’ or ‘storage.’ They need to print to pdf. This will do much to promote transparency and gain trust,” she added.

Holst said she supports Scott County’s current policy that the intention of tax increment finance areas should be for blighted areas.

“That gets back to informing the public on who owns the pieces of pie. In the area of taxes, as long as you (point fingers at others) you can’t pinpoint who raised taxes. The law is the state law for tax increment finance. It’s still back to the city’s discretion and you have no power over it.

“When you give incentives, the taxpayer always pays. Until we inform people of the process we don’t fix the problem if we don’t identify it.”

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