Two more join race

Two more candidates have joined the race for City Council of Webster City. That means a total of six local residents are seeking three seats on the council.

John Hawkins and Mark Gillette are the latest candidates to announce their intentions to run in the Nov. 5 election. They join Matt McKinney, Logan Welch Healther Kierzek and incumbent Linda Conaway.

John Hawkins

Local businessman John Hawkins was born in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia and was the fourth generation in Hawkins Road Transport, a family company where he worked for 21 years. Hawkins said the company went from being a small general carrier to one of the largest in Queensland.

“I came to America on a two week vacation in 1996 and stayed for 10 months,” he said. He moved to Des Moines in 1998 and moved to Stanhope in 1999.

“I met my wife Marcia the same year. We where married in 2000 and I moved to Webster City, Hawkins said.

“I still tell any who ask why I haven’t gone back to Australia it’s because I like Webster City. If I still lived in Des Moines, I would have moved back years ago,” he said.

Hawkins became an American citizen in 2008 and started Hawkins Industries Inc. in 2001. He started the company as a driveway company, mainly delivering concrete trucks for Housby Mack in Des Moines.

Hawkins said he started buying buildings and apartments in town as time went by and was also dismantling concrete trucks and doing site cleanup for other companies nationwide. Their children have been helping in the business for years.

He and his wife have 7 children and soon will have 8 grandchildren.

“I was asked to run for City Council a few times in the last 4 years but felt I was I was not at home enough to give it my all. I now am able to have the time to run for City Council and have a fresh outside view of our town and where I would like to see it in the future.”

Mark Gillette

Former Councilman Mark Gillette has announced his intentions to seek a seat on the City Council.

Gillette said his primary concerns are what he says is lack of transparency between city hall and the citizens; the high cost of electricity and the what he terms “unorthodox” methods of calculating cost as well as using the electric reserves as a “slush fund and investing those funds into highly speculative businesses.”

“Not long ago, all council meetings were televised, but under the guise of budget concerns, only two meetings a month are now available on Channel 12,” he said. “Not all citizens are able to attend meetings and there is nothing more important than a well-informed citizen.”

Gillette said the method of calculating electric bills was changed several years ago.

“What was promised and what was delivered are two different outcomes. A large base rate and a flow-through (wholesale) plus 1/2 cents never happened,” he said. “We need to return to fair and equitable rate setting by professionals to be competitive with other towns.”

Gillette said he was also concerned about the city investing in business loans and investments, using taxpayer money.

“If the banks are willing to loan, the city doesn’t need to. If the banks won’t loan, why should the city?” he said.

Gillette, a real estate investor, said he has lived in Webster City most of his life. He served on the City Council from 2004 until Nov. 2009 when he resigned his seat.