Fairfield Ledger

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 27, 2016

Gandy intends to see all sides of issues

By NICOLE HESTER-WILLIAMS Ledger staff writer | Oct 13, 2016

As a youth, Jefferson County Board of Supervisors Democratic candidate Paul Gandy learned that when it comes to life, one is capable of setting his or her own limits.

Finishing second in his high school graduating class, he applied and was subsequently accepted to top-tier educational institutions such as Princeton University, Yale University, West Point Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy.

But it’s the day that he received his acceptance letter from Harvard University that he remembers most.

“It was April 1,” Gandy recalled. “I was sitting on a street curb waiting for the mailman.”

Four years later, he graduated from Harvard, and after working in corporate America for a while, he earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas.

“I had good support from my family and my parents,” he said.

Gandy’s father served in the U.S. Air Force for 29 years.

He jests about his mother, calling her the “chief-of-staff” who orchestrated nine family moves around the country and abroad.

“When you travel around in a military family, you see different points of view and levels of achievement — you see what’s possible,” he said.

Born in Northern California, Gandy said he chose to live in Iowa, and that he’s honored to call Jefferson County his home for the last 32 years.

Gandy has practiced consumer protection law in the county for 25 years.

If elected in November, Gandy wants to work with others to ensure a balanced county budget that covers the core services essential to the entire county’s safety and health. Gandy said safe roads, law enforcement, clean air, water, and basic human services needs are top priority.

“I’ll also support solution-driven, collaborative, and lawful efforts to tackle complex issues facing our county, use my legal expertise to identify opportunities as well as concerns for us all and be part of a team that benefits everyone in Jefferson County,” he said.

Gandy said he also wants to provide the public more access to meetings, by putting the board “on the road” at times to areas such as Packwood, Batavia and other towns.

“The board of supervisors has done a good job,” Gandy said. “They work on 42 different committees and with other elected county officials — all except one relies on the board to approve their budget. I think there are opportunities for the board to have even more effective solutions with taking advantage of different points of view. Science calls it cognitive diversity, meaning different ways of thinking and looking at similar issues can actually lead to better solutions for all.”

Gandy said he recently visited the Iowa State Association of Counties in Des Moines where he learned that, during the past 20 years, concentrated animal feeding operations had become a hot-button issue.

“I spoke with a 20-year veteran at ISAC who told me there has been much discussion about CAFOs for as long as she had been there,” he said. “She also observed in working with ISAC that fewer farmers and more attorneys were becoming county supervisors. She believes the reason for that is county government is becoming more time-consuming, and that there is more need for a legal point of view. It is more and more important for farmers to spend their time on the farm.  For me, I respect farmers. They feed the world — Iowa farmers feed the world. When it comes to county supervisors, they need someone who will hear them.”

Gandy said he had visited farmers who run various types of operations, such as those who raise livestock, with and without confinements, and that he intends to continue developing and maintaining relationships with Jefferson County producers.

“My greatest strength is to be able to see all sides of an issue,” he said. “Sometimes there are more than two sides. You must be able to see all sides. Sometimes an issue isn’t clear. Attorneys are taught to spot the issue, and from there seek a solution — your personal feelings might not be what’s right for the county.”

Gandy said there is a small group in Fairfield who is looking at the upcoming election as a way of placing people in office who could do something unconstitution about regulating CAFOs or any other business in the county.

“I believe in the rule of law and upholding and defending the state and federal constitution and I oppose any organization or group that suggests ways to circumvent the state or federal government or constitutions,” he said.  “Those who propose bypassing the legislative process via some style of community rights activism circulating, it seems to me, are also attempting to dictate their supporters’ votes. In a democracy, I believe voting is the mother of all other rights….”

Gandy said he also wants to educate the community on what the board of supervisors can and cannot do.

“You want someone on the board of supervisors who recognizes its limitations, doesn’t overpromise, understands how the legal system works, will help you keep your eye on the right ball, and brings true cognitive diversity to the board for better solutions,” he said.

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