Candidate Questions

Primary elections for county and statewide races are set for June 4. Candidates shared their views on the upcoming race with The Herald.



Tom Clark

Name and Hometown: Tom Clark, currently reside in Harpers Ferry.  Born and raised in Waukon.  

Education: BA Computer Science, UNI,  MS Computer Information Technology, Capella

Occupation:  Assistant Manager at Dollar Fresh in Waukon

What are the three biggest issues you see facing your constituents?

1.  Need for affordable housing.  All levels of government in Allamakee County need to continue to work together to encourage the development of more housing options.

2. Better opportunities for employment.  The best way convince people to stay in Allamakee County, or to come here to live, is to provide opportunities for a full life - including their careers.

3. Better quality of life.  We live at an amazing time and we no longer have to toil non-stop for our survival.  Making sure that the people who live here, and those who come to visit, can enjoy their leisure time is important for all of us.

Why are you running?  Several people reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in using my experience to help keep Allamakee County moving in the right direction.  I think this is one of the most beautiful places in the country so the opportunity to help keep it that way was very attractive.



Paul Wagner

Name and Hometown: My name is Paul Wagner, and I am running for Allamakee County Sheriff as a Republican candidate.

I have been a life-long resident of Allamakee County. I grew up on a dairy and beef farm between Lansing and Harpers Ferry. I am the son of Ray and Bonnie Wagner. 

My wife, Jessica, and I live in Waukon along with our four children, Kylie, Zach, Brias, and Vienna. My wife and I own Aztec Parlor in Waukon, which was opened in 2021. 

I have worked in law enforcement full-time for nearly 20 years at the New Albin Police Department (2004- 2007) and Waukon Police Department (2007- present). I also worked part-time at the Lansing Police Department and Postville Police Department. 

Education: I graduated from Lansing Kee High School in 2003. I attended the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston Iowa in 2005. I graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette Iowa on December 22, 2013, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. 

Occupation: I am currently the Police Chief (4 ½ yrs.) at the Waukon Police Department. Previously, I was the Assistant Police Chief (nearly 5 yrs.) I have been an officer at the Waukon Police Department since 2007. 

What are the three biggest issues you see facing your constituents?

1. Mental health has always been a concern for citizens of Allamakee County as well as throughout Iowa. I am deeply committed to addressing mental health as it is an ever-changing challenge. I will work closely with stakeholders to ensure that this issue is always being worked on and new solutions are being created. For example, I will work to establish a local on-call volunteer program that provides peer support to those that need it. There are times when an individual needs someone, possibly a neutral party, to listen to them and talk through their difficulties without necessarily seeking professional services. 

2. School safety is also a matter that I take seriously. I have made it a policy, as the Chief of Police at the Waukon Police Department, to patrol school areas during morning student drop-off and afternoon pickup in Waukon. 

As your potential Sheriff, I envision a plan to encompass all schools and law enforcement agencies within our county. It is imperative that we fortify the safety and security of every educational institution in Allamakee County, ensuring our children feel protected and secure as they pursue their academic endeavors. This means forming collaboration among law enforcement agencies, school administrators, and community stakeholders to craft tailored safety plans for each school, addressing their specific needs and challenges head-on.

3. Finally, communication is an important topic that continuously needs attention and evaluation as time and technology progress. 

Communication with citizens is essential in successfully providing safety services to our citizens. I plan to host annual meet and greet events where citizens can ask questions and learn about updates. I also want to utilize technology (with no government restrictions) that we can notify citizens of concerns or make other necessary public notifications. 

Emergency communication and equipment also needs to work flawlessly. When seconds count, citizens, and law enforcement, alike, expect nothing less than that. I am aware of several instances where emergency communications were not functioning properly, which is alarming to me. I will work diligently to repair and maintain our current communication infrastructure with as little impact on the taxpayers as possible. Further, there is cutting-edge technology that we should be utilizing to minimize response time. Live 911, for example, allows first responders to hear live 9-11 calls, giving them a quicker response and allowing them to get instant updates regarding the emergency at hand.

Finally, I will work with all emergency response agencies to ensure that we have cohesion in decision-making, gain valuable perspective from all stakeholders, and train together so that responses to critical incidents are uniform and effective.

What is the first action you would take/ordinance you would sponsor/et al. if elected?

I would immediately begin discussions with Allamakee County deputies to obtain information regarding their schedules so that I could gain insight to make a smooth transition into 24-hour patrol coverage in Allamakee County. Currently there are four hours each day that there is no coverage and off-duty deputies are on-call. This means that the on-call deputy may have to drive from one end of the county to the other to get to the emergency. When seconds count during an emergency, our citizens expect help to be on the way quickly. 

With 24-hour coverage, I am committed to fostering strong partnerships with the police departments across Allamakee County. By working hand-in-hand with these agencies, we can provide seamless support and assistance during their off-duty hours, further enhancing our overall patrol coverage. 

It’s also important for citizens to know that this plan will not result in higher expenses or an increase in property taxes. 

Why are you running?

I am running for Allamakee County Sheriff because I believe that I have a well-rounded knowledge and experience of law enforcement and what it takes to be effective while also being conscious of the taxpayers’ money. I have used long-term budgeting and planning at the Waukon Police Department to advance equipment, training, and practices. I believe this has increased our professionalism, as a department, to provide the services and safety that our citizens expect and deserve. I want to increase the professionalism of the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office in the same manner. I have more information regarding my plans at



Clark Mellick

Name and Hometown:

My name is Clark Mellick and I was born an raised in Allamakee County on the family farm. My wife Sheila and I reside in Waukon. 

Education: I am a graduate of Waukon High School and have earned an Associate of Applied Arts degree in Police Sciences from Hawkey Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration through Upper Iowa University. I am a 2004 graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. I also hold numerous certifications through training while employed with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office.

Occupation: I am currently serving my third term as the Allamakee County Sheriff. I began my career with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 as a Deputy Sheriff and was elected Sheriff in 2012. As a Sheriff’s Deputy and Sheriff, I have nearly twenty years of knowledge and experience in county law enforcement operations in Allamakee County with twelve of those as Sheriff. 

What are the three biggest issues you see facing your constituents?

Public Safety has been and continues to be the number one priority for me as Allamakee County Sheriff. Throughout my career I have gained valuable experience in county law enforcement operations which include criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, accident and death investigations, illegal narcotics investigations, civil procedure, operation of the E911 dispatch center, operation of the county jail and court related functions. This experience has provided me with the knowledge needed to provide leadership to effectively manage the responsibilities of the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office. 

When scheduling deputies, there are many factors to be considered that include call volume times, number of deputies, time off for vacation, illness, officer fatigue, court duties, out of county transports, training, equipment costs and available budget while keeping public safety a priority. The current schedule allows these factors to be met. Changes to scheduling often result in increased staffing numbers, which results in increasing the budget as labor is one of the largest costs associated with the budget.

The Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office provides 24-hour law enforcement service by utilizing two ten-hour shifts including a two-hour shift extension for deputies. This scheduling is used to provide for better coverage of Allamakee County by having multiple deputies working during increased call volume times. Deputies working a day shift are available for immediate response for two hours prior to patrol, while deputies working a night shift are available for immediate response for two hours following patrol. All sheriff’s deputies are required to live within Allamakee County and are subject to call back at anytime during emergencies. Deputies living in various locations throughout the county can result in a deputy being closer to the incident than a deputy who may be patrolling a location on the other end of the county. This also allows better coverage by having more deputies on patrol during high volume call times. This has been a scheduling practice used within the Sheriff’s Office for many years due to the consideration of budget and low call volume times. Deputies may at any time be required to patrol varied shift hours when specific times and locations are required to address needs. As Sheriff, I will continue to evaluate scheduling needs and address this through planning and budgeting.

Addressing mental health concerns has been an ongoing challenge for Allamakee County. I have been involved in planning and delivery of services through collaboration with providers and stakeholders throughout my career and have found the greatest obstacle can be locally available services. Fortunately, we have begun to see the addition of mental health services becoming available locally through Veterans Memorial Hospital and other service agencies. I will continue to work with providers to support them from the Sheriff’s Office to meet those needs. Upon identifying the need to access mental health services for individuals that have become involved in the judicial system, these are being provided within the county jail. These services are provided through telehealth which provides stabilization through counseling and medication management. We are reaching out to providers and plan to expand substance abuse services also.

Funding is a key component to providing adequate treatment options locally for individuals. Without adequate funding of treatment programs, treatment is often delayed or even unavailable. Other components following stabilization should include community base programming and support services to provide continued monitoring of treatment plans. By funding community-based programs, this will allow the individual increased success. I will continue to advocate for funding and the expansion of local mental health services to address this issue.

As budgets are tightening, we will be required to operate through innovative thinking and planning to find cost effective solutions to meet current and future needs. As Sheriff, I have proven to be fiscally responsible by working closely with the Allamakee County Supervisors to plan and implement a budget and work within that budget to provide for public safety that includes the operations of the Allamakee County E-911 dispatch center and jail. I have continued to advance the operations of the Sheriff’s Office through planning and implementation within an approved budget. This has included the Allamakee County Public Safety Center build and technology projects to meet the current and future needs of public safety. I will continue to work to identify and address needs using cost effective solutions for maintenance, repair and replacement of systems and equipment.  I understand the county budget and realize that the dollars spent come from the taxpayer and it is my responsibility as Sheriff to be a good steward of the tax dollar.

Recruitment of staff for the positions of deputy sheriff’s, telecommunicators and jail personnel continues to be a challenge due to a decline in interested applicants for those positions. As Sheriff, I have worked with schools and colleges to provide career information and participate with site internships for students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. This gives students the opportunity to see all aspects of law enforcement, dispatching and jailing with the hopes of returning to a career with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office.

What is the first action you would take/ordinance you would sponsor/et al. if elected?

Throughout my career with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office, I have observed a need for the availability of local mental health services in Allamakee County. 

As Sheriff, I have continued to work to advocate for the need for more local access to mental health services. Due to limited funding and our location, rural counties have struggled to provide adequate resources to meet these needs. A key component is funding of programs for treatment options to be provided locally. Without adequate funding of treatment services, critical care is often delayed or even unavailable. 

Other key components following stabilization should include community-based programming and support services to provide continued monitoring of treatment plans to allow the individual increased success in the community. I will continue to collaborate with local providers to address needs. I will continue to advocate for funding for the expansion of local services by addressing these concerns with our state and local officials and community leaders.

Why are you running?

I have been deeply dedicated to providing service to the people through hard work and compassion. When I began my career with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 as a deputy sheriff, I was able to work closely with the Sheriff at that time to advance the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. In 2012 upon the retirement of the Sheriff, I felt that seeking the office of Sheriff would be the next step in my career to continue to move the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office forward to address the needs of public safety in a leadership role. I have had the pleasure to serve with and provide leadership of the men and women of the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office who dedicate themselves to service of the public day in and day out and thank them for their support.

If re-elected as Allamakee County Sheriff, I will continue to perform the duties of Sheriff to the best of my ability by providing leadership to meet the needs of the people of Allamakee County. With your support, I look forward to continuing to serve you as Sheriff. I may be contacted at (563) 794-1062 with questions. Thank you.


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