The majority of Jackson County voters let it be known via ballot box that they were satisfied with the work of Kevin Burns, Gloria Jorgensen and Matt Osterhaus.
The three were re-elected to six-year terms on the Jackson County Regional Health Center Board of Trustees.
Maquoketan Mark Edwards was also on the ballot for one of the three open seats. Maquoketan Dianne Brady announced her write-in campaign about two weeks before the election.
Osterhaus received the most votes with 4,223, followed by Jorgensen with 4,102 and Burns with 3,912. Edwards trailed by less than 600 votes with 3,329, according to Tuesday’s unofficial election results.
Write-in votes totaled 706 — more write-ins than usual for any race, but especially the hospital board, according to officials in the Auditor’s Office.
Some candidates distinguished themselves from the others by their views on the planned construction of a new hospital on the southeast edge of Maquoketa.
Jorgensen, Osterhaus and Burns guided the decision to build the new facility, which will cost an estimated $36.9 million and will be completed in December 2020. All three voted in favor of building a new hospital, although Jorgensen voted against the location.
Brady said a new hospital was needed, but wanted it built on the current site at 700 W. Grove St.
Edwards said he opposed building a new hospital. He was among the top three vote getters in Bellevue, Baldwin and Monmouth, and the Miles area, but he didn’t capture enough votes countywide to be a trustee.
“I assume [building the new hospital] was a factor, but I don’t know what weight voters gave to just that issue,” Burns said Wednesday.
Tuesday’s election results show that residents do use JCRHC and want it to stay in Maquoketa, Jorgensen said.
“I believe those who voted for the incumbents do care about the hospital and use the hospital. … The current Board of Trustees are knowledgeable, informed and have planned and believe in JCRHC and our faithful staff,” she said.
“I truly hope the decision to build a new hospital was a factor. They trust us to have made and will approve of the new facility when it is complete. People who use our hospital get excellent, personal care by staff that know their jobs and truly care for their patients. A new facility is needed to have a hospital that is economical to operate and more efficient for our staff to give the care our patients deserve,” she said.
“With all three incumbents being re-elected to the Board of Trustees, I hope that is confirmation the citizens of Jackson County feel the hospital is moving in the right direction,” Burns added.
Osterhaus thanked his supporters and agreed with Burns.
“I look forward to helping the hospital continue to be the center of quality healthcare in our county, meeting the needs of patients via a strong network of providers and partners to achieve our mission.”
Jorgensen said she’s looking forward to a busy next term filled with vitality. She thanked the public for coming to the trustees now and in the future to obtain “truthful” information about JCRHC.
“I believe all who have served [as trustees] have done so with the good of the hospital and our county in mind,” she added. “We know not everyone will agree but this is America and we don’t all have to agree. The fact that JCRHC will pay for itself tells you that we care.”
Burns acknowledged that the hospital will face many challenges during the next term, “but the most important thing is to maintain quality health care in Jackson County.”