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Setting the record straight on claims made in County Attorney race

April 13, 2017 GMT

I wish to respond to the letter written by Kendra Abfalter, and I would ask that Mr. Boddicker’s supporters keep this campaign honest. Unfortunately, his supporters feel misleading the public is the way to get votes to go their way.

Mr. Boddicker was not moved from his office in Fort Madison so that Fort Madison would be the “official County Attorney office,” as Ms. Abfalter stated. When he first took office, Mr. Braden started in the Keokuk office. However, if you would ask Mr. Boddicker personally, you will find he requested the Keokuk office because he lives in Keokuk. Mr. Braden simply accommodated his wishes and was fine with either office for himself. In addition, Mr. Braden also utilizes the Keokuk staff, on a daily basis, remotely from Fort Madison, and is actively involved in the prosecution of cases that are particularly offensive.

The statement that juvenile cases can last decades is inaccurate, due to statutory rules and time lines. Further, the Henry County Attorney’s office is more than capable of handling these cases. They deal with these on a regular basis just the same as Lee County does.

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The comments regarding the Drug Court are also inaccurate. The only “contract”held was by Ross Braden. Obviously, he resigned his position so he could serve as Lee County Attorney. Drug Court is still in full swing and operating in Fort Madison and Ross Braden is a big supporter of this program.

With respect to a “mass of new special prosecutors” being appointed by the County Attorney and paid by taxpayers, Ms. Abfalter is speaking without having actual information to present to the public. Most of the conflicts that Mr. Braden had were taken over by the Des Moines County Attorney office. These situations are common and it is common for neighboring attorneys to assist when these situations arise. There are only a handful of prosecutors that are being paid out of the County Attorney’s budget, and most of those cases have already settled with minimal cost to the County Attorney budget. Mr. Braden has not gone to the Board of Supervisors and asked it to approve any type of budget increase or for any additional funds as a result of the prosecution of these very few cases. It is already within the County Attorney’s budget. Furthermore, the County Attorney’s Office has its own source of income through the County Attorney Collections Program, which more than covers the cost of any special prosecutors.

Ms. Abfalter would have you believe that everything that changes and happens is all the fault of Ross Braden, the County Attorney. In actuality, the legal system constantly deals with conflicts and changes. For example, Judge Rodgers previously worked for the Des Moines County Attorney’s office, so when he was appointed as a judge, many conflicts arose that had to be resolved. Judge Rodgers was moved to Fort Madison to ride out his conflicts prior to Mr. Braden’s appointment to the position of County Attorney.

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Ms. Abfalter continues with her predictions for the future about “if Ross Braden remains County attorney,” when, in actuality, she knows that no matter who the County Attorney is, there will be changes when Judge Noneman retires. This has nothing to do with who is County Attorney, but has everything to do with the state trying to work what is best for their budget. Mr. Abfalter dramatically states that electing Ross Braden will completely undermine the local judicial system and essentially dissolve Lee County autonomy, which is absolutely absurd.

The comment that “Judge Rodgers could not have predicted this situation” is simply not true. He and Judge Dean had already been switched around by Chief Judge Brown prior to Mr. Braden’s appointment as a result of Judge Rodgers’ conflicts in Des Moines County.

We have and will continue to run a positive campaign without misleading voters.

Gordon Liles

Chairperson of the Elect Ross Braden for County

Attorney Committee