Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 14, 2018

Chamber hosts ‘thank you’ retirement party for Heaton

Legislator served 23 years representing MP
Jul 30, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Dave Heaton shakes hands with Mike Hampton at Central Park Coffee Company Friday morning, July 27. The Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance hosted a thank you party for the retiring legislator after 23 years of service to the community.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Coffee and scones in hand, members of the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance thanked retiring state representative Dave Heaton Friday morning for 23 years of service to the community.

Heaton (R-MP) greeted dozens of former constituents at Central Park Coffee Company Friday, simultaneously thanking them for their support over the years while they thanked him for listening to their concerns and taking their needs under advisement.

“The only thing that’s going to get me in the paper now is a traffic ticket,” Heaton joked.

Kristi Ray, Executive Vice President of the Chamber, said the low-key gathering during the early work hours Friday fits Heaton’s humble personality better than a large party while still giving people the chance to honor his and his wife Carmen Heaton’s dedication to the community.

Heaton was a businessman before he was a public servant. Owning and operating the Iris Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant for 42 years gave him a heart for the business community and an understanding of their needs.

“He had good experience as a business owner (and) had firsthand knowledge of what working people were looking for,” said Tom Wenstrand, who worked on Heaton’s first campaign where he ran for State Senate, but lost to future governor Tom Vilsack.

“After that he didn’t need any help (on the campaign) because he always won,” Wenstrand said with a chuckle.

Former Mt. Pleasant Mayor Stan Hill commended Heaton on his long-lived years of service and thanked Carmen for her support of him and the community as well. Although Hill and Heaton represent different political parties, Hill said he has always respected Heaton. “Dave and Carmen have over the years been a centerpiece of this community,” Hill said. “They support the community and served the people well.”

Hill praised Heaton for being one of the hardest workers in the Legislature on the ground, always talking with the people and local government in Mt. Pleasant.

Current Mt. Pleasant Mayor Steve Brimhall concurred. “Dave has been a very dedicated state representative,” Brimhall said. “He’s been a legislator extremely concerned about the people he serves and trying to make their lives a little better.”

Heaton reached out Brimhall often when voting on issues in the House that would have an impact on the city, asking the mayor’s advice and only making a decision after weighing all sides of the argument.

Healthcare was another priority for Heaton. Michelle Rosell, Henry County Health Center’s chief operating officer, said Heaton has been an advocate for the hospital for years.

“(He) has represented us well at the House, and we will miss him,” Rosell said.

Education was another aspect of the community Heaton championed. Anita Hampton, now Healthy Henry County Communities board president, greeted Heaton with a warm hung and congratulations on his retirement as she walked into the coffee shop Friday.

Reminiscing back to 1999 when Hampton was a “preschool teacher plucked out of obscurity,” she recalled how Heaton became a flagstaff for healthy communities with her help educating him on early childhood development.

Because of Heaton’s work in the Legislature, Hampton went on to lead programs that tangibly changed the face of early childhood education through state-funded initiatives in Mt. Pleasant, Hampton said.

Iowa Wesleyan University is another benefactor of Heaton’s longtime support. DeWayne Frazier, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean, met Heaton when he was walking his dog not long after Frazier moved to the area. For months, Frazer would great the state representative, never knowing who he was.

“He’s such a humble guy,” Frazier said. “A community member more than he was anything else.”

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