Spillville Mayor Mike Klimesh is running for the Iowa Senate.
The Republican announced Tuesday he would seek the open Iowa Senate District 28 seat currently held by Senator Michael Breitbach. Breitbach, who is the Appropriation Committee chair, recently announced he will be retiring after he completes his second term in the Iowa Senate. A Republican, Breitbach lives in Strawberry Point.
Decorah Democrat Matt Tapscott, former chair of the Winneshiek County Democrats, also is running for the District 28 Senate seat. District 28 is comprised of all of Allamakee and Clayton counties and parts of Fayette and Winneshiek counties.
"I am running for the Iowa Senate to implement common sense policies to lower the tax burden on Iowans, improve education, and ensure rural Iowa has a strong voice in Des Moines," said Klimesh. "I look forward to meeting Iowans throughout Winneshiek, Clayton, Allamakee and Fayette counties, hearing their concerns, and representing their interests in Des Moines."
Klimesh ran for the Iowa House in 2010 and 2012. In 2010 he lost to incumbent Brian Quirk (D) of New Hampton in the District 15 race by a vote of 5,790 to 4,856 and in 2012 he lost to Democratic incumbent Roger Thomas of Elkader by a vote of 7,781 to 7,585 in the District 55 race.
“I’m awfully excited to have the opportunity to run. I’m sad to see Mike (Breitbach) go. He leaves some pretty big shoes to fill at the state house,” Klimesh said. “I’m looking forward to meeting all the voters in the Senate District 28 and talking to folks.”
The candidate said he plans to bring a small government approach and a “big-tent” atmosphere to his campaign.
“I want to reach out to everybody. We’re all here to work together,” he explained.

SW, Luther grad
Klimesh is a lifelong Spillville resident. He graduated in 1987 from South Winneshiek High School. Following graduation, he attended Luther College and graduated in 1991 with a degree in political science.
Klimesh met his wife Kate when they were students at Luther College. The couple’s son, Benjamin, is continuing the family tradition, currently attending Luther.
Since graduating from Luther, Klimesh has managed Graphics Inc. for 20 years and served a total of 22 years as the mayor of Spillville.
Community is important to Klimesh, who has served on the emergency management commission, the Winneshiek County Economic Development Board, Winneshiek County Tourism, the Winneshiek County Community Foundation Board, the Winneshiek County Mayors Coalition, and several other boards and commissions. He was coach of the South Winneshiek High School and Northeast Iowa Community College trap-shooting teams.
Klimesh has been involved in music, performing with local bands for many years, and is an avid outdoorsman.
“I love to hunt and fish – I appreciate the Driftless Region of Northeast Iowa,” he said.
If elected to the Senate, Klimesh will have to give up his position as mayor of Spillville.

Breitbach comments
In announcing his retirement Monday, Breitbach commented on why he wanted to serve in the Senate.
“Several years ago, I ran for office because I was concerned about the direction of our state and I believed Iowa’s rural communities, small business owners and families like mine needed an advocate,” he said.
“In my second term in the Iowa Senate, I proudly voted for laws to eliminate burdensome regulations, encourage success and innovation, and also give Iowans the biggest income tax cut in state history. It has been an honor serving the people of Senate District 28, and I have enjoyed meeting people from all over the District and hearing about issues important to them,” Breitbach said.