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Senator Mark Costello grew up in rural Imogene, graduating from Nishna Valley High School and the University of Northern Iowa in 1984.
He was employed as a computer programmer/analyst with Garst Seed Company in Coon Rapids for five years prior to returning to the family farm.
Senator Costello and his wife, Rachel, were married in 2001 and have five children, Matthew, Julia, Peter, Ethan and Andrew. The family resides on their farm in Mills County where they raise corn and soybeans. Rachel is a native of Lacona, Iowa and she home-schools and cares for their children. The Costello’s attend Sunnyside Bible Chapel in Atlantic.
Costello was elected to the Iowa House in 2012 representing House District 23, where he was Vice Chair of the Health & Human Resources Budget Subcommittee. Senator Costello was first elected to the Senate in a special election in 2014.
Protecting the taxpayers of this district is always a priority of mine. This includes being responsible in state spending as well as limiting new taxes and making responsible cuts in taxation. Law enforcement, infrastructure, and education are important, as well as caring for those who are unable to care for themselves. We need to continue to work on providing services in an effective and efficient manner.
Another of my priorities is maintaining and improving our infrastructure. Recently, the 2019 flood caused devastation in two counties in the district. Working with Governor Reynolds and my colleagues in the legislature, we were able to get around $35 million dollars in state aid, the majority of which was used to repair the levees in this district.
Good roads and bridges are critical to our farmers and their ability to get crops and livestock to market. Many opportunities for our small towns can be created by high speed internet access and good cellular coverage and data. In 2019, we set up the “Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund” with a $5 million state allocation. Recently, $50 million in Federal funds from the Cares Act have been released in Iowa. We added the Federal money to the fund and passed legislation to enable the funds to be distributed using the Federal guidelines. The grants will be awarded on a competitive basis and will be weighted towards providing faster speeds and serving the unserved and underserved areas.
Finally, I will prioritize predictable funding for education. In the area of education, I have worked to implement transportation equity. Last year we were able to find adequate funding to provide money to bring those with high transportation costs to the median level. I will continue working to make it easier to hire teachers.