Councilman Scott Tornquist

A time-tested community leader with a vision and passion for Mason City. A vote for Scott is a vote for a Progressive Community.
Vote Tornquist for Mason City Council At-Large on November 5, 2013.

Goals for the Next Term

Goals for the Next Term

Continue to Move Mason City Forward

Highway 122 Realignment

MCW becomes
NI Regional Airport

Develop & Implement Master Trails Plan

Grow Tax Base Faster than Rate of Inflation

North End Rehabilitation and Redevelopment

Facilities Planning for MCPD & Potential MCFD Satelite

Job Retention and Growth

Development Agreements per Year


A lifetime of service.

Born: February 26,1964
Des Moines, IA

High School: Carmel High School, Carmel, IN - May, 1982

College: Purdue University
Construction Engineering & Management – Dec. 1986

Married: February 25, 1989
Middletown, OH

Family: Patti (wife)
Children: Nathan (20), Matthew (18)

Professional Affiliations:
American Society of Civil Engineers (Dec ’86 to Present)
Leadership Iowa (’05 – ’06 Class)

Church: First Covenant Church
~High School Sunday School Teacher
~Adult Sunday School Teacher
~Building Committee
~Visioning Committee
~Nominating Committee
~Pastoral Search Committee – Chair

Employer: Rist & Associates, Des Moines, IA
(Home Office in Mason City)

Community Service:
Mason City Cable Commission
(Apr. 1998 – Jan. 2004)
Mason City Economic Development Corporation
(Nov. 1998 – Oct. 2004)
Secretary, Exec. Board (Oct. 2002 – Oct. 2004)
Mason City Planning & Zoning Commission
(Aug. 2002 – Dec. 2005)
Chair (Apr. 2004 – Dec. 2005)
Mason City Enterprise Zone Commission
(Mar. 2003 – Dec. 2005)
Opportunity Mason City – President
(Feb. 2005 – Nov. 2005)
North Iowa Youth for Christ (Feb. 2004 – June 2009)
Treasurer (June 2004 – Oct. 2005)
Vice President (Oct. 2005 – July 2008)
Mason City Sunrise Rotary (Feb. 2004 – Current)
President (July 2010 – June 2011)
Vocational Education Advisory Committee
(Mar. 2006 – 2010)
Mason City City Council, At-Large
(Jan. 2006 – Current)
Mason City Mayor Pro Tem
(Jan. 2010 – Current)
Cerro Gordo County Free Health Care Clinic
Founding Board Member (April 2006 – Current)
ACE NI (MCHS Mentoring Program)
Founding Board Member; Board President (Feb. 2009 – May 2012)

Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm & God and Country Award


Breakdown of Council Service


Committment:      |     Collaboration:      |     Community Culture:


Retain Mason City mayor, council team on Nov. 5
'Dreamweaver Train' runs backward (Guest View)
Mason City politics: Who shot themselves in the foot?

Statement of Candidacy

October 18, 2013 9:00 pm

I’m running for re‐election for two primary reasons: We should not take our success for granted, and we cannot become complacent.

On a community level, beginning with the Park Inn Hotel and the downtown rehabilitation that followed, I am the only current council member that has been involved with these key initiatives since the beginning. This election cycle provides a checkpoint on policy that we haven't yet had. My colleagues and I, as well as the community as a whole, need affirmation of the direction we've been headed.

On a personal level, we've worked very hard to change the culture of the council, which has carried over into a change in tone in the community. I'm not convinced that these cultural changes have fully taken root. I want to be part of long‐term, sustainable change, rather than just a flash in time.

Although we've covered a lot of ground in recent years, there is still much work to be done. I have the passion, energy and experience to help Mason City capitalize on its assets and to create new opportunities for all of us. I champion a healthy, vibrant and diverse community.

It is harder to build up a community than it is to tear one down. The current team has a track record of working together to build the community up. In the past two years, this council has executed 11 development agreements. That is as many as were executed in the previous nine years combined. The challengers are closely tied to a negative culture that resulted in a decade of inactivity.

With your support on Nov. 5, I'll continue working to move Mason City forward. It would be my strong preference to do so with the current team. Thank you for the opportunity to make a positive difference.

Contact Scott

Phone: (515) 661-4843 | Email:

Retain Mason City mayor, council team on Nov. 5

Oct 27, 2013 Globe Gazette

We’re quite certain many people have already made up their minds who they will vote for in the Nov. 5 elections in Mason City. It’s hard to remember a time when the sides have been so firmly divided, in this case either for the incumbent mayor and City Council members or for their challengers.

What’s more, personalities have taken a much bigger role in this campaign than we like, even to the point of viciousness and personal attacks. We think that’s shameful and hope never to see such a situation again.

It is on the issues – especially jobs, the economy, growth and fiscal responsibility – that we cast our endorsement for the sitting office holders: Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, At-Large Councilman Scott Tornquist, Second Ward Councilman Travis Hickey and Fourth Ward Councilwoman Janet Solberg.

Our endorsements come after meeting with the candidates who chose to join us. (Former Councilman Leonard Foster, seeking the at-large seat, was scheduled twice but could not take part because of his wife’s illness. She died Oct. 17, and Foster and his family have our deepest sympathies.)

Those who did participate were asked the same questions and we have presented their responses in a virtual debate at You can hear their answers just as we did.

From those interviews, as well as coverage of many of the candidates in the past and observing them over the years, the Globe Gazette Editorial Board made a unanimous decision that there are strong reasons to keep the current team together.

One was the accomplishments each of them listed. For example, there have been 17 development agreement executed in the past four years. There were only 13 in the previous 15 years.

These development agreements help our community grow — creating jobs, making the city more attractive to prospective residents and building our tax base. That last part is good for all taxpayers and is part of the reason the council has been able to reduce the city property tax rate for two years in a row.

The council cannot create private sector jobs, but it can provide the atmosphere and the programs that help lead to job creation. That’s what this council has done. It would be unwise to break up a team that has accomplished so much.

This council also has strengthened partnerships with Clear Lake and Cerro Gordo County through cooperation with and funding of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp. We all act in unison now, providing a stronger system for economic growth. That must continue and this council will see to it.

On another key issue, we were impressed with the incumbents’ unwavering support of the job being done by City Administrator Brent Trout. In any organization there must be clear lines of authority. Micromanaging, which we’ve seen in the past, is a deterrent to smooth operations. We’ve seen none of that from this council.

We also agree with this council’s decision to refocus the efforts of the Mason City Human Rights Commission, shifting much of the responsibility for investigating cases to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, which is how many other cities our size successfully handle such cases.

We have also been impressed with the way this City Council acts around the council table — deliberately and professionally.

This is far from a rubber-stamp council. Members ask questions and demand answers. They don’t always agree on their votes. But they work together in the general purpose of driving the community forward.

We must give a nod to political newcomer Jodi Draper in the Second Ward. Were she not running against an incumbent who brings great business sense to the table and who has earned another term on the team, she could easily win our support.

Yes, it is the team that leads us to our conclusion in this race. We are making our judgment on the body of work by the current mayor and the six council members. We think that team should be given the opportunity to stay together and continue on its progressive path.

'Dreamweaver Train' runs backward (Guest View)

Oct 27, 2013 Globe Gazette - Dennis Reidel

Recently, Globe Gazette My Turn columnist Carl Grover provided an endorsement for Max Weaver for mayor. Generally, I enjoy Grover’s columns although I don’t always agree and he freely admits that his writings are merely his opinion.

However, I felt compelled to respond, not only with my opinion but with the facts concerning Vision Iowa and Mason City’s future as a “can do” community.

I was involved in the Vision Iowa project from its inception. I read every page of the application, worked hard on the Mason City Public Library bond referendum that was essential to the project and attended Vision Iowa board meetings in Decorah and Des Moines to help share our vision.

Despite his position as a council member, Weaver spurned invitations to discuss what should be included in the Vision Iowa plan — the only elected official to refuse participation.

Other elected officials and community volunteers acted as leaders and met to discuss various aspects of the Vision Iowa projects.

Weaver actively campaigned against the public library renovation, characterizing public libraries as a “thing of the past.”

As a library board member, I know that libraries are more vital now than ever, giving all of our citizens access not only to our library’s collection but to digital information as well. Weaver’s petition against bonding for the library improvements actually increased the taxpayers’ cost for this project.

WEAVER CONSISTENTLY voted against the Vision Iowa project at the council table and almost succeeded in killing it.

When it came time for the negotiations meeting with the Vision Iowa board, Weaver attempted to hold the project hostage by characterizing his vote as the “swing vote” and attempting to blackmail the Vision Iowa board into accepting his “Plan B,” which eliminated not only a new performance pavilion for our Municipal Band but also $1 million for sorely needed recreational trail connections.

Although the negotiations were scheduled around Weaver’s availability, he was a no-show at the meeting. Weaver’s phone calls to state officials in Des Moines were unprofessional and demonstrated his animosity toward the project’s volunteers. Weaver was more interested in roadblocks and derailments, rather than driving the train.

Thankfully, Vision Iowa board members had enough confidence in the local citizens to move ahead with the project without full City Council support. When Weaver and his naysayer colleagues made one last attempt to kill the project, the Vision Iowa board made an unprecedented move that enabled the Mason City Chamber of Commerce to serve as guarantor in the city’s stead.

IN CONTRAST, Councilman Scott Tornquist’s support for the Vision Iowa plan never wavered. Councilpersons Hickey and Solberg, who served as volunteers at that time with Visit Mason City to promote our community as a tourist destination, offered their support.

Ironically, it was the chaotic actions of Weaver at televised council meetings that inspired Eric Bookmeyer to start the “Grassroots for Mason City” effort and eventually led to his mayoral candidacy. Mason City was clearly ready for a change in decorum and leadership: Bookmeyer won his bid for mayor with 82 percent of the vote.

As a father, business owner and community volunteer, I am pleased with the direction the current City Council is leading Mason City. Mayor Bookmeyer and council members Travis Hickey, Janet Solberg and Tornquist deserve the opportunity to continue what they’ve started.

Each of them has a solid record of putting the interests of our community first. They don’t grandstand or make outrageous remarks in an attempt to gain headlines and attention.

Leading a community is serious business. I encourage the re-election of Bookmeyer, Hickey, Solberg and Tornquist. Their train is leaving the station, and they welcome all citizens on board.


Mason City politics: Who shot themselves in the foot?

Oct 28, 2013 Globe Gazette - John Skipper

In this bizarre election season, the latest question is: Who shot themselves in the foot regarding candidate forums?

The four incumbent candidates have indicated they will not participate. They didn't show up Saturday for the forum at the library and they're not likely to appear tonight at Chris Watts's event at the Prime 'N Wine.

The incumbents, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, Second Ward Councilman Travis Hickey, Fourth Ward Councilwoman Janet Solberg and At-large Councilman Scott Tornquist, are willing to let their record over the past four years stand for itself and want to be judged by the voters on that record.

But in proclaiming their successes without appearing with their opponents to debate them, did they help themselves or hurt themselves with the voters?

There are those who will say it is the incumbents who shot themselves in the foot by being no-shows.

But it is also useful to look at some of the other reasons they are staying home while the forums are going on.

Bookmeyer in particular but the other incumbents as well have been the target of personal attacks for years from political opponents who are involved in this year's forums.

It is certainly fair game to question incumbents on some of the decisions they have made -- their quest to have a trash-to-energy plant built here, their decision to cut funding of the Human Rights Commission, their approval of a zoning change to the chagrin of neighbors in the area of Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, as well as others over the years.

But issues have taken a back seat to character assassinations this year.

The incumbents have been under constant attack in an online publication of Fourth Ward candidate Matt Marquardt in which the mayor has been accused of being a drunk, a thief, a bully, and a poor husband and father. The worst of the written abuse occurred when a columnist on Marquardt's website suggested that Bookmeyer's wife, a physician, take a syringe while he is sleeping and inject air into his veins -- in other words, kill him.

Tornquist, Hickey and Solberg have been subjected to constant insults as well that have nothing to do with their record as council people.

Tonight's forum is being put on by Watts, an avid Marquardt supporter. The incumbents might ask, what kind of a level playing field is that?

So the answer to the question as to who shot themselves in the foot regarding the forums is left up the voters -- and most of them probably made up their minds weeks ago as to who they were going to support.