NEWTON, Iowa — A committee of the Newton City Government held an objection hearing after protests were filed over two city council candidates, challenging if they really lived in Newton, as required, if they want to serve on the City Council.

Several people filed objections to the candidacy of Julia Prendergast and Barney Bushore. Both own homes outside the city limits, but have indicated they would live inside the city.

In the case of Bushore one protester photographed the home he listed as a residence.

“Once it was connected that he had filed his paper and was using the address of 1901 S. 7th Ave. East, we drove by multiple times a day,” said Kim Didier, a Newton resident. “I started taking pictures to show there’s no activity at that house.”

Didier added that in the early morning or at night there was never a light on inside the home and the drapes were always closed.  Also on trash day, all the neighbors had trash out, but not that house.

William Gustoff, an attorney from Des Moines represented both candidates, and displayed evidence of their residency inside the city of Newton.

“And to be honest, I know both Julia and Barney and they do have very nice homes outside the corporate limits of Newton,” said Mayor Michael Hanson. “They have filed a candidacy for office saying that they intend to reside at the addresses that they listed as their primary residence.” 

The panel ruled to accept their statements on their residences and now they can continue campaigning.

This afternoon, both candidates issued a statement:

Barney Bushore and Julia Prendergast want everyone to know that yes, we have both re-established Newton as our official residence. And we are both running for Newton City Council.

We’ve moved back home because we think we can help. We hope we can bring our decades of success in the Newton marketplace to the city council table. We hope to bring to the council discussions on our experiences at building businesses and rehabbing buildings here, in Newton.

Barney Bushore and Julia Prendergast