Ballots need to be returned by 8 p.m. on May 15
By Randy Parks
More than 70 residents attended Candidates Night hosted by the Harney County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 1, at the Community Center.
The event featured the candidates for county commissioner — Dan Nichols, the incumbent who has served several terms, and Herb Vloedman — as well as the seven justice of the peace (JOP) candidates — Kelly Edmondson, Jennifer Jenks, Dorothy Peterson, David McDonald, Donna Thomas, Valri Purdy and Jon Burri.
State Representative Cliff Bentz gave a brief talk at the beginning of the event, welcoming those in attendance and informing the audience about his re-election campaign. Bentz noted that he is running unopposed this year, which allows him more time to work on the issues rather than the campaign trail.
Opening statements by the commissioner candidates included some of their history and past public service.
There were no striking differences between the replies by the candidates to questions ranging from highway turnoffs to access to property.
One audience member asked about the county court making the commissioner position full-time. “That’s news to me,” Nichols said. He said that the amount of time the job requires has tripled or quadrupled in recent years, and that he is putting in about 30 hours a week at the present time. He added that he’d like to put more time into the position as well as into spending with his family. “But no, we’re not discussing full time,” he said.
Vloedman stated that he’d been attending county court meetings for the past several months and hadn’t heard any discussion about making the position full time. “If it takes more time, I don’t disagree with looking into it,” Vloedman said.
In closing, the candidates agreed that Harney County and the people who live here are special and they would be honored to serve as commissioner.
The seven JOP candidates have varying backgrounds and different levels of work experience, but their answers to questions were pretty much in concurrence:
Q: “Who is your boss?”
A: The voters.
Q: “Hardest part of the job?”
A: Somebody’s not going to be happy with the decision.
Q: “If you had a concealed weapon permit, would you pack a gun into the courthouse?”
A: No, I don’t believe so.
In closing, the candidates stated if elected they would strive to do a good job for the citizens of Harney County.