Candidate responses are posted exactly as we received them and have not been edited.
Question 1: What makes you the best candidate?
Kent Weems:I bring experience in both the public and private sector, which lends a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges. Business management, as well as personnel oversight and logistics are all areas I have dealt with in the past as well as in the present day. (Thirty-six years in a farm and ranch operation and twenty-three years as a manager in retail agriculture)
Randy Stubbs: I am active in my community and believe District 2 needs a Commissioner who will be in the community listening to the needs of its citizens and representing those views in the decision-making. The driving force of my desire to serve the citizens of District 2 is my children and grandchildren who have inspired me to enter this race. For that reason, I will devote my energy to making District 2 a prosperous county that will allow our children to raise their families here for generations to come.
Question 2: What would be the first thing you do once elected?
Weems: Once of the first priorities would be creating a more comprehensive and transparent line of communication between the citizens and the various departments. I believe a dedicated email account is a good first step. Perhaps this is being done and I am not aware. However, if it is not, I would place a fair amount of emphasis in establishing this resource for feedback that can be shared simultaneously with the commissioners and the appropriate staff, depending on the issue. In this way, expediency and transparency are both enhanced.
Stubbs: Prior to being elected, I am listening to the people of District 2 and finding out what they want from their County Commissioner. I will continue to do that once I am elected. I will also meet with the various Lincoln County Department leaders to find out their needs. They are out in the trenches making our County work every day and I want to learn from their experience and insights.
Question 3: What issues do you think will be the biggest challenge in the next four years?
Weems:As I have stated earlier in the campaign cycle, limited capital is always one of the biggest challenges to any endeavor, public or private. With the downturn in the agricultural economy, our citizens are already challenged to do more with less. The county system needs to be cognizant of this and maximize efficiencies at every opportunity. Wherever we can identify inefficiencies in the use of manpower, rolling stock, etc. changes need to be made to minimize expense. This can be as simple as sourcing more than one point of origin for road gravel to minimize fuel and freight expense. It could also involve the value of consolidating equipment and labor resources from throughout the system for a singular effort on prioritized projects larger in scope than the normal daily operations.
Stubbs: Meeting the needs of District 2 within the constraints of the budget and making sure that we do not increase the tax burden on our constituents.
Question 4: How will you keep control of the budget?
Weems:Diligence in managing budget expense is not only the responsibility of the commissioners, but also of department managers and elected office holders in the various county offices. The role of the commissioner, partially, is to challenge the budget requests per department and do their very best to establish sufficient oversight therein. All elected officials in our county system are equally challenged in a common cause. Having known several of our very capable department officials for several years, I continue to have confidence the majority share my conservative fiscal restraint. Any that do not will certainly be challenged to justify continued expenditure trends I deem excessive or superfluous. As I stated this Spring, analysis over time will ultimately be required to determine additional budget constraint options.
Stubbs:I will keep control of the budget by working actively with the County Administration to make sure that we are using our resources to our advantage. I will look for waste in our budget and work to eliminate it. I will also make sure that we do not control the budget by raising taxes.
Question 5: What are your funding priorities?
Weems: Priorities in expenditures as it pertains to the largest entity, the road department, are yet to be established until more information can be gathered and evaluated. Two carryover projects that
have languished in recent years, the South River Road mitigation and the Sutherland bridge, are reminders we must continue to establish infrastructure priorities throughout the county system in order to give them the necessary focus and sense of urgency they deserve. With the many bridges and culverts throughout Lincoln County, there should always be a short term A List of projects on deck, along with the larger, long term objectives that require financial participation from other sources than just the county. Thus, funding priorities are best evaluated after extensive input from experienced, knowledgeable employees, elected officials and equally essential, the citizens, who provide appropriate feedback as to the greatest need(s).
Stubbs: My top priority is to meet the needs of District 2. I believe that roads and infrastructure are two of the highest priorities for the future of District 2. I also want to make sure that our funding priorities set up our future generations for success and a continuation of the quality of life that we enjoy.
Question 6: How important is it to you to fund county roads and bridges and maintain infrastructure? How do you pay for it?
Weems: The road system and all that it entails is the lifeblood of our rural agricultural economy and should always be an essential priority. Thus, I identify it as such within the county budget in the previous question. As to funding, the finite nature of any budget requires subordinating some projects versus others each budget year. Larger projects, within the legal parameters of reserve capital retention, must be identified for funding beyond the one year cycle.
Stubbs: Funding roads and bridges and maintaining infrastructure without raising taxes is my top priority. We pay for it by controlling costs, eliminating waste and working together to come up with new ideas and innovative ways to meet the needs of District 2, now and in the future.