White Pine County Commissioner Richard Howe arrived at the county clerk’s office as soon as the doors opened at 8 a.m. Monday, March 7. Howe, a Republican, filed as a candidate for reelection to Seat 4.
“I think I’ve done a good enough job to be reelected,” Howe said. “I’ve been a good voice, a strong voice. What I’ve done is movement in the direction of the board to save money. I’m a resident, I grew up here and I graduated from White Pine High School in 1968. I retired from the U.S. Postal Service after more than 30 years and I’m the only veteran on the commission.
“I’ve served in many capacities and I do a lot on my own in private promoting the county. The Kennecott Years All Class Reunion raised almost $30,000 last year and it all goes back to the community. I’m on the Regional Transportation Commission and the Nevadaworks board, and I’m a liaison to the Senior Center. I go to all the events. I deserve to be reelected. It’s a democratic process, and it’s a seat that’s open to anyone. I welcome any competition should they step forward, as long as they’re running to make the county better.”
Howe won Seat 4 in 2012 with 55 percent of the vote, defeating current Board Chair Gary Perea. The first 2016 challenger for the seat showed up quickly thereafter.
John Dishong, a Robinson mine equipment operator, filed his candidacy as a Republican.
“We need to get the budget in order,” Dishong said. “The way we budget doesn’t make sense. Every year they bring in a bigger budget. You can’t do that when we’re in a budget deficit. We need to budget for a surplus. They’re looking at ways to lower their costs but they aren’t doing it. They’ll do more when the budget isn’t definite. We need to save for lean years, but we’re spending more.
“We’re taxed enough in this county. We don’t need to budget for a balance, we need to save. We need to make decisions for that, but we’re not doing it. I’m focusing on attrition. We can move people around and we may need to move around responsibilities. There are several positions like that.”
Airport manager and local business owner Steve Stork filed as a Republican for Seat 3.
“I’m running because I’m a concerned citizen,” Stork said. “We had the last five years of deficit spending. There’s a current majority block of three that hasn’t made any attempts or votes to correct the spending issues. Actions they have taken include raising fees, creating new licenses and raising taxes. I don’t want new taxes. I want to be responsible, and I want better management and forward planning.
“We need to plan and put money aside. The sheriff’s department building and the courthouse need improvements. Dire corrections need to be made at the airport. One of the biggest reasons I’m running is because of the way the commission is running the budget. A group of employees selects another group of employees to do something and it just creates ill-will and discontent. It’s department against department, wrestling for money and there’s a decline in morale. Employees are something the county needs to value. They need to feel good to do good work. I’ve been a businessman for 17 years, so I have a different perspective. It gives you some foresight. Experience is a good thing. I’ve made personal sacrifices, and I’ve learned to plan and to budget. Financial responsibility dictates you make tough choices, but the county isn’t making the right choices.”
Commissioner Laurie Carson won Seat 3 in 2012 with 61 percent of the vote.
Commissioner Mike Coster filed as a Republican for reelection to Seat 2.
“It’s been a great thing to do,” Coster said. “It’s an honor. Some progress has been made, but the financial situation is significantly worse. We’ve had four years of deficit spending with lots of talk about how to fix it and no action. I’m hoping the county can set priorities and build precisely toward them. We can’t let every existing program and situation direct the budget. I’m about restructuring and resetting how the county operates. I want fewer departments and that’s what I proposed last year.
“We can’t lose sight of saving money for the capital improvements we’ve wanted for so long. The courthouse and jail need improvements but we’re not putting any money into those capital improvement funds. A greater percentage of our budget is going into wages and we don’t have money for litigation. We’re running with no reserves and it doesn’t leave the county in a safe place. The pool was a great success. I was concerned about the money spent, but the public’s use has greatly exceeded expectations. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve done and I’ve learned a lot. We’ve done some good things, but we have diminishing financial strength. We owe it to the citizens to be strong long-term and not just budget year to year. We need to make sound forecasts. I would like White Pine County to stand out as particularly responsible, and more of a model of a sound rural county.”
Coster won Seat 3 in 2012 with 52 percent.
Candidates must file by 5 p.m. on March 18, and are encouraged to contact The Ely Times. The primary election is June 14 and the general election Nov. 8.