The Roundup -

Candidate Forum 2016 Held March 22 in Sidney


Tues., March 22, marked the 2016 Candidate Forum held in Sidney, MT at the Elks Lodge. Patrick Hackley MC’d the event and was in charge of asking candidates questions from the public. Chase Kilzer with Culbertson FFA Chapter led pledge of allegiance and gathered questions from the audience for the present candidates:

Shane Gorder - Running unopposed for re-election county commissioner. “There has been a lot of change and a lot of growth in our community and our staff.” When asked what a potential challenge might be in his position, he said that things were slowing down but would like to keep all 180 Richland County employees. To avoid layoffs, they would reduce traveling costs.

Janice Klempel - Running unopposed for Clerk of District Court. Agrees with Gorder that staffing could be an issue, but wanted the public to know, “We are just as busy as before the oil downturn, if not busier. Our solution to keep all jobs intact is to reduce traveling costs.”

Scott Staffanson - Running for House District 35. When it came to funding towns, Staffanson stated that the last thing he wanted to do was raise taxes. Abortion was brought up at the forum and Staffanson stated, “I am pro-life all the way. I do believe, however, a minor should not be allowed to get an abortion without a parent or guardian present.” Staffanson also believes that more federal land should become state land and says that the federal government needs to stop taking private land. When discussing how his platform would benefit the public, he said that he supports local counties in schools, and believes in freedom and less government.

Chris Trumpower - Democratic candidate for House District 35, absent.

Joel Krautter - Running for House District 35.Joel Krautter’s largest goal for candidacy is an infrastructure package that is long overdue. When asked about funding for towns, Krautter stated, “The state has a $5 billion budget, and tax is already at it’s highest and I do not believe in sales tax. I would like to look at our current budget and make our state government more self-sustaining.” Krautter also wanted the public to know that he is always available to talk and to hear concerns and ideas. He is very responsive and believes that talking to the public is a key to success. Krautter’s ideas for new infrastructure success is to look at the budget, delve into bonding, and build coalitions. Krautter’s platform benefit for candidacy is that he would focus on issues and needs in the state, bring infrastructure, work with agriculture and be a voice for the veterans. When asked about land in the state of Montana, Krautter stated, “Federal land is mismanaged and needs to be in better management. I fully support public land.” Krautter is also pro-life and is a full supporter of a culture of life.

Casey Lee Brock - Running for state senate. Brock lobbies on his own dime and enjoys his work; he believes that public service involves going up and bringing the voice for the people. He fully supports bringing in more infrastructure and would like to build up towns’ economies so that they can be more self-sustaining without government help. When it comes to charter schools, Brock believes that parents should have more choice into what their children are being taught. Brock shared a personal story of walking with his young daughter through the store and she was pointing out sexual protection items; he believed that at her young age, he didn’t want his daughter knowing what those items were. When he confronted the school, the response was, “We do not have to ask you what we educate your children.” Brock would like to change that. Casey Lee Brock is against abortion, but would also like the public to know that he is a voice for the people. He does not want his personal beliefs to interfere with politics and that he is not running for himself, but for the people. Brock’s platform also consists of fixing welfare because he believes it is a bloated system and that people misuse it. He would like to rebuild Montana’s welfare and believes families on welfare should be checked on regularly until they are able to handle themselves without government help. Brock would also like to legalize hemp farming and already has several ideas he would like to share with the public.

Steve Hinebauch - Running for state senate. 5th generation farmer was stated many times. When asked about funding for towns, Hinebauch stated, “We do not need anymore government.” Hinebauch is in favor of charter schools and believes in competition in education. He would like the public to know that he has never voted democratic and is a full-time cowboy. Hinebauch is against abortion and believes every life deserves a pursuit of happiness. Steve Hinebauch also believes that the state needs more control over federal land because it’s a lot easier to go to Helena, MT if there’s an issue than it is to go to Washington D.C.

Bret Smelser - Running for state senate. Served 22 years being the mayor of Sidney, MT and is a fiscal conservative. Smelser is pro-life for creation is a blessing and a full-time supporter of the second amendment. He believes that charter schools are excellent, though he would like to make Montana schools even more efficient. When asked about funding for towns, Smelser stated that he would like to bring a general fund for funding. Bret Smelser’s platform benefit for candidacy is to provide help to cities and towns that have been neglected for the past years.

Kristen Juras - Running for Montana Supreme Court Justice. She is running non-partisan and has been involved with agriculture for just over 30 years. She teaches Ag Law currently at the University of Montana. If elected, Juras would insure that the court would indeed act like a court and that currently it is creating legislatures that aren’t in its place to make. “Currently our court is ranked the worst, I would like to bring in my experience in agriculture, law and business to improve Montana’s court.” Juras would like to improve the business climate and her platform benefit for candidacy is that she will bring in her MT agricultural experience to the table.

Dirk Sandefur - Running for Montana Supreme Court Justice, absent.

Eric Mills - Running for Montana Supreme Court Justice, last minute candidate, absent,

Matt Rosendale - Current senator for Dawson, Wibaux and Richland counties. Will be running this year for state auditor. Matt Rosendale, if elected, stated, “I would eliminate ObamaCare. I would fill it with choices and bring in more out of state insurance options to lower costs of insurance in Montana by creating competition.” When it comes to public land in Montana, Rosendale stated that land is being mis-managed and that the state needs to be in more control of federal lands.

The Montana Primary will be held June 7th and the General Election will be on November 8th, 2016. Further debates and forums are to be announced.


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