Candidate's Forum Held in Watford City Sept. 19


September 26, 2018 | View PDF

McKenzie County Commissioner candidates (left to right) Vawnita Best, Howdy Lawlar, John Rolfsrud and Kathy Skarda with moderator, Matt Gardner (center). (Photo by Jordan Hall)

Approximately 75 residents from McKenzie County gathered at the Watford City intermediate school media center to hear from candidates for local office. Hosted by the Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce, various candidates spoke to the crowd, answering questions and providing reasons to vote for them.

Matt Gardner emceed the event and explained that the event was designed to be conversational and informative, urging the crowd to hold applause and be respectful to the candidates. Beginning with the office of county commissioner, four candidates took to the stage with two on each side of Gardner. Vawnita Best, Howdy Lawlar, John Rolfsrud and Kathy Skarda all explained why their service to McKenzie County would be beneficial and spoke about important issues facing the region.

Best, who has served a commissioner since 2014, told the crowd, "As your commissioner, I will continue to work on building a home for our future together. I will do so by securing and prioritizing resources, by supporting efficient and responsive service delivery, and by leading research, community-focused policy and decision-making. I ask tonight that you listen to the discussions and ask yourselves these three questions. Who understands the issues facing our future? Who will think objectively, work collaboratively and vote every single time for the county and what's in its best interest? Third, who will research and problem-solve for McKenzie County?"

Lawlar also explained his goals for service as a commissioner, saying, "The reason I'm running for county commissioner is that I look at it as a public service. It is important to me, and my family. Being a commissioner is a public service and not a self-service. My children are the sixth generation on the family farm and in McKenzie County. We have a lifelong investment here."

"There are two types of people," Lawlar continued, "those that create problems, and those that fix them. I want to be a problem fixer for McKenzie County."

Rolfsrud explained that he has been serving McKenzie County for some time. He said, "I've made volunteering a thing, since I've been on the fire department since 1996. I think someone would say it's hard to say I only look out for myself; I've tried to help others as much as possible over the years. I had a group of people who came to me and asked me to enter the race, based on their knowledge of myself. I've looked at all the issues impartially. Sometimes, the answer is going to be no. I want to keep this county as safe as possible."

Introducing herself last among the commissioner candidates, Kathy Skarda said, "I would ask for your support so we can build our community for our kids. I know we have a lot of people who live here and have been here their whole life. But, we have an exciting new community with all of these new people and we want them to share in the quality of life that we've experienced over our lifetime. And so, I'm excited to run for reelection. It is one of my major objectives to help make our community a better place to work and live."

A number of questions were asked about the challenges presented to McKenzie County and the candidates' proposals for overcoming those challenges. Other questions that were sent via email were also asked and answered.

Candidates for county recorder and McKenzie County sheriff also introduced themselves and took questions throughout the event.


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