KX News is Your Local Election Headquarters, and as Election Day nears, we take a closer look at the candidates running for Ward County Commissioner seats.
Five candidates are on the ballot for the three open spots.
Shelly Weppler, Alan Walter and Jim Rostad are the three incumbents running. They’re joined by Larry Louser, a former commissioner who served from 2014 to 2018, and newcomer Howard “Bucky” Anderson is also vying for a seat.
Some of the issues they want to tackle if they’re elected are the budget, infrastructure upkeep and county staff.
“I would like to see that we keep moving forward in a positive direction for all of Ward County and including looking after the roads, of course,” Rostad said.
“We’re going to finish paying off the debt on these buildings that we’ve built, but then we’re going to start concentrating on improving the roads for the traveling public and the farming community,” Walter said.
“Excited for us to get to the point where we’re getting the bridges updated. We identified all the bridges and recently you saw the one that failed. There are reasons why it failed, but we certainly need to look at our infrastructure and make sure that that’s in place,” Weppler said.
“You have to take care of your personnel. You have to recruit and you have to retain good people and you have to keep them safe. And that’s probably number one. If you can’t do that, you’re not going to succeed,” Anderson said.
“Working with the infrastructure within the county. And that’s still a need and I think that’s what we have to do. We have to take care of our needs not just some, ‘wishlist,'” Louser said.
The decisions commissioners make affect everyone in the county, both urban and rural, so their main job is to represent the people who live within county lines.
The candidates share their thoughts on what they call the urban-rural divide.
“I grew up out in the Carpio area, and I lived in Minot for 20 years and now I’ve lived outside of Minot for over 20 years. I think there’s no differentiation on who I represent. I try and do the very best for all residents of Ward County,” Rostad said.
“I think three representatives from a city would closer represent the population spread in the county, but we’ll see how it works out. Personally. I don’t know that there’s a big issue with that as far as the way the commission is working,” Walter said.
“Right now, on the board, we’re diverse as far as locations because we do have two in the farming business that are farmers, we have two that live in the outskirts of our communities between some of the small towns. And then we have one that lives in the city of Minot,” Weppler said.
“I might be able to help out with that area because there’s always going to be that division between rural and urban, city and country life. We oftentimes think we think the same, but we don’t,” Anderson said.
“If 70 percent of the population of Ward County lives within the city limits of Minot, they’re represented by just 20 percent of the commission,” Louser said.
All five candidates say they look forward to earning the votes of Ward County residents.
If you haven’t cast your vote yet, you can still vote by mail, as long as it’s post-marked for Monday, Nov. 2. Drop it off at a dropbox no later than 5 p.m. on the 2nd.
Be sure to check with your local auditor about early voting.