Weitala, Claggett building on Davison County Commission tenure
For both Kim Weitala and John Claggett, they'll attempt to build on their current terms on the Davison County Commission for the next four years.
Both are Republicans running unopposed in their respective districts and will stay on the Commission for another four years.
Both commissioners cited roads and bridges as being the most talked about issue in the county, and both expect it to be a hot topic in the coming years.
"It's the number one thing I hear about," Weitala said.
Because both ran unopposed, they automatically earn their seats back as commissioners. Had another person from the same party who lives in their same district file a petition to run, they would have had to win an election on June 3. They also face no opponents in the November general election. They'll start their new term January 2015.
The District 3 Davison County Commission seat is up for election this year, and Republicans Gerald Weiss, the incumbent, is running against Leon Baier. The Daily Republic will feature Baier and Weiss prior to the June 3 election.
Here are looks at why Weitala and Claggett serve on the commission:
Weitala: Reaching 'comfortableness'
Weitala, 52, said she feels as close to government than she has ever before. She writes and contacts members the state Legislature regularly as part of her position on the commission.
"I've been able to find that comfortableness in addressing the issues of local importance here and to approach them to write letters, to voice my opinion regarding those matters," she said.
She was appointed to the District 1 seat after her husband, David, died in January 2012. She still thinks about how her husband would have handled commission decisions, using his traits of being fair and just with county decisions.
"There are so many times where I think I should have listened to him more," she said. "And there's many things I would have loved to ask him questions of how I would have approached this topic or this subject."
She said she's eager to continue building the relationship between the county and the city of Mitchell and would like to see how the two entities can continue to work together. Weitala said she likes the commission and the way work gets done.
"It's a great group that we have," she said. "I'm extremely comfortable with the way we're able to work together. I thank the community for allowing me to be in this position."
Claggett: Advance planning is key
Claggett, 62, will enter his third term representing the county's District 5. His focus is on long-term planning for the county, in part because Davison County is among the few in the state well-equipped to do so.
"Most commissions aren't on long-term plans because the money isn't there," he said. "We're a growth county. We need to be ahead of the game, not behind it."
Claggett said he watches the actions of the state and national governments closely and frequently brings topics of discussion to the rest of the commission. He said it's important for the county to be able to retain its own power.
"We need to be able to retain our individual liberty," he said. "People don't really realize how much we're losing that. We're losing our own strength."
Claggett said he looks forward for the commission to move from the courthouse for its regular meet site to the former Central Electric building at 1420 N. Main St. in Mitchell. He added the move should increase accessibility to the public, as he hopes to webstream meetings on the county's website.
Returning to roads, Claggett said the federal government isn't going to give counties and states any additional help in fixing roads and bridges.
"The public sees that on a daily basis," he said. "That is truly is our weakest link on agriculture. We have producers meet with us on a regular basis, and they say 'tax us,' so that we can have the roads. But make sure it goes to roads."