GOP candidates on stage at Marion

Bob Brookens (left) and Roger Hannaford listen to fellow candidate Bill Spangler describe his aspirations for the 70th District.

About 200 people took advantage of the opportunity last week to hear from Republican candidates seeking their party?s nomination in contested races for county and state offices.

The Wednesday evening forum, called in preparation for the Aug. 5 primary election, was sponsored by the Marion County Republican Party Central Committee and Hoch Publishing at the USD 408 Performing Arts Center.

Sheriff Lee Becker waits his turn as Rob Craft outlines his view.

Each of the GOP candidates running for state representative for the 70th District, Marion County sheriff, and county commissioner for District 3 participated in the presentation.

The races were featured in that order, with each candidate invited to make an opening and closing statement. In between, they were each given two minutes to respond to questions prepared by the event sponsors and the audience.

Candidates were asked to state their views on the issues, but not to enter into debate with their opponents.

Greg Bower served as moderator.

To begin the evening, 70th district candidates Bob Brookens and Roger Hannaford of Marion and Bill Spangler of Burns were asked six questions prepared by the event sponsors; two questions were submitted from the audience.

Questions from the sponsors addressed coal-fired power plants, taxpayer support for alternate energy sources, funding options for smaller school districts, illegal immigration, the state?s late-term abortion law and health insurance coverage.

One question from the audience addressed homosexuality, and the other whether the candidate would ever vote his own conviction in opposition to the position held by a clear majority of his constituents.

The three candidates are vying for the position held by Don Dahl, who declined to seek re-election this year after serving four terms in the House of Representative in Topeka.

After a brief break, the two candidates for sheriff took the stage: incumbent Lee Becker and challenger Rob Craft.

The two men were asked how they would address the problem of underage drinking and drug use, the recent rise in child-predator cases, and their alternate plan if the county?s $8.5 million pay-to-stay jail proposal is rejected by voters in Novem?ber.

Becker and Craft also were asked their opinion of the state?s conceal-carry law, how they would reduce departmental fuel expenses, about using inmates for community service, and how to handle the rise in more severe offenders in the current jail.

The two Republican candidates for the District 3 county commission seat are incumbent Randy Dallke and challenger Larry Larsen, both from Peabody.


Commission candidates Randy Dallke (left) and Larry Larsen chat as they wait for their part of the evening to begin.

They, too, were asked about alternate plans if the jail initiative fails to pass in November. Questions also covered plans to find a director for the road and bridge department, their management style as a commissioner, community needs, the application of community safety and nuisance standards in rural areas, county-wide mandatory recycling, and ways to reduce expenses in light of high fuel costs.

In the races for state representative and sheriff, the winner of the Aug. 5 primary election will run unopposed on the November ballot.

The winner of the county commission race for District 3 will face Democrat Aaron Allen in November.

Dan Holub, running unopposed in the primary election to retain his District 2 seat on the county commission, will face Democrat Jim Herzet on the November election ballot.

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