Churchill County Commission District 3 | NevadaAppeal.com
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Churchill County Commission District 3

The same questions were asked of all candidates who are running for the two district Churchill County Commission seats. Responses to those questions will be grouped by District 1 and District 3. Candidates will be listed alphabetically as they are on the ballot.

All responses have been edited only for spelling and punctuation, and no content has been changed. In addition, all candidates are responsible for their own comments, and any false or misleading statements are the responsibility of the candidate and not The Fallon Post or the Lahontan Valley News.

CHURCHILL COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 3 – KEITH BOONE, Democrat

My family and I moved to Fallon in August of 1997, and immediately fell in love with this community. I have worked as an educator since 1992, and since 2003, I have worked as a school administrator.
Currently, I serve all Nevada Elementary School Administrators as President-Elect of the Nevada Elementary School Principals Association. Locally, I serve as president of the Churchill County Administrators Association. Since moving to Churchill County, I have volunteered in various roles through activities such as Fallon Youth Club, Fallon Youth Basketball, and school district activities.

My interest in running for Churchill County Commissioner largely stems from my concern for our county to economically thrive and continue to be a great place to live.

1. Why should water be a priority for the Lahontan Valley?

In order to continue to flourish as an agricultural community, it is important for us to protect water as one of our most precious resources. Management of water use is necessary to provide for our county’s needs and to protect our environment.

2. During the past five years, great steps have been taken to improve the quality of life in Churchill County. What do you envision for the next 5 years? 10 years?

We have a unique economic base that stems from agriculture, Naval Air Station Fallon, many small businesses and natural resources. Under the five-year review, residential and commercial/industrial planning will be crucial for both economic sustainability and prosperity. Churchill County should continue our progressive business practices, as demonstrated through Churchill Hazen Industrial Park (CHIP), which is an exporter of green energy. We need to promote our great quality of life through the Parks & Recreation programs and our easy access to boating, fishing, camping, hiking, golfing, rodeo, hunting, and off-road adventures.

3. What should be the relationship between the county and the Bureau of Land Management?

It is important to me to protect our citizen’s access to public lands as well as protecting our rancher’s access for grazing on BLM managed lands. Churchill County Commissioners and the Bureau of Land Management need to maintain open communication.

4. What issues facing Churchill County would you prioritize in the area of public health and safety?

In the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, economists are estimating it will be anywhere from 5-8 years for communities to rebound from its effects. There will be lasting changes just as there were with travel as a result of 9-11. It will be important to take the necessary recommended precautions to protect our citizens while reopening economically. Maintaining our county roads, along with continued support for our Volunteer Fire Department, Search and Rescue, and Banner Churchill will be just a few of my top priorities.

5. How should the county handle its relationship with the Navy due to the range expansion and modernization?
NAS Fallon range expansion is one of the most difficult issues facing our County Commissioners. The expansion could have a positive effect on our county as we depend on NAS Fallon as a large part of our economic base; however, it may also have a negative impact on the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe and Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge.

The Navy has an urgency for this expansion in order to meet its training needs. Decision making for this expansion must be based on compromise and reciprocity from all parties. Our county commissioners will not only need to work closely with the Navy, but also with Tribal Government and Congress in order to make the best decisions for all parties affected by the proposed expansion.

6. Should the county approach growth as planned growth or full speed ahead?

I am in favor of an aggressive plan that emphasizes future employment opportunities that comes with appropriate planning for growth and development.

7. How important is it (or not) for the county and WNC to work together?

Western Nevada College is vital to our community and it is essential for the County and WNC to maintain a positive working relationship. Advantages include giving recent high school graduates the opportunity to stay home and save money while earning credits, allowing working adults to earn their certificate/degree without driving to another city, and providing Jump Start and dual-enrollment classes for our high school students. WNC’s multiple certification programs help prepare our citizens for a quickly changing job market that currently exists locally and at the nearby Reno-Tahoe Industrial Park.

8. What should the city-county relationship look like in governing?

The relationship between the city and county governments should be seamless, as all Fallon residents are also members of Churchill County, and all Churchill County residents depend on the City of Fallon in one way or another.

9. What do you see the future of the city and county working with the Churchill Economic Development Authority?
The city and county need to support CEDA to protect and promote future business and economic growth in our community.

CHURCHILL COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 3 – KELLI KELLY, Democrat

I am running for a position on the Churchill County Board of County Commissioners to build upon my foundation of citizen service and in order to bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of our county. I am a community-builder, match-maker, and problem-solver. I believe in transparency and am committed to working collaboratively with all partners. These skills make me an ideal candidate to help guide our county strategically over the next four years.

In our community, I work closely with a variety of organizations that help make Churchill County an amazing place to live. In my role as the executive director for the Fallon Food Hub, I connect Churchill County agricultural producers to customers throughout west central Nevada. I love working with our farmers to grow the reach of their businesses both by educating the community about the values of supporting local farmers and through advocacy at the local and state level. In addition, I volunteer my time fundraising for the Fallon Youth Club, organizing the Center Street Farmers Market, advising the Career and Technical Education department of Churchill County School District on the culinary industry, and am a trustee for the Churchill County Library.

My husband Neil and I love to support the youth of Churchill County. In addition to our roles with the Fallon Youth Club we regularly sponsor little league, Pop Warner football, youth soccer, the Fallon Grange, and FFA programs. And, of course, it was a great honor (and one of our favorite memories) for us to serve as the 2018 Cantaloupe King and Queen.

1. Why should water be a priority for the Lahontan Valley?

Water is our most valuable natural resource in Churchill County — it is also the most fragile. Therefore, water must be a part of every conversation and consideration faced by Churchill County leadership.

Churchill County is at the end of the line within our watershed, which means that we must collaborate with other counties on water conservation. In addition, there is much that we can do at the local level to protect this valuable resource.

Churchill County already has a great foundation. We have a comprehensive county water conservation plan, which was updated in June 2019. Past boards of commissioners developed minimum land requirements for new residential wells. And the county has a plan to capture ground water, which will support the county water system and re-charge our aquifer. Strategic planning around water includes forecasts following a variety of models through 2050.

It is essential to be vigilant in the protection of our water supply in order to ensure access to clean drinking water for future generations. I would work to protect our access to safe water by prioritizing conservation of natural resources in all strategic plans for the county.

2. During the past five years, great steps have been taken to improve the quality of life in Churchill County. What do you envision for the next 5 years? 10 years?

Churchill County is an incredible place to live! I have seen over the past 11 years how a comprehensive strategic plan and grass-roots community building has improved quality of life for county residents. As detailed above, my work with Fallon youth, Churchill farmers, and the community at large have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Our Churchill County Master Plan is the comprehensive roadmap that addresses issues ranging from Population and Housing, Education, and Natural Resources to Recreation and Transportation. It reflects where we came from and details where we want to go as a community.

That Master Plan is under review. As part of that process, I would take steps to ensure access to housing, education, water, and other vital services for vulnerable populations, including the elderly and disabled. Over the course of the next 5-10 years, I would prioritize increased resiliency in necessary services (water, infrastructure, education), increased economic vibrancy (Churchill Hazen Industrial Park, new small-businesses, agricultural growth), and improved recreational opportunities (golf course improvements, library expansion, fairground infrastructure).

3. What should be the relationship between the county and the Bureau of Land Management?

Collaboration is key when dealing any outside stakeholder and the Bureau of Land Management is no exception. The Bureau of Land Management oversees thousands of acres of public lands that Churchill County residents enjoy while hunting, hiking, camping, and exploring. A relationship of collaboration will allow both Churchill County and BLM to maximize response to the needs of maintaining these lands.

I have spoken with BLM employees about the challenges of maintaining publicly held lands and techniques used for land management. For example, BLM can use targeted grazing to control the spread of invasive weeds, seed-drilling of native plant species to rehabilitate land after fires, and take steps to control wild horse populations on public lands within the borders of Churchill County. I would work to maximize collaboration between Churchill County and the BLM to ensure that these lands are maintained for future generations.

4. What issues facing Churchill County would you prioritize in the area of public health and safety?

I would prioritize access to fundamental needs by all members of our community. Public health at the county level improves when every resident has access to their basic physiological needs (healthy food, clean water, shelter, and clothing). For vulnerable populations who struggle to provide for these needs for themselves and their families, there are county-led and independent charitable programs to help fill the gap. Increasing the footprint of these programs will help raise the floor of our collective public health.

In addition, I would focus on increasing safety and resiliency. These issues include access to health care, employment, and general physical and mental wellness. Our collective health and safety diminish when members of our community struggle with their physical or mental health, drug addiction, unemployment, and lack of access to programs that can help.

Finally, I would work to foster connection and community. Creating opportunities for Churchill County residents to grow meaningful connections with each other creates a greater level of community well-being. A connected community is happier and more resilient community.

5. How should the county handle its relationship with the Navy due to the range expansion and modernization?

It is the responsibility of the Churchill County Commissioners to advocate for our residents in their negotiations with the Navy, the State of Nevada, and our federal contingent. While the timeline for public comment directly with the Navy has expired, there is still opportunity for advocacy and mediation at the federal level before the modernization plan is finalized and adopted by Congress. The current board of county commissioners in collaboration with county staff and contracted agencies has done an amazing job expressing concerns and objections about the range expansion and are continuing to advocate for Churchill County residents with our representatives in congress.

Whatever the ultimate result of congressional action on the Fallon Range Training Complex Modernization, Naval Air Station Fallon is and will continue to be an important partner of Churchill County. NAS Fallon is the largest employer in Churchill County and makes significant financial contributions to our local economy. While change is somewhat inevitable, maintaining a spirit of cooperation with locally stationed navy personnel through these times of change is needed to foster a healthy and prosperous relationship.

6. Should the county approach growth as planned growth or full speed ahead?

Nothing good has ever been built without a plan — and growth in Churchill County is no exception. A good plan evaluates where we have come from, where we are at currently, and where we want to go. Forecasts for population growth from regional economic development authorities and the state are helpful for establishing growth expectations. But the efforts at the county level need to be more comprehensive than simply anticipating an increase in population.

I believe that growth in the county needs to happen simultaneously in four different arenas: economic development, housing & infrastructure, workforce development, and community development. If these four areas fall out of balance, the overall quality of life in Churchill County will be impacted. As we work to bring new businesses into Churchill County and to expand existing businesses, we want to have a qualified and able workforce to fill the new good-paying jobs. We also want those qualified workers to be able to afford entry-level housing so that they may create generational wealth for their families. Finally, community organizations and services provide the opportunity for recreation, entertainment, and leisure so that our residents can live fulfilling lives.

7. How important (or not) is it for the county and WNC to work together?

One of the most vital segments of our county’s Master Plan focuses on education within the community. Western Nevada College is one of the core stakeholders when it comes to developing educational opportunities in Churchill County. We have some amazing advantages in terms of education in our community. WNC is constantly increasing the level of inter-connectedness with Churchill County School District, Oasis Academy, and Churchill County Library. Additionally, WNC has been exceptionally nimble in responding to the needs of the county in terms of education and qualification of our workforce. This is perhaps best demonstrated through the growth of the nursing programs through collaboration with Churchill County and the creation of a trucking and transportation curriculum.

The Career and Technical Education department within Churchill County School District provides opportunities for our middle school and high school students to learn about and gain certification in a variety of technical fields. As they matriculate, they can further this education through programs at WNC. While not yet comprehensive, these relationships are consistently growing and are the foundation of workforce development in Churchill County. Once again, collaboration with partners and stakeholders is the avenue towards resiliency in our community.

8. What should the city-county relationship look like in governing?

I believe that a relationship of partnership between the City of Fallon and Churchill County is the best approach to governance. Every resident of the city is also a resident of Churchill County. Additionally, Churchill County is unique in that the city of Fallon is the only incorporated city within the county borders. Churchill County residents rely upon resources and services that exist within the city lines — including county-wide resources like K-12 schools, the Churchill County Library, Banner Community Hospital, and the Pennington Life Center.

There is also something to be said for strength in numbers. The City of Fallon and Churchill County have accomplished some amazing achievements through collaboration and pooling of resources. This is most evident in the completed construction of the Pennington Life Center and the forthcoming Fallon Youth Club facility. By working together, the city and the county have secured a variety of grants to improve facilities and services that benefit both municipalities and their residents.

Personally, I have always enjoyed collaborating with City of Fallon staff, Mayor Tedford, and the city council. I believe that we can accomplish more by working together than either of us can achieve alone.

9. What do you see the future of the city and county working with the Churchill Economic Development Authority?

The Churchill Economic Development Authority is a source of strength and resilience in our business community. The presence of an agency that focuses on business development locally within the city of Fallon and Churchill County is an asset that must be cherished. Services from the Small Business Development Center housed at CEDA provide free guidance and counseling for entrepreneurs and existing businesses within Churchill County in order to grow their solvency and profitability. CEDA is another example of how cooperation between the city of Fallon and Churchill County, as well as existing business leaders, yields great results.

Thanks to the new inter-local agreement between the City of Fallon and Churchill County, the mission and focus of the Churchill Economic Development Authority has been honed and clarified. A resource, like CEDA, that focuses on workforce development, economic development, and building partnerships is invaluable. I will continue to work with the Churchill Economic Development Authority to improve the economic climate of Churchill County.

CHURCHILL COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 3 – MICHAEL “MICK” CASEY, Republican

My name is Michael (Mick) Casey; I am a candidate for Churchill County Board of Commissioners. I was born and reared in Churchill County as was my wife Claudia and our children. My life has included hunting, fishing, and trapping throughout Nevada and my business interests have included raising cattle on our family ranches, irrigated farming in Lahontan Valley and Dixie Valley, real estate development, home sales, and several other businesses. Claudia and I established and have been Pastors of the Threshingfloor Church in Fallon for 23 years.

Churchill County has been good for our family. Our family businesses have been successful and we appreciate the opportunities that living in Churchill County has provided.

This is my home and I seek election to the Churchill County Board of Commissioners because it is an opportunity to give back to my community.

1. Why should water be a priority for the Lahontan Valley?

1. Domestic wells at each home have been common for over 100 years in Lahontan Valley with very few restrictions. Recently the Legislators have decided the state will control domestic wells with the use of water meters and other regulation. Churchill County must help individuals fight to defeat State control of domestic wells in Churchill County.

2. Water and water law is essential for a stable Lahontan Valley economy. Agricultural production from irrigated fields is the greatest source of economic activity in the county in the sense that crop production represents new wealth. Income from the sales of crops becomes deposits in local banks and that in turn is money spent within our community businesses on the operating costs of farms and ranches. Those operating costs (expenditures by agricultural producers) include retail purchases of supplies and equipment, labor, local taxes, etc.

3. Agricultural production also provides direct benefits to many types of wildlife and of particular importance is the feed provided to ducks, geese, and other birds that migrate through the area.

4. Industrial and urban growth already requires a great deal of water and water must be available for future economic growth.

5. Use of water depends on water rights being recognized and protected as private property rights and the importance or priority of the County must recognize the laws, court decisions, and customs of our area.

6. Failure to consider water our priority issue means Churchill County would risk becoming like the Owens Valley California (Bishop) area or Hawthorne, Nevada.

2. During the past five years, great steps have been taken to improve the quality of life in Churchill County What do you envision for the next 5 years? 10 years?

1. Churchill County includes vast areas that are outside of the Lahontan Valley that have great economic potential and also have great outdoor recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, camping, ATV travel, rock hounding, and much more so I envision:

2. Industrial development; particularly in the checkerboard lands north of Fallon.

3. Urban/residential development for people working in our area or commuting to other locations

4. Agricultural expansion and residential development in eastern parts of the county.

5. Churchill County must work with the State Legislature to pass laws that will protect every form of outdoor recreation well into the future. Out citizens and visitors must be assured that they have a right to access federally controlled lands.

6. In last 10 years Churchill County was considered as a location for relocation of several industries and those businesses chose to move to Idaho and other locations. Churchill County needs to identify what happened that discouraged new industry and prevent that from happening again.

3. What should be the relationship between the county and the Bureau of Land Management?

1. Churchill County contains a huge amount of land controlled by federal agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Navy. It must be made clear to the federal agency employees that Churchill County fully agrees with Nevada Statute that directs land management decisions are best made at the local level by the citizens of each county.

2. Relationship with BLM should remain cordial and cooperative. BLM lands provide agriculture production (livestock forage), mining, and recreation which all benefit the Churchill County economy.

3. Relationships also must be formal in the sense that the authority of both federal agencies and the county is already limited to those actions permitted by statute and in accordance with the doctrine of the Separation of Powers.

4. Churchill County is agrees with Nevada State law which sets the policies for multiple use and sustained yield from the areas controlled by federal agencies and the county must be prepared to stand firmly for those concepts.

5. Churchill County must seek to have land disposed of by Department of Interior for the benefit of the county and in accordance with state statute.

6. BLM is required by law to work with cooperation, consultation, and coordination with the county and also with citizens and the county will continue to participate in those CCCs.

7. Both federal officials and county officials simply need to observe the limits of each agency’s jurisdiction keeping in mind that federal jurisdiction is severely limited especially in comparison to the authority provided by the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada. This relationship will depend on careful definition of “jurisdiction”, “public land”, and other terms that have become part of our conversations between agencies.

8. For example “coordination” has several definitions in everyday use but federal law also requires federal agencies to coordinate their proposed plans with any existing local plan for resource management and to resolve any inconsistencies. Churchill County can help BLM fulfill their obligations for consistency by developing a more detailed Natural Resource policy than we have in place at this time.

9. Coordination in accordance with federal law puts the County on an equal government to government footing with the federal agencies which is not available when merely consulting.

10. Churchill County will continue to work in cooperation with BLM and other federal agencies so long as the federal officials do what is lawful and to take actions based on the best available scientific and commercial data.

11. Every county, including Churchill, has authority to protect privately held existing rights such as water rights and rights-of-way as well as property rights held by the county for the public such as rights-of-way.

12. Churchill County must also work to preserve free access to BLM lands for hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor recreation.

4. What issues facing Churchill County would you prioritize in the area of public health and safety?

1. Issues of drug and alcohol abuse and the problems that are caused to family stability, traffic safety, and occasionally crime.

2. Crime is not a major problem in Churchill County compared to nearby cities but any criminal activity must be investigated and solved.

3. Disease, especially from disease vectors such as mosquitoes, must be fought every year

4. Churchill County includes many open spaces provided by farms in Lahontan Valley and rangelands throughout the county which provide benefits including high quality of life and health for citizens and visitors alike. Much of this benefit is provided by private land owners at no charge to the public. Land use controls such as conservation easements appear to protect the open space qualities but at some point the county may need to take even more action to reward those who contribute to our quality of life.

5. There are limited sources of pollution in our area but one that seems serious is the activity of the Navy, especially when their airplanes dump fuel over private lands, and violate their own flight restrictions by flying low over houses and schools with the accompanying noise. Churchill County will work to prevent such problems.

6. Home rule for Nevada counties became law several years ago and Churchill County must plan how to implement the new authority in order to reduce the limitations placed on Churchill County by both state agencies and by other counties with larger populations.

5..How should the county handle its relationship with the Navy due to the range expansion and modernization?

1. Churchill County citizens recognize the need for a strong and well prepared military and fully intend to continue to honor veterans for their service.

2. Churchill County is well aware that NAS Fallon is at Fallon because Congress told them to be here but can be moved at any time. The county must use its voice to encourage Congress and the Administration to keep the base at this location.

3. Citizens of the county should not be expected to pay for the costs of the Navy expansion through loss of property or loss of quality of life. Churchill County must side with those individuals to obtain just compensation for loss of property.

4. Churchill County should remind Navy that the county has authority to protect the private interests of citizens. Protection of private interests includes the land, property held in equity, and air space owned by individuals.

5. Churchill County should complete an adequate Land Use Plan and Natural Resource Plan that will enable the Navy (just like the BLM) to coordinate with the County and resolve inconsistencies between Navy proposals and county policy.

6. Churchill County and the State of Nevada retain the full jurisdiction within Navy controlled areas including the Churchill County Sheriff being the fully authorized law enforcement for all of Churchill County.

6. Should the county approach growth as planned growth or full speed ahead?

1. Some planning for growth is a necessary part of designing infrastructure such as road systems, power, water, sewer, etc.

2. Control of growth through the current zoning process generally has failed as indicated by how often zoning variance is approved because the original zoning was in error.

3. Planned Growth is not possible in Churchill County because only private lands can be controlled by the zoning regulations which leaves the use of most of the county acreage to be planned by federal agencies.

4. Planned Growth in Churchill County has caused several companies that were interested in locating their manufacturing plants within the County to build new plants in other communities and not Churchill County.

5. Churchill County is responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of citizens and that should include holding anyone accountable when their activities interfere with the neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment property including tor example noise, the release of fumes, traffic congestion, and anything else that harms property values.

7. How important (or not) is it for the county and WNC to work together?

1. WNC is an abbreviation for the Western Nevada College and it is very important for the WNC to prepare people to enter the present and future work force in the county.

2. Churchill County should work closely with WNC to obtain a number of benefits.

3. Churchill County benefits greatly from vocational training that can be provided by WNC for young people who need to develop work skills in everything from construction to computer programming.

4. Trained and educated people become the future employees of businesses that move their operations to Churchill County.

5. WNC prepares our local young people for future enrolment in a college that grants full degrees.

6. WNC provides classroom education for people who are seeking to improve themselves or are learning about new topics as a matter of personal interest.

8. What should the city-county relationship look like in governing?

1. Cooperative, with full and open communication.

2. There must be a clear understanding that the two governments have separate jurisdiction and each has its own job.

3. Some work has been and should continue to be completed jointly for example dispatching for emergencies, and providing for urban growth in the county that is outside the city limits.

9. What do you see the future of the city and county working with the Churchill Economic Development Authority?

1. Churchill County is not limited to the relatively small area called Lahontan Valley and has much potential for growth in industry and population for future development. Churchill Economic Development Authority will provide great benefits for future growth.

2. Economic Development Authority serves to encourage industry to locate to Churchill County and that should include bringing to the County Commission anything about our area and our local government that interferes with the attraction of new industry.

CHURCHILL COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 3 – GREGORY S. KOENIG, Republican

My name is Greg Koenig. I have decided to run for county commissioner to help preserve the conservative values that this county was traditionally espoused. I feel like our rights are being attacked on all sides. The state government in Carson City is being run by liberals voted in by Las Vegas and Washoe County. I feel the rural counties, including Churchill County are not being adequately represented. We need to do all we can to protect our rural way of life. We need to fight for our rights to bear arms. We need to stand up to unlimited, illegal immigration. We need to require Identification to be able to vote. We need to resist over taxation and bigger government.

Two proposed taxes. Taxes on the miles we drive our cars, and taxing the water we draw from our own wells, disproportionately affect us in the rural counties. We need to do all we can to stop these taxes from happening. I live Churchill County, this is home. I live and work here, have for almost all my life. My grandkids living here are fifth generation in the valley. I have served on the Churchill County School Board for 12 years. I have proven my leadership during this time, being the board president for almost half of that time. I also served as president of NASB (Nevada Association of School Board) over all the school board members in the state and was on their executive committee for six years. I was on the Board of Control for the NIAA (Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association) for three years, governing all the high school athletics in the state of Nevada. I was also on numerous advisory committees for the state.

I have had successful optometry practice in Fallon for over 20 years. This business experience and my experience on the school board will help me as county commissioner. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the economy and all aspects of our lives, having dealt with budget cuts before might come in handy. It’s never fun but we were able to make the hard decision, and take the appropriate steps to get the school district back on track. These experiences will help me be an effective leader on the county commission

1. Why should water be a priority for the Lahontan Valley?

Water is the lifeblood of Churchill County. We live in a desert, without adequate water we would dry up and blow away. Fallon has always been an agricultural community, our high school mascot is the Greenwave, for the green waves of alfalfa that we are famous far. It is important we keep Lahontan full so the farmers will have enough water to irrigate their crops We need continued vigilance to monitor the upstream use of both the Carson and Truckee Rivers. We need to do all we can to maintain the underground aquifer and make sure it is replenished appropriately so our wells do not go dry. We need to explore other alternatives and explore the feasibility of the Dixie Valley water source. Over the years I have seen droughts and I have seen floods. We need contingencies for all situations. The county needs to continue cooperating with TCID regarding flood control and prioritizing infrastructure repair needs. We also need to continue working with FEMA and BOR to update and work on flood plain remapping.

2. During the past five years, great steps have been taken to improve the quality of life in Churchill County What do you envision for the next 5 years? 10 years?

My vision for the future of Churchill County is pretty simple. I want it to be a place where I, my children and my grandchildren are all proud to call home. I want it to have a strong, diversified economy, with a reasonable tax climate. A place with sound infrastructures, good roads and sewage and water systems. I think the nest way to prepare for the future is to be flexible and be able to make adjustments on the fly. You cannot completely prepare for everything, like covid-19, but you can have systems in place to deal with challenges as they come u

What I when I was first on the school board, we were scrambling to find a place to build a new school to house all the new students in the county. Then following the combination of a recession and the cancer cluster, our student population drastically decreased and we faced the challenge of closing a school. I do not think you can ever totally predict what will happen in the future but the important thing is that you know how to deal with it when it arises.

3. What should be the relationship between the county and the Bureau of Land Management?

Hopefully, the relationship with the Bureau of Land Management is on that is mutually beneficial. The BLM oversees the federally owned land, which is over 85% in the state of Nevada. Public lands include lands used for agriculture, sports, recreation, hunting, mining, grazing, geothermal among other things. Unfortunately, there are a lot of political influences on the BLM.

 The current administration is pretty hands-off that works for our benefit. In the past there have been too many regulations and much influence from environmentalists. One touchy subject with conflicting interest is how to deal with the wild horse issue. It benefits the county to manage the local herd while those with the idyllic ideas of the wild west world fight against this. So there is a balancing act between what is best for the county and the outside interests. Our goal is to compromise and find solutions that work for both the count and the BLM.

4. What issues facing Churchill County would you prioritize in the area of public health and safety?

I think there are a few issues facing our county in the areas of public health and safety. I think one of the problems facing us is the inability of the hospital to recruit and maintain new doctors. Every time you turn around a doctor is leaving and another one is taking their place. The counties only responsibility is to make this county a desirable destination. We need to make Fallon a place where health care professionals want to come and stay. The county needs to support plans to slow the effects of the meth and opioid epidemics. We need to come up with plans to deal with the growing homeless population. As for as safety the county needs to support law enforcement through sufficient funding and providing other support they might need.

5. How should the county handle its relationship with the Navy due to the range expansion and modernization?

I think the Navy modernization and range expansion or “land grab” is a little bit of a sticky situation. First off I think we need to be good neighbors, but I don’t think we should let ourselves be taken advantage of either. We need to recognize the big role the Navy plays in our community, both contributing to the local economy and on a national level, keeping us safe. But when the plan is to take away county lands, we need to make sure we are treated fairly. We need assurance that we will be fairly reimbursed for loss of grazing, mineral rights, mining claims and water rights jeopardized by this withdrawal. We need to continue to articulate the county’s position regarding the access of lands and roads. We need to consider maintaining access to mines in the county to not put undue burdens in those working at those mines. We need to work with our congress men to help acquire checker brand lands in the county to help compensate for the land lost to the Navy modernization plan.

6. Should the county approach growth as planned growth or full speed ahead?

A wise man once said, “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” I definitely think we should strive for and encourage growth in our county. But I think it’s equally important to have a master plan with reasonable sustainable growth and not just charge full speed ahead without direction. One area of growth we really need to address is housing. There is a current housing shortage and with the Navy expansion coming it’s only going to get worse.

One area we need to focus on with any growth is retaining our agricultural lands. An example would be the planned subdivision in the Gummow/Rice/Moody area that will be mostly built on what is currently desert instead of someone’s current hay field. Future growth is vital to our economic future, we just need to do it cautiously and responsibly. That’s why I support bringing new and innovative light industry into CHIP (Churchill Hazen Industrial Park. That is land not currently being used for anything else.

7. How important (or not) is it for the county and WNC to work together?

I believe it is important for the county and Western Nevada College to work together. The goal of being on the county commission should be to produce a vibrant, healthy, growing community. Having a place for higher education in the county can only make us all better. It benefits our high school students by letting them participate in the “jump start” program and earn associate degrees by the time they finish their senior year. I know the county donates $10,000 a year to the nursing program, which is something I would like to see the county continue. A county commissioner is a member of the advisory committee, to help maintain a good relationship with the college. Having a strong effective WNC in the community can only be good for all of us.

8. What should the city-county relationship look like in governing?

The county and the city are both stronger when they work together. When the city built the Venturacci gym, I know the county chipped in. Conversely, I know when the county built the new senior center the city chipped in. I feel I have a good, open relationship with the mayor and that is something I would look to continue to develop as commissioner. The police force is run by the city and the sheriff’s department is overseen by the county, but they do share the dispatching system. This is another example of the two working together. As far as governance, they are two separate entities but to be able to work together benefits everyone.

9. What do you see the future of the city and county working with the Churchill Economic Development Authority?

The county supports CEDA (Churchill Economic Development Authority) to the tune of $80,000 per year, so they have a pretty big investment into CEDA. I think the potential is there for the relationship to be mutually beneficial. Once of CEDA’s main responsibilities is to potential businesses in an attempt to bring them into the county. The county’s job is to provide a county that is attractive to these businesses so that they and their workers will want to come here. If both do their jobs correctly it will help Churchill county to continue to grow and progress into the future.