Candidates begin filing for office |

Candidates begin filing for office

Steve Ranson
Incumbent Bus Scharmann files for the Churchill County Commission, District 1, on Monday.

The election season has begun in earnest as candidates for federal, state and local offices began filing their paperwork.

Within an hour of filing opening for the next two weeks, three candidates — all Republicans — filed their paperwork and paid their fees for two county commission seats.

Incumbent Bus Scharmann seeks a second term to the Churchill County Commission, representing District 1.

“I feel in the first two-and-a-half years, I was figuring out the issues and how I could make a difference,” Scharmann said.

Scharmann retired as dean of Western Nevada College in Fallon in 2011, but he was selected by the Churchill County School Board in July 2012 to serve as interim superintendent for one year because of the sudden resignation of Carolyn Ross.

During the first two years of his term, Scharmann said he didn’t become too involved with the idea of federal transfer of land to state control. He said it’s an important issue since the federal government controls 85 percent of Churchill County lands. Scharmann said he feels the Bureau of Land Management has done a poor job of managing the land.

Carl Erquiaga, who was first elected in 2008, filed for his third term to the county commission’s District 3.

As with Scharmann, he would like another term to see the completion of the new senior citizen center and the county detention facility. Erquiaga is also concerned about the lands’ issue.

“I think this will be a hot topic for the next four years,” Erquiaga said.

Erquiaga, who said he is “semi-retired” from ranching, said in the meantime, BLM must be held more accountable for their policies.

Additionally, Erquiaga said he would also like to work with local groups to expand recreational opportunities in the county.

“Recreation is important to Churchill County’s economy,” he said.

Retired businessman Bill Slentz also filed for District 3. A resident of Churchill County for 35 years, Slentz served on the school board for four-and-a-half years in the 1990s.

“This community has been great to my family and me,” said Slentz, who was the first candidate to file on Monday.

Slentz, who said he enjoys politics, is the retired owner of Oasis Online, which serves four counties including Churchill.

Because of his business background, Slentz said he has an interest in the budget. He knows land issues will be a topic the commission will face, and he said he is reading and listening to information from both sides and formulating a position.

“I need to see all the pros and cons,” Slentz said, adding he is attending all the commission meetings and developing positions.

Sara Lafrance officially filed for Board of Regents, District 9. Robert Davison, who was appointed to succeed Ron Knecht, announced he would not seek the position.

Lafrance said she is planning to visit Fallon again next week and meet with key people to discuss the college and attend a meeting.

She met previously with WNC President Chet Burton and LaFrance said Nevada is facing a “whole new economy” with a technological boom of employers coming into the state looking for employees who have been trained and educated to meet the demands. She said the colleges and universities must be proactive.

Those running for office in Churchill County will file at the Clerk’s/Treasurer’s Office on 155 N. Taylor St., through March 18. The Clerk’s/Treasurer’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The election year in Churchill County will be light with three openings for school board and two each for county commission and the Mosquito, Vector and Weed Abatement Board.

The school-board positions are currently held by Ron Evans, Greg Koenig and Kathryn Whitaker, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Steve Nunn.

Only two positions are up for election in the Mosquito, Vector and Weed Abatement Board — Sheldon Chip and Marion Jonte, who was appointed last year to a seat vacated by Ron Rudden.

Jonte applied Monday to run for a four-year term.