Election Year 2012: Voters charged with hard decisions in wake of oil boomIt’s finally here — election year 2012.
It’s finally here — election year 2012.
While local elected officials think about running for re-election, they say voters have an even more important decision to make.
“It is going to be an important election just because of all the oil impact and all the oil development going on around here,” Mayor Dennis Johnson said Saturday. “There are a lot of things happening.”
The Dickinson City Commission has four seats to fill. Commissioners Carson Steiner, Joe Frenzel, Gene Jackson and Johnson, who serves as the commission president, will have to decide by April 13 if they will run for their seats.
An oil boom in western North Dakota has presented many challenges to elected officials, Johnson said, though he felt the commission has handled the impacts well.
“I’m certain we haven’t done everything perfectly, but I think we have done well and I don’t think the impact has overwhelmed us,” he said.
Dickinson Public School Board members Kris Fehr and Leslie Ross also have terms coming to an end. Fehr said she is planning to run again in June. She said leadership will play an important role during the oil boom.
“It is always important going forward,” she said. “With the influx of people, the impact of energy and other sectors (and) the impact of new people in the community, it is really important to have some consistency, and it is really important to have strong leadership not only in the city, but also in the school district and on the state level.”
Stark County residents will vote for three commissioners Nov. 6. Commissioner Jay Elkin said he will run for his seat on the commission a second time.
“The first three years have been somewhat of a learning experience, and I have enjoyed it thoroughly,” he said.
Elkin said the commission has met many challenges this year, including financial issues, infrastructure maintenance and impacts from the oil boom. While he said he did have the advantage of knowing what to expect and how to handle it, he stated he’s not the only one who could do his job and welcomes others to run against him.
“There is always someone out there that can do the job,” he said. “There is a whole host of very good people out there that are well-qualified who could do the job equally well.”
Duane “Bucky” Wolf announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election. Commissioner Pete Kuntz, whose term also expires, did not immediately return phone calls from The Dickinson Press.
While elections seem to be far way, Fehr said the deadlines and time to vote are closing in fast, and voters will head to the booths as soon as June 12 for city elections and again Nov. 6 for the general election.
“We have to look to the future and be ready,” she said.
Candidates can start petition circulation Friday and start submitting them Jan. 16.
Jackson, Steiner and Frenzel did not immediately return phone calls from The Press on Saturday.