Dickinson voters will get a chance Thursday to see their mayoral candidates in action as the June election grows near.
The mayoral debate, the first of a series of city and county debates to be held by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce, begins at 5:30 p.m. at Dickinson City Hall and be moderated by state North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, of Dickinson.
Candidates Scott Decker, Rod Landblom and Klayton Oltmanns will field questions and discuss their views for Dickinson’s future.
All three men have experience on the Dickinson City Commission. Decker and Oltmanns are on the commission now and Landblom served previously before resigning due a conflict of interest.
All three said Wednesday they hope the debate allows the public to get a little more familiar with themselves and their stances on some of the issues facing the city.
Decker said he was open to answering anything at the event and hoped the candidates got the chance to express their thoughts on the city’s direction.
“I don’t have an idea which questions are going to be asked, so I’m just kind of preparing for anything and everything,” he said, adding he hoped the public was able to present questions directly.
Though Decker said he wasn’t necessarily coming to the debate with a set of points he hoped to get across, he said he’d like to discuss the topics of managing the city debt and promoting Dickinson as a regional hub for development.
“The most important thing is we service our debt and pay it down,” Decker said. “But at the same time, we can’t let that hamstring us and not look at developing the downtown and developing the areas that we annexed.”
Landblom, who is now retired but spent decades as the executive director of the Roosevelt-Custer Regional Council for Development, held a seat on the City Commission and served 27 years as a member of the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, said he was looking forward to the debate.
The specific points he hoped to cover included some “common-sense financial management and personnel management” aimed at addressing the positives and negatives of an economic and municipal landscape shaped by oil activity.
“You mitigate the negatives, but at least use some common sense in the decision-making when it comes to development and how we proceed in this community,” Landblom said.
He said “preserving the integrity” of single-family housing in the city, as well as increasing public safety -- specifically in drug-related matters -- and managing an inward expansion of city growth in the face of a revenue slowdown were issues he was interested in exploring in the debate and beyond.
Oltmanns said he hoped the debate shed light on each of the candidates and helped voters make their decision. He listed two main drivers that prompted him to run for mayor and which he wanted to discuss in the debate, the “first and most important” being the finances of the city moving forward.
In that, Oltmanns said his professional background in finance would be an asset in “not only servicing the debt but also in being a voice for the community to the Legislature next session,” to obtain state funds.
The second major issue he identified was planning for the city’s continued development and the Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future plan.
“We can’t let our foot off the economic development gas pedal,” Oltmanns said, adding economic diversification remained an important goal. “But the nice thing is, having the (plan), we attract quality industry.”
If you go
What: Dickinson mayoral candidate debate
Where: Dickinson City Hall, at 99 2nd Street East
When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday