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Six seeking two open Cass Commission seats

Six candidates are interested in becoming Cass County Commissioners. That number will be narrowed down to four after Tuesday's primary election.

Six candidates are interested in becoming Cass County Commissioners. That number will be narrowed down to four after Tuesday's primary election.

No incumbents are running.

Vern Bennett, Kyle Freier and Nick Schuster will compete for the open District 2 seat. Mark Goldstone, Darrell Vanyo and David Wyum will vie for the District 4 seat.

Vern Bennett

The people of Cass County want experienced leadership that is ethical, honest and courageous, said Bennett. And he says he has exactly that after 28 years as superintendent of Fargo Schools. He retired in 1999.


Bennett said he has no hidden agendas, he only wants to serve the people of Cass County. What he would bring to the commission is an ability to look for proper solutions today before they become the problems of tomorrow.

Issues of smart growth, flood protection and economic development require an ability to work with other public and private agencies, Bennett said.

"I know how to cooperate with various government units," Bennett said. "I'm aware of how to get things done through government."

Kyle Freier

Freier says he has always been a doer and not a watcher. That's why the commercial lender for Bremer Bank is running for county commission.

He promises fiscal responsibility and an ability to get all sides of the story before making a decision. His priorities will include roads and bridges, including County Road 17 between West Fargo and Horace and a road levy that ends in 2004. He also feels the county needs to continue being part of the discussion on flood protection, the Maple River dam and economic development.

"I will use my business experience, straight-forward style and leadership to represent Cass County families in a responsible manner, emphasizing efficient use of tax dollars and economic growth," he said.

Nick Schuster


The Cass County Commission will benefit from Schuster's common-sense direction, he says.

The owner of a property management company, Schuster says he understands the art of negotiations and compromise. His focus will be on providing services at a fair and reasonable cost.

"I think government can do great things for people, but it seems like the middle class is getting squeezed by taxes. And I think they're under-represented in public office."

Another goal of Schuster's is to improve communication between government and people. It's up to elected representatives to go out and let people know when important decisions will be made and how it will affect the community, he said.

Mark Goldstone

Mark Goldstone, who works for the North Dakota Air National Guard, ran for Cass County Commission in 1998. He's returning, he says, because there are unresolved issues from that race.

Flood issues, road maintenance and auditing county social services are his priorities.

It's been five years since the 1997 flood and it's time to determine flood protection for the communities south of Fargo, he said. He also wants to improve the condition of rural roads.


He thinks the county's social service department -- the biggest budget item -- could benefit from a management audit.

"Cass County is in transition from an agricultural economy to a more urban place," he said. "I want to help make this a better place."

Darrell Vanyo

Thirteen years as a West Fargo City Commissioner means that Vanyo will be able to bring public service experience to the commission immediately.

"I think it will be important to bring experience to the board right away," he said. "I'll be able to hit the ground running."

An ability to maintain tax levels and deal with tough budget issues requires creativity and analysis, two skills he says he has learned.

He wants to address issues like the West Fargo/Horace highway corridor, general road maintenance, water control and operations of the new county jail.

He also wants to meet the increasing needs of veterans and the needs of the less fortunate.


David Wyum

Wyum has lived in Cass County for 45 years and said it's time to give something back to the county.

A broker with George Wyum Real Estate, Wyum said he will carefully examine the county's land-use regulations and how they're applied to land near urban areas and land in the more rural parts. His experience as a county representative on the Fargo Planning Commission will assist him in that.

He said if elected he will continue to provide good roads and continue to keep taxes low.

"I tend to view the world broadly," he said. "My role will be to do what's best for the most people. That's how you serve the public well."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534

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