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Forum editorial: Brunsvold, Waller for Clay

Ben Brunsvold is Clay County government's biggest nightmare: an uncompromisingly honest county commissioner. With unflinching consistency, Brunsvold has been the county's conscience. He's asked hard questions that made the county's administration...

Ben Brunsvold is Clay County government's biggest nightmare: an uncompromisingly honest county commissioner. With unflinching consistency, Brunsvold has been the county's conscience. He's asked hard questions that made the county's administration and some of the all-too-comfortable members of the commission squirm. He's challenged a budget process that is sloppy at best, grossly incompetent at worst. He's not been intimidated by a tendency of the county administration to stonewall when he asks the hard questions, nor discouraged by the failure of fellow commissioners to conduct themselves as serious stewards of the taxpayers' money.

Brunsvold has earned a second term as District 1 commissioner.

His involvement, of course, goes beyond questioning county budget and management procedures. He's been a leader in county collaborative efforts. He understands that building a new jail (which is needed) will not solve jail overcrowding problems. He has experience on several civic boards and is chairman of the county's economic development effort.

District 1 challenger, former school board member Jim Cummings, also has broad experience in public service. He understands the ins and outs of local government, and brings good ideas to his candidacy. But Cummings seems overly concerned about the process of governance, rather than the need to sometimes act quickly on immediate problems. He has not made the case that the incumbent should be denied another term.

In District 2 former Hawley mayor John Young is challenging two-term Commissioner Jerry Waller. Young is running primarily on the notion that the eastern part of the county is not represented on the commission. That's not enough to toss out a successful incumbent.

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Waller has championed the county's new concern about economic development. He recognizes the county's role in partnering with the private sector in order to establish a business-friendly environment for new investment in the county. On the jail issue, Waller, who has been serving as commission chairman, realizes that a comprehensive assessment of incarceration/treatment needs should be done before the county spends millions of dollars on a new building.

He rejects his opponent's contention that a commissioner can't represent the interests of an area of a county because he lives in another area. Waller is right about that.

For the Clay County Commission: incumbents Ben Brunsvold in District 1 and Jerry Waller in District 2.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board

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