Candidates for the upcoming local White Pine County elections gathered at the Bristlecone Convention Center on Monday to speak with local voters and answer their questions. The Ely Times sponsored event drew in a crowd of over 130 people to listen to the different candidates and ask them why they should earn their votes.
“It’s wonderful that people take so much interest in the local elections here. People really want to see a positive and successful future for the county. I was thrilled to see so many people here,” candidate for County Assessor Burton Hilton said. “I believe that by having this forum, and having the candidates speak directly to the public, it is the best form of getting out information out to the voters other than just campaign slogans.”
Mayor Melodie Van Camp stressed the importance of getting registered to vote after the event.
“Your vote counts. You can’t gripe if the wrong person gets in if you didn’t vote. Those people put into office are the ones who are going to take care of our town’s future,” Van Camp said.
Several of the races will go to a primary, which will be held on June 10. The highly-watched race for sheriff will be among those as the three candidates, incumbent Dan Watts, Penny Jo Robison and Steve Marquez will be narrowed down to two.
“I was real happy to see so many people turn out,” Sheriff Watts said.
The race for Mike Lemich’s seat 5 of the county commission could actually end after the primary if one candidate receives 50% of the vote plus one additional vote.
“This is invaluable. This is the greatest opportunity for citizens in this county to participate in the democratic process, ask direct questions, see the candidates and figure out why would be the best one to fill the position,” Mike Wheable, the candidate for District Attorney said. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the kind of thing that wins and loses certain elections.”
Wheable and his opponent, incumbent District Attorney Kelly Brown were only two of the 16 candidates that spoke at the forum.
For those that missed out on hearing the candidates speak, a second public forum will be hosted in the fall, closer to the final general election.