By Marty Bachman
Early voting for the June 14 Primary Election begins Saturday in the lobby of the White Pine County Courthouse, 801 Clark Street in Ely, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. While the courthouse will be closed on Memorial Day, early voting will resume Tuesday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., again on Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. -2 p.m., and June 6-10 from 8 a.m to 6 p.m.
The primary election will be held on June 14, with polls open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at the Bristlecone Convention Center and McGill Grade School (for McGill area residents). Questions pertaining to the election can be directed to the White Pine County Clerk’s office at 775-293-6509 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most prominent races will be the battle for the Republican nomination for two county commissioner seats, both for four-year terms. Republican candidates for Seat 2 include incumbent Mike Coster and challenger Shane A. Bybee. The winner will represent the Republican ticket in the Nov. 8 General Election. George Chachas, who faces no opposition in the June 14 Primary Election, will be on the Democrat side of the ballot.
Seat 4 candidates for the Republican nomination are incumbent Richard Howe and challenger Johnathan Dishong.
Ralph McClintock, who has no opponent for the Primary race, will be the Democratic nominee in the November General Election and Rusty Lewis will run as a non-partisan.
Seat 3 has only one nominee, Steven M. Stork (Republican), who will represent Republicans in November and will most likely get a pass as he has no opponents in the Primary race.
Two trustee positions are up for bids on the White Pine Hospital District Board, a non-partisan office. Dale L. Derbridge and Leslie Martin will battle it out for the District 3 seat, while Wade Robison and Todd Brewster will compete for the District 5 honors. Both District positions are for four-year terms.
The White Pine County School Board race has four, four-year seats up for grabs. Subdistrict C and Subdistrict F have no challengers with Angie McVicars (C) and Shella Nicholes (F) being the only candidates filing. In Subdistrict D, Mary Kerner and Jessica Trask square off, while in Subdistrict G, Denys M. Koyle and Candice Campeau will face off with each other.
In March of this year, the board of commissioners approved a pair of ballot questions, one seeking to impose an increase in sales tax of ¼ of every one cent for the purpose of funding the senior center, library, parks and agricultural extension; and the second one asking voters to allow them to enact an ordinance to impose, for the period beginning on Jan. 1, 2017 and ending on Dec. 31, 2026, annual increases in the taxes on certain motor vehicle fuels based on construction inflation not to exceed 7.8 percent for the purpose of funding repairs and maintenance of roads and enhance public safety in White Pine County. Voters will be asked to approve or reject each of these questions on the Primary ballot.
Following are statements from the four Republican candidates for county commissioner Seats 2 and 4.
Shane Bybee said that he’s dedicated to making things work — “on the job, in the community and as a leader in the community.”
A lifelong resident of White Pine County, Bybee said he is a proud father and grandfather.
“I accepted family responsibility at a young age to contribute to the family business, becoming one of the three partners in the Ramada Copper Queen, and I have worked nonstop for over 40 years,” he said in a statement emailed to the Times.
Bybee was appointed to the Ely City Council in 1999 to complete a term for a resigning member and was subsequently elected to serve three more terms, a total of more than 13 years. During that time he served for over 11 years as the council’s mayor pro-tem, as chairman of the NNRY Board of Trustees, 12 years on the Tourism and Recreation Board, (over nine as chairman), 13 years on the White Pine County Board of Equalization and 12 years on the city and county negotiating team.
“As I’ve done throughout my life, I’ve rolled up my sleeves, became a leader in the community as a past-president and long standing member of the White Pine Chamber of Commerce, a 23 year member and past-president of the Ely Rotary Club, in addition to volunteering for countless community projects and special events,” he said. “My goal is to continue meeting the needs and wants of the general public. Even though we choose officials to make decisions, the dialogue does not end at the ballot box. We need responsible citizens to not only serve but listen, if we want to continue to see growth towards the future.”
Mike Coster said in his statement that he has a lot of experience in accounting and business and he is very serious about good county management; particularly, controlling costs.
“Unfortunately, I am in the minority on spending and budget this year,” he wrote the Times. “The county just adopted the fifth deficit budget by a 3 to 2 vote. Five years in a row of overspending. Sadly, the commission prefers to add taxes for you and cut the hours of the lowest paid county employees. That’s impractical and unfair.”
Coster said his reason for running to serve on the county commission four years ago was to stop excess spending and replace the indifferent attitude of some commissioners towards the public with great service.
“With too few votes to have a reliable majority for good government and budget sanity this year, this election promises to turn the tide,” he said. “From the start, I committed to oppose any new or increased taxes, and without fail, I have. Unlike my opponent, I continue to oppose them”
Coster said that the right commissioners can join him in stopping the two additional increases that are already in the law.
Johnathan Dishong describes himself to local voters as a father, a husband, a servant and a friend.
“Those are the things matter most in my profile, he wrote in his statement to the Times.
Dishong said he envisions a time when it cost less to live in White Pine County through less taxes and responsible spending; a time when local governments work together for the common good of everyone and people move here for the outstanding schools and innovative learning.
“I see a future where small time manufacturing, using modern equipment, is created in White Pine County in waves,” he wrote in his statement to the Times. “Homes and jobs growing at good rates. A place where we preserve our heritage from our historic buildings to our time tested tradition of volunteerism. Can you see the path that leads evermore upwards?”
Dishong said that it doesn’t take everyone to pursue a future like this, but rather just a few to build, to follow paths and to stand steady.
“Where the doing of a thing doesn’t have to do with personal gain and everything to do with the fact that it should be done,” he said.
He said he sees a White Pine County where local seniors are prized, valued and loved for who they are, for their knowledge and capabilities.
“ I not only see these things,” he said, “I see a path that will get us there.”
Dishong wrote that he has had a hand in creating many different projects and non-profits that benefit seniors and children, including Seniors Wood Projects, Computers For Kids, Computers For Seniors, Game night, Cash Flow For Kids and You Are Not Alone. He is employed at KGHM Robinson Vision For White Pine County.
Richard Howe is seeking re-election to the White Pine County Commission, Seat 4.
Howe was raised in Ely along with five brothers and a sister. He attended White Pine High School and graduated in 1968. Upon graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he “proudly served” for two years.
After his military service, he returned to White Pine County where worked for Kennecott for six years until the “big layoff” in 1976, at which time he began a career with the U.S. Postal Service, a career which lasted 34 years.
He was elected to the board in 2012 and has almost served a full four-year term.
“I have served on the commission for 3 1/2 years and have always been a strong voice for the citizens of White Pine,” Howe wrote in a statement emailed to the Times. “I consider myself to be a strong fiscal conservative. I have strived to achieve a balanced budget — although this has not been achieved. I remain committed to attaining this goal.”
Howe said that this year, during the budget cycle, he gave the commission what he believed was a path to balancing the budget.
“None of my ideas were adopted,” he said. “They involve very hard decisions, decisions I believe need to be addressed if we are going to balance the budget.”
A father and grandfather, Howe said he has always been very active in White Pine County, citing his experience in chairing the last two all class reunions.
“We were able to raise several thousands dollars, all of which remained right here in White Pine,” Howe said.
Howe said he was heavily involved in getting donations from the local mining industry to assist the local senior center, charter school and the McGill Renovation Committee, just to name a few of the organizations he has advocated for.
Howe said that he had put on the last five high school assemblies in working with the W.P. Community Choir, and that over the years, his passion has always been the Veterans of White Pine.
“We strive to keep the memories of those who served always in the minds of our youth,” Howe said.
Howe said that organizing a special trip called the “Honor Flight” for local WWII Vets to go to Washington D.C. was the most memorable and rewarding thing he had ever done.