By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Tuesday’s Primary will feature just one contested local race and it will involve voters in just one of the three Chase County Commissioner districts.
Two Republicans, incumbent Jodi Thompson and first-time candidate Dave Hogsett, are seeking the District 2 commissioner nomination to advance to November’s General Election.
However, with no Democratic primary candidates or unless a write-in arises, Tuesday’s vote will likely determine Chase County’s next District 2 Commissioner.
Both candidates were interviewed this week about the race to be decided Tuesday.
Hogsett, 49, of rural Lamar is a rancher/farmer who said he almost ran for county commissioner four years ago.
“It’s something I’ve always been interested in,” he said this week.
He said participation in the Nebraska LEAD program from 2010-12 led him to consider it more strongly this election cycle.
“I know I can do some good in the office. I have no ax to grind, but I feel I can help tweak the system,” he said.
He said spending money as efficiently as possible is a priority for him.
“It’s like running a business or farm, we need to be as efficient as possible today,” he added.
Specific “top issues” are not something he has prioritized. He said he realizes commissioners’ hands are tied on some things they deal with in their governing.
If elected, Hogsett said he has something to contribute to the job, and that is “looking at the whole picture” with regard to the future.
“If it was a good decision today and a good decision a year from now, then it was,” he said.
Being forward-thinking and not narrow-minded are qualities he said he can offer.
A decision may not be popular today, he noted, but if it’s good for the future then it was a good decision.
Hogsett and his wife, Rita, have three children: Staci, 24, who is in graduate school in L.A., Daniel, 21, a Chadron State College student, and Andrea, 18, a CCS senior.
Four-term commissioner Thompson is in her 16th year on the county board. She cited the future and monetary issues as important.
Thompson, 61, of rural Imperial is self-employed with her own bookkeeping business that serves area farmers and small businesses.
She decided to seek a fifth term to continue strategizing carefully for the future.
“The economy has been good,” she said, noting recent commodity prices.
“So with the funds we have, we need to strategize carefully and I feel I have the skills to move forward on that.”
She said the county board’s philosophy has always been to build the infrastructure when the economy is good, “so if we are hit with hard times we are prepared for it.”
She foresees the budget, employee wages and health insurance as big issues the county commissioners will be facing in the coming years.
Thompson said costs have tripled in some cases, wages have not kept up with the times and health insurance “will be huge.”
“Property values are up, but that doesn’t mean income for our patrons is. We need to be mindful of that with our budget,” she said.
She said the networks she has built by serving on several interlocal agency board, including drug/alcohol services, mental health and aging, are something important she can contribute to the job.
She and husband, Lex, a veterinarian, have a son Jared, 33, in auto sales/repair in Denver, and two grandchildren.