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Barron, Horning face-off in Commissioner race

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Bill Barron and Rory Horning are pitted against each another in the race for Lake County Commissioner.

Incumbent Barron was born and raised in Montana. He’s lived in Lake County for 18 years. He has been a Lake County Commissioner for more than five years. He is a member of the Montana Association of counties, the Lake County Community Corporation, and Lake County Solid Waste. 

He serves on committees for the Montana Association of Counties and the National Association of Counties.

In the past Barron served two terms as Lake County Sheriff. He worked for the Polson Police Department and was a member of a number of state and local organizations.

“Common sense is one of my strongest strengths,” Barron said. “I am not antagonistic or sarcastic. I can identify a problem and bring a team together made up of the right individuals to accomplish our goals. I am a people person.”

Barron said he uses his practical skills to effectively manage and an $18 million budget. He said he works effectively with diverse groups and in difficult situations.

Barron’s issues of concern include finding adequate revenue for the county, updating the county density map and water related issues.

“Revenues are our largest issue,” Barron said. “Every aspect of county service depends on adequate revenues.”

Prices of county roads are increasing, Barron said. Upcoming expenses for the taxpayers include updating the county’s justice system to include an additional district courtroom, more advanced technology, and adhering to new jail standards being put into place.

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is also expected to cause $76,000 in expenditures beginning in 2015.

“Demands for service continue to outpace increases in funding,” Barron said.

The commissioner did not give a stance on the Lake County Density Map, the sale of Kerr Dam or the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Water Compact, but said that all of those issues would have a lasting impact on the county.

Challenger Rory Horning is a retiree who has lived in Lake County for 16 years. 

He served five consecutive two-year terms on the Waianae Coast Board and was formerly CEO of Kokau Mau Work Center, both in Hawaii. He also served on the board of the directors of the Northwest Montana Association of Retailers. 

Horning said his best quality was having “a factual understanding of the issues in Lake County.” 

“I believe in open problem solving with understanding the importance of advocating for the taxpayers – all taxpayers. Government must work within their budget,” Horning said. “For too long we’ve been hearing government saying, ‘We’re doing the best we can.’ I don’t believe that. We should be saying, ‘We will do the best that can be done.’” 

Horning said his top priorities include improving health and safety, protecting property and water rights, and committing to an open government. 

Horning said he wants improvement in economic security and to promote a feeling of security. 

“The county commissioner is responsible for the operation of the county and can be effective in working with other city, county, and tribal agencies to address the health and safety concerns of the citizens,” Horning said.

As commissioner, Horning said he would work to preserve property and water rights in every way possible. 

“Land use plans such as the density map have not been beneficial for Lake County as well as the Water Compact as it is currently written,” Horning said. 

Open government is also important to Horning. 

“Millions of our citizens have given their lives for over 200 years to preserve open government and we are duty bound to keep our government open and transparent,” Horning said. 

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