THE LOCAL NEWS OF THE MADISON VALLEY, RUBY VALLEY AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Dan AllhandsDavid BaconRobert ErdallEli Thompson

COUNTY COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE Q&A

Top two advance to the General Election

Madison County’s District #1 will vote for a county commissioner in the primary elections June 2. District #1 includes Virginia City, Alder and Sheridan. It is a nonpartisan election, with four candidates running for the seat. The top two candidates will carry on to the general election ballot in November.

Dan Allhands, incumbent, has been involved in the Ruby Valley community for decades.

He was a member of the Alder Fire Department for 12 years. Allhands served as the Fire Chief three of those 12 years, which coincided with the construction of the current fire hall. During his three years on the Sheridan School Board, the Sheridan Elementary School was built. Allhands was in the ranching business for 43 years until he was elected to the County Commissioner seat in 2016.

Allhands was raised on his family’s ranch in Sheridan. He has always lived in the Ruby Valley, graduating from Sheridan High School in 1977. He and his wife, Jody, have four sons all working and living in Sheridan. Five of their seven grandchildren also reside in Sheridan.

“Jody and myself, along with our four boys, always support the people of the Ruby Valley if there is a need,” Allhands said.

Q: Why do you want to be the county commissioner for Madison County’s District #1?

A: I am currently the Commissioner for District #1 in Madison County. Being a commissioner is a learning curve that takes time to learn and build working relationships and gain the trust of those who you work with and also for those I serve.

Q: Why do you think you would make a good county commissioner?

A: I feel I make a good commissioner because of my commonsense, ability to problem solve and my understanding of the problems facing the people of Madison County in these changing times.

Q: What would you prioritize in your community, if elected district #1 county commissioner?

A: My priorities are to make sure that we plan for the future in a responsible way for future generations. We need to be sure that our planning regulations will get us into the future, that our care centers in Sheridan and Ennis are there for the residents who go there. Madison County needs to keep improving our infrastructure – roads, bridges, etc.

Q: What impact(s) do you hope to make as county commissioner for district #1?

A: The impact I want to see as a Com- missioner is to have Madison County be a stronger better prepared County going into the future.

David Bacon has loved the Ruby Valley since the first time he visited from Portland, Oregon with his father in 1966.

He and his wife, Jane, became perma- nent residents seven years ago. Bacon has worked in the medical research field, done software training and support, been a financial advisor and a Medicare specialist. Since retirement, Bacon has worked at the Bale of Hay Saloon and the Star restaurant in Nevada City. He has been involved in the community in various ways including the President of the Virginia City Planning Board and a member of the Source Water Protection Committee. Bacon currently sits on the Virginia City Town Council and runs the Visitor Center for the Virginia City Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Virginia City Fire Department and Dark Skies Committee.

“My wife and I have no official family in the Ruby Valley, however, I've had an extended family of friends here for over 50 years,” Bacon said.

Q: Why do you want to be the county commissioner for Madison County’s District #1?
 

A: I'm running for commissioner in order to effect much needed change. In my travels around the county, I am hearing increasing dissatisfaction about county government. Over the past few years we have lost public transparency and communication in the Madison County government.

I believe that transparency is fundamental to any government structure in the United States and must not be lost.

Q: Why do you think you would make a good county commissioner?

A: All my adult life I have been a problem solver, all the facets of my careers have demanded that capability. I have been on many boards and commissions throughout my life and have learned that the best solutions come from actually listening to and working WITH people to create those solutions rather than blindly following an agenda.

Q: What would you prioritize in your community, if elected district #1 county commissioner?

A: My priorities would be to make sure that there is fiscal responsibility within the Madison County government and that has public exposure, to make sure that the rules of government are being followed correctly by Madison County, insure that the future of the Senior Care Centers are secure, examine the personnel practices in the county and confirm they are fair and proper and address the county road access issue.

Q: What impact(s) do you hope to make as county commissioner for district #1?

A: I would expect that my impact as District #1 Commissioner in Madison County would be to ensure that the citizens of District #1 would enjoy the right of be included in the governing process and understand that their needs and input are important in that process. Additionally, I would like to make Madison County a great place to work, where the employees have the respect and encouragement they deserve.

Robert “Dude” Erdall is the Public Works Director for Virginia City. Erdall is originally from Edina, Minnesota. He moved to Madison County 48 years ago. He has lived in the same house for 36 years, where he raised three daughters in Virginia City. He is the grandfather to seven grandchildren, two of them living in town. Erdall has been the Virginia City Public Works Director for about three years and is the Fire Chief of the Virginia City Fire Department. He helps maintain the Virginia City skating rink and is active in other organizations.

Q: Why do you want to be the county commissioner for Madison County’s District #1?
A: First of all, to change the climate of indecision that currently takes place. We also need to take care of the infrastructure that we already have – not just ignore it and build something new.

Q: Why do you think you would make a good county commissioner?

A: My demeanor for one. My ability to take a look at all aspects of things, not just have a predetermined outcome.

Q: What would you prioritize in your community, if elected district #1 county commissioner?

A: The people that work for the county are our biggest asset. Organized meetings between the towns and county in Sheridan, Alder and Virginia City.

Q: What impact(s) do you hope to make as county commissioner for district #1?

A: Promote economic growth through- out the whole of Madison County, and promote safety on our highways and in our towns.

After serving in the Marine Corps in the late ‘60s, Eli Thompson retuned to the county he grew up in. He was raised in the Madison Valley but returned to the Ruby Valley. Thompson is a fourth-generation Montanan. His family has been in Madison County for three generations. He earned a living driving at truck and operating heavy equipment most of his life. But he also worked on farms and ranches, owned a small trucking company and operated a garage in Nevada City.

Thompson tried retirement but preferred work. He has worked at Yellowstone National Park for three years and serves on the Madison County Road Review Committee. For several years, he was on the County Airport Board and the Virginia City Fire Department.

“Done all sorts of things as long as it let me live here in Madison County,” Thompson said.

Q: Why do you want to be the county commissioner for Madison County’s District #1?

A: I see things happening in the county government that should be handled different, the transparency and openness is disappearing. Handling issues that come up in a timely manner and following through is lacking.

Q: Why do you think you would make a good county commissioner?

A: I have no desire to be a politician. I will work with people to take care of issues that come up in a timely manner and give a straightforward answer. I care about Madison County and will work to sure current issues and others that appear in a timelier manner.

Q: What would you prioritize in your community, if elected district #1 county commissioner?

A: It’s hard to put something ahead of others. No reason several can’t be handled together, just do it. There are issues with the nursing homes, county employees, road closures, county hiring practices, fiscal responsibility and several more that other people know about and will bring up.

Q: What impact(s) do you hope to make as county commissioner for district #1?
A: I would hope that I could get transparency and openness, issue handling and follow through, and better fiscal responsibility into the county practices.

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