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Chapman: Area voters demanding more

By Staff | Jun 13, 2014

A new era is beginning with the Rugby City Council and voters should be pleased with Tuesday’s results, especially in contested races of Wards 3 and 4.

Joel Berg beat incumbent Arden Warner with 56 percent of the vote and a 102 to 80 advantage for a Ward 3 seat.

Craig Zachmeier crushed the competition in Ward 4, a seat vacated by Mayor-elect Arland Geiszler. Zachmeier snagged nearly 51 percent with 133 votes. Competitors Doug Hauck and Chuck Longie managed 70 and 58 votes, respectively.

Berg and Zachmeier have said all the right things, but their actions should give voters hope for a council more representative of the public. Berg and Zachmeier attended nearly every council meeting since filing their petitions in the spring.

Other council members, some longstanding, should know that the new additions will not stand for the current charade. Council members who attempt to play coy or simply fail to ever voice an opinion can expect to be called out. And that’s the way it should be.

Voters listened to Berg’s and Zachmeier’s appeals for a more open city government and rewarded them. We must hold them to their promises, but we have good reason to believe they will come through.

Berg attended a special council meeting on June 5 and questioned council members when half the council had nothing to say about the safety of a new road leading to the Chalmers Addition.

Zachmeier utilized social media and advertising as well as anyone running for an office this year and actively sought responses and input from his constituents and other voters throughout the city.

Citizens posed the question of whether Zachmeier could balance another responsibility on top of his demanding job with the BCI and coaching the wrestling programs. His response is proof that he is the type of unafraid voice needed on the council.

“There’s nobody probably better at multitasking in the City of Rugby than me, so people complaining about my workload obviously don’t know what I do,” Zachmeier said.

Voters also should be pleased with the primary results in the contested races for Pierce County sheriff and commissioners. Incumbents for sheriff, District 1 and District 5 still have a chance to win in November, but all three trailed competition Tuesday.

Challenger Josh Siegler picked up 52 percent of the vote and Sheriff Matt Lunde survived with 31 percent. I’ll stop short of endorsing either, but the result shows that residents have questions and Lunde has his work cut out for him. He will need to prove he deserves to keep his job.

The same goes for District 1 and District 5 commissioners Joe Bohl and David Migler. Bohl has an uphill battle as challenger Mike Brossart secured 63 percent of the vote to 36 percent for the incumbent (vote was 109 to 62).

The District 5 race may be the most intriguing as challenger Joe Volk outgained Migler 90 to 86. In both races, I can’t confidently say who is better suited, but I know voters want to hear more from all the candidates.

I would like to use a short bit of my space to thank voters for supporting my bid for park board. While I’m grateful to have received more votes than the other two candidates, I realize that result probably speaks more to discontent with status quo than confidence in me. In any case, thank you!

Many of you have performed your civic duty. Don’t let it your duty fall to the wayside. Challenge myself and all other elected officials and hold us accountable. We are here to serve you and listen.

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