By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
A second candidate has entered the race for Hill County commissioner.
Jody Manuel, a farmer and rancher, filed Tuesday as a Republican to run for the spot on the three-person commission that will be up for grabs in November. Hill County Commissioner Pat Conway has said he will not seek re-election.
Manuel is the only Republican to file so far. Two Democrats, Tim Herron and Jeff Lavoi, also have filed.
"It's just a desire to become more involved in the community," Manuel said today of his bid for commissioner. "It's just not something I've had time to do before now."
Manuel, 34, was raised on his family's ranch and farm south of Havre. He graduated from Havre High School in 1988, and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering technology from Montana State University-Northern.
In a press release, Manuel cited personal experience as his main qualification for running.
"I am now at a point in my life that allows me to take on a position of servitude," he said in the press release. "Our community has always been sustained by its agriculture, railroad industry and the university system. I feel like life's experiences have put me in touch with each one of these components."
Manuel's father worked as a railroad engineer.
"I can certainly relate to what life is like for railroad employees and their families," he said.
Manuel said this morning he believes economic development will be crucial to the future of Hill County.
"I'm honest and I'm eager to pursue any opportunities to bring economic development to this area, and I'd be in support of anyone else's efforts to do the same," he said.
Since Manuel began construction on an 11-lot subdivision on his property south of Havre last summer, he has noticed signs of growth in Hill County, he said.
"Since I've been in the construction business, I see projects all over town. I see truck after truck after truck going to sites. I'm excited about that. I see things happening here," he said.
Manuel's press release also said signs of economic growth can be seen across north-central Montana.
"I believe things are going to start happening in this area in the next 10 years. It is not hard to find new entrepreneurial endeavors happening from Rocky Boy to the Hi-Line, extending to the Canadian border," he said.
The farmer and rancher said he has not yet established a campaign strategy.
"This is all new to me, but I plan to meet as many people as I can and let them know that I'm running," he said.