By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A third candidate has filed to run for election to the Hill County Commission.
Rancher Jeff LaVoi is the second Democrat to seek the nomination in June for the seat now held by County Commissioner Pat Conway, who is not seeking re-election. The other Democrat is Tim Herron.
A Republican, Jody Manuel, filed for the seat on Tuesday.
Those seeking the seat must live in County Commission District 2. The vote is countywide.
LaVoi, 58, is a rancher and works in the sales department at Moodie Implement Co. in Havre. LaVoi said he has had "a lifetime of preparation" to be county commissioner. He describes himself as honest and sincere and says he has "no ax to grind."
LaVoi was raised on a small farm in Minnesota. He spent four years in the U.S. Navy and then returned to his home state to attend college. He graduated from the University of Minnesota-Crookston with a degree in agricultural business and by age 25 was the manager of a John Deere dealership. In 1981 he and a partner purchased a John Deere implement company in Havre, and he moved here to manage it. Five years later LaVoi moved to Grand Forks, N.D., to run a second John Deere dealership he had purchased with his partner.
LaVoi sold his share of two companies and in 1997 purchased a small ranch in the Bear Paw Mountains.
He said his years of experience in agricultural business make him well-qualified for public service. That experience, he said, includes making payroll, handling employee concerns and dealing with economic problems like drought, high interest rates, rising expenses and a shrinking customer base.
LaVois said his four years in the Navy helped him grow up.
"You definitely learn discipline," he said. "As far as responsibility goes, my job was working with nuclear weapons, so responsibility was pretty important."
LaVoi said he did not decide until recently to run for election.
"I hadn't thought about it at all until about a month back when I was approached