Havre Daily News
Six elected officials in Hill County have filed for re-election. They include the sheriff, a county commissioner, the clerk and recorder, justice of the peace, county attorney and county treasurer/assessor.
Monday was the first day for filing for the 2006 election season.
All those who have filed so far are Democrats, with the exception of Justice of the Peace Terry Stoppa. That's a nonpartisan race.
Greg Szudera is running for re-election for sheriff and coroner during his fifth year in the position. Szudera has about 33 years in law enforcement. He served 28 years with the Montana Highway Patrol before he was appointed to fill the vacant position of sheriff.
Szudera said he is proud of quite a few of his accomplishments, including acquiring patrol vehicles with the best equipment, increased jail staff, enhanced-911 and his involvement with Northern Tier, a project to consolidate law enforcement radio communication along the Hi-Line.
The Havre resident of 20 years said he hopes to continue to “protect and serve with the emphasis on providing good service for Hill County with professionalism.”
The position of sheriff/coroner has a term of four years and a $41,137 salary.
Kathy Bessette is running for re-election for county commissioner in District 3. Bessette, who currently chairs the commission, is in her 16th year on the job.
“I like what I am doing,” Bessette said. “That's the bottom line.”
Bessette has lived in Hill County most of her life and continues to farm her grandmother's homestead north of Havre with her son.
Bessette said she is particularly proud of three projects: renovation of the Havre City-County Airport terminal building, reconstruction of Beaver Creek Road and revamping the county's hiring policies.
The position's salary is $37,579 and has a six-year term.
Carrie Dickson, Hill County treasurer/assessor, is in her 12th year in the position. The Havreite of 20 years said in the new year she hopes to reorganize the office to be more efficient.
She said she has a wonderful staff and really likes her job.
“It's one of those jobs that you love or you wouldn't be in it,” Dickson said.
The treasurer/assessor receives a salary of $35,579 and has a four-year term.
County Attorney Cyndee Peterson has been serving since August of 2003.
“It's been a good couple of years. I want to make a career of it,” Peterson said.
She said she was happy to obtain a federal grant to hire a victim advocate for the office and update a computer interface between her office, the sheriff and Havre police. All that is needed for the connection is software, which she is hoping to have in a few weeks.
The county attorney is the county's felony prosecutor and also provides legal advice to county departments. The job has a four-year term and a $69,639 salary.
Stoppa is starting his fourth year in the position, which has a four-year term. He said he decided to run for re-election because he enjoys the job.
He has 32 years in law enforcement. Stoppa served as sheriff in Liberty County and had about 26 years with the Highway Patrol.
Diane Mellem, clerk and recorder, has also filed for re-election. The position has a four-year term and salary of $35,579.
Nominations will be open until March 23. The primary will be held June 6 and the general election is Nov. 7.