By Ron VandenBoom
John McLain and Kevin Allison, two Republican candidates running for seats on Havres City Council, expressed their views at the Friday meeting of the North Central Montana Pachyderm Club.
McLain, who will be running against Democratic opponent Doug Larson for the Ward One seat, told the Pachyderms that Havre seemed to really only have two drawbacks the weather and the economy.
Basically, Ive decided to run for public office in hopes of trying to do something about the weather, he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
It seems sometimes that people expect elected officials to do something about the weather, he said, adopting a more serious tone. In other words, there should be someone out there that can control our lives and make it all better. I dont think that government has the power to take care of everything, no matter how many taxes are collected.
Instead, McLain said, it was the people and their attitude that made a community a great place to live.
If we want to improve things ,its up to each one of us to make the effort, he said.
Referring to city government, McLain said he believes taxpayers need to know where their money is being spent and why, and that tax-spenders need to make sure taxes are fair and the money used wisely.
We have to ask ourselves the question, he said, do we want more government and more taxes or do we want less?
Its a serious question that I think we all need to answer, he said.
Addressing economic development, McLain referred to the once proposed prison and to Quantum V as projects where the community failed to present a very unified front. But he said he favors the development of the downtown park project.
The other way we can help the economy around here is (to) support the businesses that we already have here, he said. The easiest person to convince to invest in the future of Havre is somebody that already lives here.
In conclusion, McLain listed five reasons why he decided to run for public office.
I believe I can help with some of the things I mentioned, he said. I believe our taxes are high enough. I believe government should be more responsible. I think things can be improved, and I think Id be a voice of reasonableness.
McLain ended his speech by saying, Its not always up to someone else to do it, sometimes its up to me.
Kevin Allison, the Ward Three Republican candidate who is running against Democratic candidate Jack Brandon, told the Pachyderm Club that he is not a politician, but entered the race because he has dreams about a better future for the community and wants to find a better way of doing things.
I cant understand where our moneys going, he told the crowd. Sometimes you just got to speak up and say No, I dont like whats going on here.
Allison said he is uncertain where the peoples taxes are being spent, but he believes asking questions, learning what it is the people in his precinct want done with their money, and finding alternative ways of doing things is what his campaign is about.
I have questions and I think, he said. Ill ask people that know and Ill ask what it is that we can do to change it.
He said he doesnt like hearing about all the things that he cant do.
Im not a cant person, Allison said. I believe I can do anything I set my mind to.
He called this attitude his Jonathan Livingston Seagull theory.
Allison said he wants to see business grow in Havre, but he is also concerned about quality of life.
What do we need and what dont we need? he asked.
The answer, according to Allison, is to ask questions of people in the know and to become a team player to get things done.
If we dont like it, we have to ask, what can we do to change it, he said.