By HDN Editorial Board
Havre faces a difficult choice for mayor on Tuesday. Each candidate has great points. Each has drawbacks. The question will probably depend on what people prefer in a personal style from their mayor.
Bob Rice is a person of action. His record of service to people in this community is remarkable. He sees a problem and he figures out a way to fix it. But his lone wolf approach may not fare so well within the confines of government and its complexities. He works well on his own, but he's untested here in endeavors that require an approach of diplomacy, conciliation and compromise needed to forge agreement among the different personalities and interests the next mayor will have to deal with. He's going to have to shed his "if you're not for me, you're agin me" approach if elected.
Mike Shortell, on the other hand, knows the players and apparently has their respect. He is very familiar with the workings of government. He would be a new mayor who could hit the ground running. But what new ideas or excitement would he bring to the job? He defines our problems well that we need to attract new people and business and money, including good-paying jobs, to our community. He acknowledges that we have streets with potholes that need to be fixed. But he doesn't give us much in the way of solutions to make us feel that we'd be moving ahead.
Both candidates have worked hard to get elected, and we congratulate them on running campaigns that focused on the issues and for making themselves available to the public and the media, which we hope will continue once the new mayor takes office.
We give our nod to Shortell. He gets our endorsement because he knows more about how government works.
Given that, we urge him to break from the mold, borrow from the thinking of the energetic and dedicated Rice, and find new ways of looking at problems and possible solutions. Because of his knowledge of the processes of government in Havre and Hill County, we are counting on him to find ways to cut through the impediments and use government to enhance our community's viability and vibrancy.