By Tim Eberly and Ross Markman
A batch of incumbents have filed for re-election in Hill County, and only one of them appeared to have opposition as of noon today Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher.
Republican Byron Welter, the owner of Havre's J.C. Penney catalog store, filed on Monday to run against Kaercher.
"Basically, I felt the county needed a fresh perspective as far as experience and background," Welter, 41, said today. "I feel strongly that this area needs an economic boost, somebody who can work with people who are looking to develop some economic activity in the area."
A 1979 graduate of Havre High School, Welter had decided by early January to run in the June primary election. He briefly considered running for the same position in 1986, but chose instead to move to Phoenix, where he sold real estate for two years.
"I really want to get out and talk to people," said Welter, the married father of two daughters, 4-year-old Skylar and Savannah, 3. "Anybody can call me or I'll be on their doorstep one of the two."
Other incumbents who have filed the deadline to file for the election is 5 p.m. today at the Hill County Courthouse include Clerk and Recorder Diane Mellem, Sheriff and Coroner Greg Szudera, County Attorney David Rice, Superintendent of Schools Shirley Isbell, Public Administrator Carol Bachini-Wood and Treasurer and Assessor Carrie Dickson. All are Democrats.
Two elected officials Auditor Mary Ann Trumpour and Justice of the Peace Carol Chagnon have chosen not to seek re-election.
Trumpour has spent 14 years in the Hill County Auditor's Office, including seven as auditor. Democrat Kathy Olson, a deputy auditor in Trumpour's office, has filed to run for the top job.
"When you work in this office, that's the natural progression of things," Olson, 36, said today. "You're stepping into a new realm and that's part of the job."
Trumpour, meanwhile, said she is moving to Canada with her husband of six years, Pat. The couple will live on a ranch 12 miles north of the Canadian border.
Incumbent Dickson, a 20-year Hill County resident, has held the jobs of treasurer and assessor for eight years.
"I have an excellent crew and I enjoy working with the public," she said of her decision to run. "I love my job, and I think I do a good job for the people of Hill County. I hope I get a chance to serve them again."
A graduate of Whitefish High School, Dickson moved to Havre after high school. She ran for the position when Treasurer and Assessor James O'Leary retired eight years ago.
"I've worked in this office for 13 years," said Dickson, a clerk in the treasurer's office for five years prior to assuming the position.
Another incumbent filing today was Hill County public administrator Bachini-Wood, a lifelong Hill County resident.
A third-generation Havre native who graduated from Havre High School and Northern Montana College, Bachini-Wood has held the position for the last four years.
"We have a strong group of individuals right now that are working with this position. They're all very capable in the area of serving Hill County residents," the married mother of three said.