Democrats take overall city victory
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Alice Campbell John Kelleher Havre Daily News
Democrats won the day with victories in three of Havre's four wards, with Republicans maintaining one seat. The results amount to six Democrats and two Republicans sitting on the city's council, and a Democratic mayor, Tim Solomon. "Of course I'm disappointed, but I feel very good about the campaign that I ran, and I don't think I could have done it any better," said Kathy Sangray, Republican, challenger of Gerry Veis, who lost 352 to 378. Though she lost to the incumbent, "I wish Gerry all the best," she said. "We were running for the same reasons, to be a service to the community, so I admire that. "One of the reasons I ran was to give those people a choice," she said. And she did that, but name recognition posed the largest hurdle to victory, she said. "That's why I went door to door." The loss doesn't mean she won't remain involved in politics as she has in the past, working for causes she believes in, she said, but she's not sure if she'll run for public office again. "I guess that'll remain to be seen," she said. "People obviously wanted a change," said incumbent Republican Terry Schend about his 404 to 341 defeat in Ward 2 to Democrat Janet Trethewey. A personal loss affected his campaigning, he said, and he might have done better if he had campaigned harder. Before he leaves his council seat in January, he said he will continue to work toward a resolution that will ensure that Hill County pays more for ambulance services. "There's still an inequity on what the county contributes to the city," he said. He's unsure if he'll remain involved in politics, he said. "It's been a privilege serving the people of Havre," he said. "I did my constituents well. Good luck to the new council person." "I have quite a learning curve," the winner said, "to figure out how council works from the inside." Trethewey said she wanted to work with other aldermen "to try to work together for the best of Havre." Incumbent Republican Bob Kaftan was the only winner for his party on the ballot, with a 345-332 win in Ward 3 over Democratic challenger Brenda Skornogoski. "I feel like 13 has always been my lucky number," he said after the results with a 13 vote margin were announced. He knew it would be an uphill battle to be reelected to his seat because Republicans are a minority in his ward, he said. But his name recognition from teaching so many people in the community and from his previous years on City Council helped immensely, he said. "I think they know that I like Havre," he said. Skornogoski wished Kaftan well and said she would remain active in Havre affairs, though she was uncertain if she wanted to try to run for office again. She would not rule out a recount Request, since the election was so close. Several supporters urged her to consider the move. The change from three Republicans on City Council with a Republican mayor to two Republicans and a Democratic mayor will change things, he said. "It's definitely going to be a different ball game." Even so, both parties have worked well together in the past, he said, and he doesn't see that changing in the future. Council members want to do what's best for Havre, he said, regardless of party lines. Kaftan said he sees annexation, sidewalk repair and making the Port of Wild Horse on the U.S.-Canadian border a 24-hour port as big issues in the coming four years. All are issues for which groundwork has already been laid, he said. Having a 24-hour port is a "distinct possibility" within the next four years, he said, and annexation is going to be a big issue as well. He said he sees the city stepping in to help with the cost of sidewalk repair. There are many people in his ward who need to replace sidewalks, but can't afford to, he said, and the city might be able to figure out a system to help.