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Hill County ag producers face off in county commissioner race: Dale Hansonl, independent


October 25, 2018

Dale Hansonl

Independent candidate Dale Hansonl is challenging incumbent Democrat Mark Peterson in this year's general election for Hill County commissioner.

Hansonl, 58, was born north of Havre in 1960. He said when he was 16 years old he dropped out of Havre High School so he could go to work and help provide for his family. He earned his GED at the age of 18.

He said he has no previous political experience, although he has owned and operated his own business over the years. Hansonl has been married for 30 years to his wife, Raeann, and they have three dogs; Belle, Sophie and Nikki. He said he was a member of the Havre Jaycees from his 20s until he aged out.

Hansonl is running as an independent candidate because offices such as county commissioner should be nonpartisan, he said. He added that he is running because he wants to get things going in the right direction for the county.

"I just figured that somebody has to step in there and do something," Hansonl said.

He said he drove trucks for 15 years for other people and drove for 13 years as an owner and operator of a trucking business. Before that, he said, he worked in agriculture for 22 years. Hansonl added that

his work history also includes working at Rock Solid Enterprise Inc. for five years and he got back into agriculture with Baltics Land and Cattle for the last six years.

He said that because of the Conservation Reserve Program he saw in 1996 that he was not going to be able to compete as a small-time farmer and decided to walk away from it and got into trucking.

"And I did, there was just no future ... it basically wiped out my generation of farmers," Hansonl said. "There was just no way of getting in."

He added that with the rising cost of operations he doesn't know how some of the younger generation of farmers and ranchers have been operating.

He said the biggest issue facing the county is that the county seems to have a lot of budget problems and he wants to see if he can figure out why things are going "so far out of whack."

"It seems that every time somebody calls about a road problem (the county officials) claim they don't have any money to fix anything," he said.

He added that county employees also need a pay raise. Many of them have been stuck at the same wage for a long time, Hansonl said. The cost of living has gone up and if the county wants good people to stay, the county will have to pay them a respectable wage.

Hansonl said the road department is a good example. The county has to compete with the railroad or construction companies that will pay higher wages. In those conditions, it is hard to get some people to stay working for the county, he said.

Until he gets elected and can see what is going on with the county's budget, he said, he won't really know exactly what the problems are. He added that with some future changes by the Legislature it is difficult to see what is going on until it is all sorted out.

"It's going to be a challenge, no doubt about that," Hansonl said.

He said his experience in budgeting and financing come from his experience owning his own company.

"Especially if you are in the trucking business, there is no room for error," Hansonl added.

He said that when he was booking his own loads he had to be careful who he was dealing with because a person in that business can be taken advantage of quickly and easily.

"You gotta know when to run and when not to run," Hansonl said.

He said that with owning his own business he was always looking for the best deals in fuel, tires and insurance, and the county should be doing the same.

Commissioners need to have a plan, he said. Fixed costs have to be paid and none of those fixed costs are cheap. He added that $10,000 should not be just a "drop in the bucket," it is a large amount of money and should be handled carefully.

He said everything is top priority to him. People can't just focus on one thing in particular, they have to look at the whole thing.

"If you focus on one thing you're going to miss something somewhere else," he said.

He added with the Legislature always coming up with changes, people have to be cautious and watch what is going on.

"A commissioner is there to work for the people," Hansonl said, "trying to help, do the best you can, trying to help the people in the county, make things work for them."


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