Candidates for Mayor plead their cases

Thursday, October 14, 2021
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Bruce McGee

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Tom Nelson

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Dave Waggoner

The following statements have been provided by three of the candidates for the Laurel’s Mayor position. The election is Nov. 2. Ballots are being mailed this week to registered voters. Absentee registration can be completed until Nov. 1, to vote in this election. None of the candidates were given the opportunity to review the statements prior to publication. Be sure to put adequate postage on your ballot before mailing and mail early!

 

Tom Nelson

Unfortunately, Mayor Tom Nelson is currently hospitalized with COVID-19. His wife Rene contacted the Outlook to let us know he will most like ly remain in the hospital for another 10 days. Because of the Mayor’s illness, he was unable to submit a statement. The staff at the Outlook hope for his complete recovery.

 

Bruce McGee

Thank you for the opportunity to tout my candidacy for Mayor and to Outlook readers who take time to read this statement about me and why I want to be the next Mayor of Laurel.

I don’t even remember the civic event, or the name of the man that impressed me. I do remember he was a silver haired lieutenant with the local Volunteer Fire Department in York, NE and I was between higher education institutions leaving that community to live in another. The accomplishment of earning a Bachelor Degree in the future would place my life on a tract to live n a number of small garden variety size communities in my lifetime. What he impressed me with was that his personal belief was not to live in a community that he did not give some of himself back to the community. That became my personal commitment to any place I have ever called home. Often in those communities in the emergency services as Volunteer Fire Fighter, Ambulance Driver, or Reserve Deputy Sheriff.

Why, do I want to be Mayor? The answer to that question has several points, and first of all it’s not for the money or benefits. And it is not because of my 10 years of serving on the City Council or 11 years of Reserve Officer work with our Police Department, while I do feel those worth while pursuits are of benefit I do not feel entitled and deserving of the job for those reasons. I desire to be the Mayor because I believe I can make a difference in our community.

How? It seems to often that the answer to our problems become matters of money and the cost of projects and services determine when repairs or improvements can be made. Government is a position of being operated more like a non-profit than even a business. While good business practices must be embraced. I am convinced all problems have solutions when people work together for the common good of all.

My track record on city council will confirm my commitment to our emergency services, and the infrastructure of our city. Many improvements have been made many more remain to be accomplished. It would be careless to make promises that one is not absolutely assured that they keep. I will not do that, but I will promise that while perfection does not exist in any human, I will do the very best job I can to make our community a better place to live for all who choose to live here.

Your vote for Mayor for Bruce McGee is greatly appreciated.

 

Dave Waggoner

I’m Dave Wag

I’m Dave Waggoner. I’ve been married for 34 years and am the father of eight children. I’ve lived in Laurel for over 17 years. I am currently working for the City of Laurel in the water treatment plant. I have been with the city for 13 years and have worked in the water distribution dept., driven a garbage truck, and worked at the container site. Before starting with the city I worked for the cable company burying service lines, and I also ran my own sprinkler business.

I am running for mayor because I am frustrated with the lack of open, honest communication between the city government and the citizens. I don’t think we are getting the best value for our tax dollars. I feel that my experience with the city and my inside understanding of how many of the areas are run will help me to cut waste and improve operations. I think that our streets could be better. I know that the pool is important to our community and that a way can be found to get it back open. I love the number of volunteer groups that are working to better our community and would like the city to be more involved in those areas.

When I ran before I had no idea that I would not be allowed to be sworn in. At that time I was not able to retire in order to serve as mayor. Now that I’m older I am in a position to retire and will do so should I win again.

I think we have a great little community, and that I could use my experience and knowledge of the city to help things work better for its citizens.

 

Scot Stokes

Many people have asked me “why would you want to be mayor” and “what have you done to think you would be the best choice for this city.” I’m going to speak from my heart so forgive me if I run on and ramble. I want change in this city. I want people to get involved. There really is no greater joy than to walk into the Council chambers and see people wanting to talk about what they find is right, and what they find is wrong with the city. So I will tell you what I think is wrong and what needs to be changed. We need to lower the mayor’s salary and stop giving health insurance to the mayor, this is a part time position. We need to get a CAO for the city. I want a person that understands the city, not a CAO who just wants to collect a check and ramrod things through city council. I want the city council to be told all of the information when they ask questions, information not withheld from them, but also a council that asks all the right questions.

I also want to address the elephant in the room, as far as the last Mayoral election. I completely agree with the majority of the voters of Laurel, that Dave Waggoner won the last election. It is frustrating but I understand the reasoning the State Attorney General explained the law dictating over elected officials holding jobs under their own municipality. I also understand the difficult choices that Dave Waggoner and his family had to make at that time. To choose a well established job or follow the choice of the voters that voted for him. I refuse to say I’d not have chosen the same path he chose. That was the final catalyst showing that real changes were more urgent than ever in our City. When I watched and voted against having a small body of elected people to vote and overturn the voters choice in a council meeting vote was and still is unacceptable. The city council members had been changed with the election as well. Instead of waiting for the newly elected city council body ( which would be the newest elected and collective voice of the people) they went with the council body that was already existing. The new elected city council body that would be working with the mayor was not included with the voting of the current Mayor. This was an oversight that was ignored and glossed over quickly due to the public frustration. The idea to push past quickly and to continue work as usual was well executed.

In conclusion, I need to address something

I have been warned to not bring up, which immediately causes one to question why. I believe I should explain a misperception that was recently published in the Laurel Outlook about my relationship with Judge Jean Kerr as a City Councilman. I want to make this very clear and understood as the reasoning is very important to me in every faucet of my life. Judge Kerr lives on the same street as myself and my family. I have known Judge Kerr from the day I moved to Montana. She lives across the street and down a bit from my home, she is actually not my next door neighbor. However, it wouldn’t matter if she lived in Idaho, Yellowstone, Lackawanna Trail or South 4th Street the fact is that every single person in this small amazing and crazy community are my neighbors.

The time I have lived in this town of ours, it has been proven over and over again. If something is wrong in our community, you have concerns or you have questions and may not even be sure where to start to ask and go forward ... I am not only your neighbor but I am also elected and have taken an oath to be the person to ask and represent my neighbors needs, concerns and fears that are within my scope of my ability. This is something I was raised with as the oldest son of seven children, parented by a Navy veteran that gave up her station to raise a family on military bases with my father who was a combat veteran and Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps. It was established then as a kid, but took true hold when I volunteered to join the United States Marine Corps and served in combat while in the Gulf. I had a very strong and lifelong lesson to never forget that every single individual is just as important, needed and when one of us is in trouble, we all need to act no matter our feelings and egos that may arise in that situation. Each and every one of us in this community has the same right for me to stand up and speak for, if needed. I may not agree with a agenda and political ego involved. I ask questions. It bothers some people, but that’s also how we get answers. It’s time for us all to come together and get the wheels of our society moving forward to a brighter, healthier and stronger community.

Finally, I want to reiterate that in the near 20 years I have lived in this town, I have been “the new person” in town. I have worked at Laurel Ford for 17 years, raised four boys with my wife in Laurel school system and faced so many of the same frustrations and hardships as each and every other person in Laurel. I get frustrated when I hear from others in the City comment about the apathy and lack of care people have in this community. It’s not apathy, this is a hard working, loving community that is busy trying to sustain and live their lives. We are elected to do this job so the collective community CAN focus on life. I remember the hard times of managing my job, while coaching flag football for one child as another has a science experiment and suddenly the other two may have started a flood in the basement my wife is handling while realizing lunch accounts need to be filled along with a gas tank and here comes the holidays with school and family. There is absolutely no apathy in the people of this community. There are about 7,000 people in the city of Laurel.

That is a lot of lives, families, moments and memories being made every day. The passion and love shows in every yard as you walk around town, and in the sorely needed rejuvenation of our city parks, you can see the love of life in this town. Yes, we need to work hard now and fix a lot of things. But this is the thing, I believe in this community, and all those that live here and I want to work and see us all fix, heal, and get moving in the direction that the taxpayers are expecting from elected civil servants.

Please contact me with any questions at (406) 861-2015.

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