The Benton County Elections Office plans to mail out ballots this week for the Nov. 8 general election and in an effort to help voters get to know the candidates a little better, the Philomath News asked each of them five questions.

This is the first of a five-part series of questions and answers to be published this week at PhilomathNews.com. Two candidates are running for Benton County commissioner — incumbent Pat Malone and challenger William Kughn.

For more information, the Benton County Elections Office uploaded each candidate’s filing form. Information on the forms include details on occupation, educational background and prior governmental experience. Click here for Kughn. Click here for Malone.

In addition, the Benton County Voters’ Pamphlet is available here.

This is the first of five questions asked of the candidates. Each candidate was allowed no more than 200 words for each individual answer with no exceptions. Answers were edited only for punctuation and typos and to conform to newspaper style guidelines (abbreviations, capitalization, etc.).

How would you define the responsibilities of a county commissioner and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?

KUGHN: The primary responsibility of a county commissioner is to carefully consider all issues facing the county and resolve them in the most cost-effective way possible. Currently all three Benton County Commissioners are democrats who have been working hard to serve the voters of Benton County.

However, I feel that in these trying economic times it would be useful to have at least one conservative voice at the table when the critical issues of Benton County government are decided.

MALONE: Since all three county commissioners are elected “at large,” our job is to represent the diverse aspects of our community as we are able (because Benton County is a charter county). I do this by being open and accessible and attending as many community events as possible to listen and talk with all kinds of constituents.

Commissioners have a wide range of responsibilities:

• County commissioners have executive functions. We set policy and give direction to Benton County government.

• We have legislative functions.  We enact ordinances that have the force of law in Benton County.

• And in land use issues, we have a quasi-judicial function, if land use issues are appealed to the Board of Commissioners.

Coming Tuesday: What do you see as the three biggest issues facing Benton County, and how would you propose these issues be addressed?

CANDIDATES Q-and-A
PUBLISHED
Monday, Oct. 17: How would you define the responsibilities of a county commissioner and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?
COMING
Tuesday, Oct. 18: What do you see as the three biggest issues facing Benton County, and how would you propose these issues be addressed?
Wednesday, Oct. 19: What is your experience with preparing or authorizing budgets and what do you see as the biggest budget challenges?
Thursday, Oct. 20: What is your approach to evaluating land use applications and what, in your view, are the factors that are most important to consider when doing so?
Friday, Oct. 21: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you personally?

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.