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 fourth 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 fourth 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.).

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?

MALONE: I approach all important issues with the same system. I have an open mind. I gather the best information especially from those with the knowledge and experience to give me good, fact-based information. I am willing to take as much time as the issue needs to get the relevant facts before I will decide any land use issue.

KUGHN: We need to be aware of barriers to a range of housing options. We do not want to become another San Francisco where only the rich can live.

As a retired home builder, I am aware of the issues (fees and restrictive regulations) facing home developers. This is surely a part of the puzzle of homelessness and needs to be kept front and center when considering future development.

Rather than utilize land already owned, the current plan is to purchase additional land for the new justice complex (jail/courthouse/crisis center). A bond issue for a new jail has been put to Benton County voters in the past and has failed each time. If that happens again this year, what is “Plan B”? If we cannot afford to build all three facilities at this time, we need to consider which is most urgently needed and which could be postponed.

The jail may be the most needed, but it is also the costliest, at approximately $60 million of the estimated $100 million total. Additionally, the entire nation is in an inflation cycle with a looming recession.

Surely this is not the time to take on another $100 million in debt.

Coming Friday: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you personally?

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?
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?
COMING
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.