Republicans Win Flathead County Commission Races

By Beacon Staff

Scott Elected to County Commission

Despite a testy campaign to the finish, Republican candidate for Flathead County Commission District 1 Cal Scott had an edge on Democrat Gil Jordan as of noon on Nov. 7, with about 56 percent of the vote to Jordan’s 43 percent.

Scott will hold the seat for two years, finishing out former Commissioner Jim Dupont’s term. Dupont passed away unexpectedly in March, leaving the District 1 seat empty and presenting Flathead County with a rare two-commissioner election.

Scott has served as the interim commissioner since Dupont’s death, and faced heavy criticism after reports of his 2009 bankruptcy surfaced, along with allegations that he lied about his educational background.

The criticisms were unfounded, Scott said during his campaign, and he felt that he could serve Flathead County well as a commissioner. He touted removing $1 million from the budget already, and said any budget item that does not offer a financial, health or safety return on its investment should be excised from the budget.

As a commissioner, Scott said he would help spur job creation in the valley through better regulations and zoning; zones can get in the way of business growth, he said.

Scott, 68, is also the founder and director of ETHIC, a nonprofit real estate education and counseling organization. From 1972 to 2011, Scott has owned and managed companies in the real estate field, as well as in financial counseling and business planning.

As the Democratic challenger, Jordan said if elected he could have provided a different perspective on an all-Republican board and stressed that a strong economy, good jobs and a clean environment can all exist together.

Krueger Easily Elected to District 3 Seat

Republicans held on to the Flathead County Commission District 3 seat, with Gary Krueger surpassing Democratic candidate Clara Mears-LaChapelle.

Krueger, a familiar face on many Flathead County boards, earned about 70 percent of the votes for the District 3 seat, while Mears-LaChapelle held on to 30 percent. Commissioner Dale Lauman currently holds the seat, but did not seek reelection.

During his campaign, Krueger touted his experience on the Flathead County Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment, noting that his time on those boards has given him insight into the land issues facing county residents.

As a commissioner, Krueger said he would continue to assess the Flathead County Growth Policy, ensuring that tweaks are made to help support businesses and attract businesses to the area.

Krueger has expressed that he is not against zoning and planning; rather, he feels zoning should be used to ensure the health, safety and general welfare of the population. Otherwise, landowners should have the right to use their property for capital gain.

“I’m not anti-zoning,” Krueger said. “I don’t want it to overreach.”

Overall, Krueger said government should be there to help citizens, and it is important to him that when a person leaves a hearing that they feel they’ve actually been heard.

Mears-LaChapelle ran on the idea of a fresh face and new perspective on the county commission, and said she would focus on maintaining the Flathead’s beauty and character to attract businesses and enhance job growth.

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