Posted: Jun 13, 2012 11:55 AM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Jun 14, 2012 8:39 AM
HAMILTON- Ravalli County Republicans are nominating three people to fill that opening on the county commission, making a Hamilton small business owner their top pick to run for the office this fall.
Dozens of GOP members from all over the Bitterroot Valley gathered in Hamilton Tuesday night as the Republican Central Committee prepared to name its top nominees to fill the opening left by the resignation of County Commissioner Matt Kanenwisher.
Kanenwisher stepped down at the end of May, just 18 months into his term, saying he needed to devote more time to his career instead of trying to split time between that job and the commissioners' office.
(Burrows is third from right in the abover photo)
Initially, six people had stepped forward. But that number had dropped to four by Tuesday meeting. Jeff Burrows, Clay Dethlefsen, Bill Menager, and Ken Payne outlined their backgrounds and answered questions. Topics included the always "hot button" issue in the Bitterroot of private property rights and rules like zoning.
"I'm against all these and I'm a big advocate for property rights. There's not much more to say about it. It's pretty straightforward. Anything that encroaches on our property rights is unconstitutional and we need to fight to keep our property rights," nominee Jeff Burrows said.
"So we need to get back to where the government only is involved in property rights when the damage is done to your neighbor's property," commented Ravalli County commissioner candidate Bill Menager.
"By putting the right people in office it would support the Constitution, and avoid the illegal takings that are going on right now out there. We can, as a unified group protect all people's property rights," nominee Clay Dethlefsen stated.
The first ballot was devoted to naming the one person who could not only be nominated to serve as the interim commissioner, but will be the party's nominee for the permanent assignment in November.
Burrows took that top spot, Menager and Dethlefsen came in as the second and third choices, with Payne not surviving the cut on the second ballot.
The vote gives Burrows the instant momentum to start working toward the general election, but all three nominees will be considered equally by the board for the interim assignment. Commissioners tell me they'll likely make that appointment next week.
The Democrats, and any other minor party candidates will also have until August to put a candidate on the ballot to run for the remainder of Kanenwisher's term.