County Commission candidates: Jim Stone
Name: Jim Stone
Occupation: Teamsters Local #2 Business Representative
Party affiliation: Democrat
Experience relevant to position sought: In my current position, I have to understand complex policy and regulations. I have the ability to work through the real issue and listen to the concerns of people on both sides of an issue. I have been able to work with both sides on an issue and come up with the best solution that benefits both sides. I am a negotiator. You can never please everyone but if both sides can agree, then it is the best solution.
Q: Why are you running for county commissioner?
A: I am running for commissioner because I love living and raising my family here. I am concerned about many issues negatively affecting our community and feel I can make a difference in enacting positive change. I have a different skill set than other County Commissioners in the past and I believe this will benefit the residents of Cascade County.
Q: What do you believe is the role of a county commissioner?
A: The role of a commissioner is to make decisions that give the residents the best services and opportunities while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
Q: What do you believe are the top three challenges facing Cascade County?
A: High taxation to provide necessary services s/a roads, proper thought and community discussion to make the best decisions when it comes to issues like the Madison Food Park. The best way to utilize county amenities like the fairgrounds for sustainable profitability while offering affordable recreation in our community.
Q: If elected, what would be your initial priorities and how would you accomplish those goals?
A: Working department heads to find out what and why their needs are so that they can provide the best services to the residents to keep them better informed as to what the commissioners are doing and give the residents a say.
Q: If elected, how would you approach the decision-making process on items before the commission?
A: I believe that input from the residents and research into the issue along with complete transparency are the only way to make these decisions.
Q: How would you conduct public outreach on controversial matters before the county, or to promote a general understanding of the county’s public process?
A: Having more public meetings including using social media for those that can’t attend. This would also include having meetings in the evenings and in locations most effected by the issue.
Q: How would you approach working with the City of Great Falls staff and the City Commission to address broader community needs and goals?
A: I would like to be able to work in partnership as much as possible to ensure a win-win for all. The City of Great Falls has most of the residents in Cascade County and it is important to work with the city government in a healthy and beneficial way to achieve joint consensus. This not only benefits the city but the overall health and growth of the county. I have already worked with the city representatives in my current position.
Q: What do you believe is the role of the county commission in economic development?
A: I believe that the commissioners need to extensively research and find prospective employers and find ways to bring higher paying jobs to the county. This would include working with the City of Great Falls.
Q: What do you believe are the core services a county should provide to residents?
A: The core services are vast in Cascade County and all are important to certain sectors of the county. Education, job creation and retention, opportunities for quality health care, timely and easily assessable opportunities for paying taxes and vehicle registration, education on how to find specific resources from building codes to child care and aging services, safety of our citizens, good roads & public works…and on and on…they are all core services that taxpayers expect to receive.
Q: How would you approach the budget process to ensure the county is making the best use of taxpayer dollars?
A: Working with the other elected officials and the Department heads to see where the money is spent, are there areas of duplication of resources, how do our expenses compare to other communities of similar make-up, are there different approaches used by others that have shown good results and how it all affects the residents of the county.
Q: How would you work with the sheriff’s office to ensure public safety?
A: Communication first and foremost….I already have a good relationship with the Sheriff’s Department and I fully support the office and will do what is necessary to protect public safety. We need to work together with all aspects from the causes, consequences, courts, counseling, confinement, circumvention and more.
Q: What do you envision your working relationship with county staff would look like?
A: Having regular, productive meetings to discuss and look for solutions on the issues with department heads. It is vital to serving the community. The commissioners need to know what is working and what is not in order to fix any problem the community is having.
Q: Any additional comments on your plans if elected (but please be concise)?
A: There are many issues facing the county today and in the future. Jobs and growth go hand in hand. Working with community leaders will be an important step in reaching those goals. Keeping the community informed as to the decisions of the commissioners is another goal, I have in mind. I am ready to jump in and get to work immediately.