County commission candidate: Rae Grulkowski

Name: Rae Grulkowski

Age: (did not answer)For Signs 2

Occupation: Co-owner/operator Carp’s Drain Cleaning, Inc.

Party affiliation: Republican

Experience relevant to position sought: Private and public sector work experiences on varying levels, in various industries. This includes growing businesses and gracefully guiding their downsizing. I represent diversity of interests throughout our county. My husband and I own commercial and residential property in Great Falls and in the county.  We make our home on rural acreage south and east of Stockett, attending church in Centerville. In controversial matters, I practice discretion for all sides involved. I prioritize defense of our inalienable rights. I have introduced myself to many staff and elected officials within our county government in becoming familiar with the office of Cascade County commissioner. Our community can expect an efficient transfer to an elected official who is passionate about involving individuals impacted in decisions made on their behalf.

Campaign website/social media accounts, if applicableCampaign website 

Q: Why are you running for county commissioner?

A: I have become interactive with local government in the past years and, have experienced being treated rudely and made to feel my ideas were not important. I am now in a position to become part of the change I wish to see. I am an individual who wants to serve her community at this level. I am passionate about giving citizens a voice where I can, taking time with them to help understand their local government. My desire to serve the people is to listen to what they are saying and encourage them to participate in government. I also wish to open the door to more transparency and more interaction amongst our community.

Q: What do you believe is the role of a county commissioner?

A: A large portion of the responsibility of a county commissioner is budgeting and overseeing spending. They also enact and administer local ordinances, plan for county improvement, address personnel issues, negotiate and sign contracts and supervise county departments, while keeping an arm’s length.  County Commissioners oversee all of County government, to varying degrees.

Q: What do you believe are the top three challenges facing Cascade County?

A: Influence of recent population growth and its subsequent effect of property values on taxes; increasing crime, drug, and mental health needs; assuring the publics’ confidence in their local government.

Q: If elected, what would be your initial priorities and how would you accomplish those goals?

A: In shadowing the role of Cascade County commissioner, I realize numerous ways I’d like to be a positive influence. Once elected, I will have access to all pertinent information. At this time, prioritizing is difficult. Retaining skilled, dedicated, knowledgeable staff and central services critical to county operations will be a priority. These expenses are captured in our “general government” category and is our second highest county expenditure, indicating a priority to the taxpayer. But, again, this in itself encompasses numerous departments and processes.

Q: If elected, how would you approach the decision-making process on items before the commission?

A: Research and more research. There will be very tough decisions to be made should the community go silent.  However, sound decisions are always based on facts. Remaining familiar with laws, regulations and our county’s past experiences will be relied upon.

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: It is my opinion that there are too many means of communication in our society today. It is a challenge to get the same information to the masses. Administering public meeting notices is not enough and using media and social media is too much. A more search-friendly county website should be looked at and, where matters are controversial or outreach is prompted, meetings in our different towns/cities could be planned, similar to how the sheriff’s dept. is handling information meetings regarding the current safety levy campaign. These meetings could delay decisions, but would provide more citizen input regarding 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: Establishing quarterly meetings with Great Falls staff could be of great benefit to our County. This aside from the monthly board meeting assignments of the County Commissioners, now in place. The premise would be to coordinate different projects for the betterment of the community and balance funding between governments.

Q: What do you believe is the role of the county commission in economic development?

A: In my opinion and experience, most citizens don’t want major businesses that may impact our quality of life – our major asset. I believe in working with existing businesses, including our agricultural community, for expansion and working to develop and grow more small business, thus having less impact on our current quality of life. Managing to reduce red tape for our established business and agricultural community would be of value to those who’ve called Cascade County home for generations. Interdepartmental networking and streamlining of licensing, permitting and other regulatory processes would be attractive to new businesses looking to our county for their future.

Q: What do you believe are the core services a county should provide to residents?

A: Public safety (sheriff, emergency management service, health dept. – not necessarily in this order), a good road system, and effective utilities services.

Q: How would you approach the budget process to ensure the county is making the best use of taxpayer dollars?

A: Relying on qualified departmental staff who understand the intricate functions of their departments is essential. Cutting waste, whether processes, equipment or manpower would be priority, as well as providing tools, equipment and training to efficiently perform the services to our community. Considerations for the expenditure/allocation would also be weighed heavily to reduce/eliminate future impacts.

Q: How would you work with the sheriff’s office to ensure public safety?

A: I would fully support solid programs the sheriff’s dept. brings forward. We have a growing crime and drug problem in our county and we need to get behind our local law enforcement.

Q: What do you envision your working relationship with county staff would look like?

A: Knowledge and well researched facts expedites negotiations and resolutions. Cascade County has some very knowledgeable and capable employees/staff. It will be a pleasure to be surrounded by these individuals, all co-heirs of a well-functioning county government.

Q: Any additional comments on your plans if elected (but please be concise)?

A: In visiting with citizens around our county, the proposed meat packing plant, Expo Park and county road conditions are hot topics. Thank you everyone for sharing your views and ideas. I look forward to working more closely with you in the future!