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Friday — May 7, 2004


Michael on ballot unopposed for second term

Express Staff Writer

In her four years as a Blaine County Commissioner, Sarah Michael has added a lot of feathers to her cap.

She has spearheaded public policy on weeds, public transportation, water quality, budget processes and the use of personal watercraft on Blaine County’s scenic Sawtooth lakes. She said she believes it is important to be proactive when it comes to public policy.

"We have a history of proactive leadership with (former commissioners) Len Harlig and Tom Bowman, and that sense of leadership and initiative is important to keep Blaine County special," she said.

Michael, 57, is running for her second term. Though the Hulen Meadows Democrat’s first term ran for four years, the second will last two because of the staggered nature of the three commission seats.

She is running unopposed in the primary on May 25 and in the general election Nov. 2. The only contested county commission seat will be decided in the May primary. Former Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Tom Bowman is challenging incumbent County Commissioner Mary Ann Mix for a four-year term.

Because both candidates are Democrats, that race will be decided in the primary.

For her part, however, Michael said she is running again, in part, because she’s having a good time.

"I’m having a lot of fun. It’s fun being a county commissioner and being in service to your community," she said.

Michael was also critical of some of the ways things are done at the county courthouse.

"It doesn’t need to take three years to pass an affordable housing ordinance," she said, referring to an ordinance the county commission passed on Monday. "We should hire long-range planners or consultants. I think we need to add resources—add the capability."

Michael also supports hiring a county administrator to help oversee grants, budget processes, hiring and firing and to give general oversight to the county’s nine departments. It’s something she proposed early in her first term, but her fellow commissioners squelched the concept. Because Bowman has also proposed hiring a county administrator, that is one change that would probably be certain should he be elected.

"The amount of paperwork and minutia we deal with is ridiculous," Michael said. "Our meetings take so much time that we never get to the big picture stuff. I think Blaine County growth issues are urgent.

"It’s not something we can wait to deal with. I would like to see a stronger commitment from the board to being proactive."

Debate scheduled

Candidates for Blaine County Sheriff and Blaine County Commission will square off in a debate on Thursday, May 13.

Citizens for Smart Growth is hosting the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the Liberty Theater in Hailey.

County Commission candidates Mary Ann Mix and Tom Bowman, both Democrats, will square off. Sheriff candidates Walt Femling and Steve England, both Republicans, and Steve Gunter, a Democrat, will debate issues.

A group of panelists will ask questions, and Wood River Valley Channel 13 Perspective host Gene Delaggo will moderate the event.


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