The rules for our county commissioners were the same as for the other candidates (see the introduction on page 20). For this race, however, we had a write-in candidate that required just a bit of extra help with his answers. Given that Pandolph the Black Bear was featured in last month's paper and had some important things to say about his home, we decided to include him in our interview.
Don't let his presence fool you, though. The other candidates answers are still perfectly serious!
RAG: Why do you want to be a County Commissioner?
DeArmond: I've always felt that if you live somewhere you should be involved with what's going on around you.
Tucker: To stay involved in my community. I've been a volunteer on the Fromberg Volunteer Fire Department and Fromberg school board, and the Carbon County Fair Board. I had to step down from the School Board when I was appointed Commissioner because you can't hold two elected positions at once.
Pandolph: To boldly go where no bear has gone before!
RAG: You have VIPs visiting who have never been to Montana. What do you serve them for dinner?
DeArmond: Meat and potatoes. I'm a meat & potatoes guy.
Tucker: Got to serve them steak. It's Montana.
Pandolph: Chokecherry pie, whitebark pine nuts, fresh trout, a few termites, and maybe some trash from my favorite alley. Just kidding on the trash. Really.
RAG: Do you feel that future growth in our county should stay within the various city limits or spread out?
DeArmond: The city limits won't hold it. I feel that any future growth in our county should be well thought out. I'm not anti-growth or pro-growth; I just think it should be smart.
Tucker: I don't think we have a choice in that, with the subdivisions that are being built every day. We can't stop it; we just need to manage it and be fair about it. Whether we like it or not, it's going to happen--especially with the new owners of Red Lodge Mountain.
Pandolph: As we add more bears, I think they should stay outside the city limits. And the cute sows can move in near me.
RAG: What's your favorite gun?
DeArmond: I just have a .17 caliber varmint rifle and an 8-weight streamer fly rod.
Tucker: My Ruger .270.
Pandolph: Gun? You're asking a bear about his favorite gun? What kind of sicko are you?
RAG: How do you feel about school consolidations?
DeArmond: I want the best education for the kids, no matter what direction the Office of Public Instruction takes.
Tucker: Right now in the Clarks Fork Valley there's a lot of talk that's been going on. Economically, it would be advantageous. We wouldn't save money, but we'd be able to provide a better education for our kids with the lessening tax dollars we have to spend. But we have to leave it to the people. When you lose the school in your small town, many people feel you lose your identity.
Pandolph: I'm for them! The more consolidated the school is, the easier it is to catch the individual fish.
RAG: What's the biggest danger facing agri?culture in Carbon County?
DeArmond: The quality and quantity of the water that's available.
Tucker: Right now, I would say brucellosis in the cattle industry. It's pretty scary right now. And the rising fuel costs.
Pandolph: Grizzlies. They're all up in your face all the time: "I think I'll be taking your lunch there, little dude." Can't stand 'em. Oh. Agriculture? Well, I'd still say grizzlies. Big danger.
RAG: Should Carbon County be working on alternative energy?
DeArmond: You betcha. I think wind and solar are the coming things and we have an abundance of both in this county.
Tucker: Yes. They're currently looking at wind energy in Bowler Flat. It looks like the wind is there, and you already have the transmission line that ties into Bighorn Dam.
Pandolph: Who needs alternatives? Get me a cute little cinammon sow or one of those blonde honeys, and I've got all the energy I need. Yowza!
RAG: If you could bring one band to Carbon County for a concert, who would it be?
DeArmond: John Prine, or you can't go wrong with Hall & Oates.
Tucker: I'd have to say the Eagles.
Pandolph: I'm a big fan of the Bear Naked Ladies, but Beary Manilow would be good, too. My favorite album is A Taste of Honey.
RAG: Where do you go to get away?
DeArmond: Floating a river somewhere.
Tucker: Camping in the Beartooths--as much as I can.
Pandolph: Depends on what I'm getting away from. If it's a grizzly, I go straight up a tree. Big old clumsy things don't climb so well. If it's people, I just run away--no place in particular. I don't tend to plan these things out much.
RAG: Describe why you'd be the perfect Carbon County Commissioner, in 25 words or less.
DeArmond: I look at both sides of the issue, and when I make a stand I stick with it. But I have the capacity to change.
Tucker: Nobody is perfect, but I'm a well experienced, dedicated, open-minded person who enjoys working with the public. Serving Carbon County would be my honor.
Pandolph: I'll hibernate all winter and leave you alone.
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