On Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m., Eureka candidates for County Commission, Sheriff, and School Board appeared before the Crescent Valley public for a Candidate’s Night held at the Crescent Valley Town Center moderated by Crescent Valley resident and Town Advisory Board Secretary, Nona Kellerman. Kellerman began by thanking Betty Krambs for her “many years of service” handling the Candidates’ forums in the past.
The Candidate’s Forum was standing-room only. The only candidate in a two-way race not present was School Board Candidate, Jamie Osburn.
Candidates were given three minutes for opening statements and the public had 30 seconds to ask a question and the Candidates then were given two minutes to respond. Then, each candidate was given two minutes for a closing statement. Kellerman’s timer beeped audibly when a candidate’s time was over.
Candidates spoke in their order on the ballot beginning with District 2 Commission candidates, Fred Etchegaray and then Michael Rebaleati; then District 3 candidates, Ray Bailey and Mike Sharkozy; followed by Sheriff candidates, Keith Logan and Shane Cantrell; followed by School Board Trustee Candidates, Chuck Price, Robin Hicks, and Darla Baumann.
Etchegaray began by introducing himself as the Republican candidate for District 2. “I’m a life-long resident of Eureka County. My family has run cattle, sheep, and raised hay in various locations in Eureka County for four generations.” Etchegaray said he’s spent time in Crescent Valley where he’d come “to get rehydrated.” He has a cattle and hay farm north of Eureka and “has been a self employed farmer and cattle rancher for 35 years.”
He and his wife, Devanie, have raised three children with the youngest currently attending Eureka High School. “I love Eureka and I’m grateful for the lifestyle we have enjoyed in Eureka County.” Etchegaray said the issue most concerning him facing Eureka County is SB400 which, if it passes in November, means “the funding structure for Eureka County may change drastically and net proceeds could be considerably less. It will be up to the Commissioners to be very vigilant with Eureka County money and how it is spent. Being a conservative business owner and resident of Eureka County, I feel very strongly that I have the ability and willingness to help lead Eureka County through the upcoming financial difficulties that may occur. I care about Eureka and the good people who live here. I want to serve you and the community.” Etchegaray said, “Eureka has given me so much and I am very grateful for that” and he looks forward “to serving you as Eureka County Commissioner.”
Next candidate, Mike Rebaleati, County Recorder/Auditor/Budget Officer, after expressing his appreciation for the opportunity to speak, said, “What I want to represent as County Commissioner are the following topics: I want to help preserve the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I’ve been a life-long hunter, gun owner and fisherman who loves the outdoors.” He said he supports the National Rifle Association efforts to ensure the right stays intact. Rebaleati wants to work to “continue to protect and preserve the fiscal stability of Eureka County. With 32 years of experience serving as the Eureka County Recorder Auditor and Budget Director, I believe I’m uniquely qualified to oversee and govern the Eureka County budget process. As the County Auditor I have earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Offices of the United States for over 20 years.”
Rebaleati noted he has “considerable experience serving as a board member” and knows how to “properly conduct public meetings.” He noted he has served on the County Wildlife Advisory Board for 8 years and as its Chairman for two years. “I am currently the Chairman of the Nevada Public Agency Assurance Pool; and I’ve been that chairman since 1996 and there’s over 45 board members on that so we have very large meetings. I’m a big believer in government transparency. Government watch-dog organizations have been desperately needed in Nevada. It is refreshing that the Nevada Public Research Institute has taken the lead in this effort. I donate money to the NPRI which is ‘Transparent Nevada’ and I fully support government transparency.”
Rebaleati said, “I’m basically a capitalist at heart. I want to enhance and support what private enterprise we have in Eureka County. I support mining and I want to help in any way I can to keep the 1873 mining law in effect. Mining is what has given Eureka County the chance to rebuild our water, sewer infrastructure, construct better roads and preserve our historic buildings.” Rebaleati concurred with Etchegaray that it’s “a very real possibility…that the net proceeds of mines tax laws will be permanently removed from the State Constitution. So, please vote ‘no’ on Question 2.”
Rebaleati is “tired of the continual hassle the Bureau of Land Management creates for our ranchers” and “will continue to support the Natural Resource Program of Eureka County to help preserve the grazing rights for our ranchers.” Rebaleati wants to see “an increase in the numbers of grazing livestock in Eureka County and the rest of the Great Basin in the next four years.”
Rebaleati is proud of Eureka farmers “and how they developed and continue to produce some of the best hay on the market.” Rebaleati recalled how as a child he accompanied his father when he went to Eureka farms and ranches to work on old engines. For economic development, Rebaleati supports projects that “fit Eureka County,” meaning “mining, ranching and farming-related projects will be the ones that drive the private enterprise.”
Next District 3 candidate Ray Bailey spoke. “I’m from Pine Valley. I was born and raised in Pine Valley which is Eureka County. Some of us don’t realize that at some times. It’s just like Crescent Valley. It is Eureka County and we are on the lower end of the valley and I’m a rancher now. I inherited from my parents and grand-parents and I have the same issues as the other commissioners: the grazing rights that we have with the BLM. It’s going to be a tough uphill battle if this sage grouse becomes more of an issue. If they do what they want to do with it, our life will change. If you like hunting; if you like fishing; if you like mining, we will all be out of a job; and that’s the reason I filed for the commissioner because I know what the government is trying to do to us. I don’t know if we can effect what happens with our small town that we have; but I am a voice and I will do what the people of Eureka County would like me to do” and he asked for the public’s support in November.
Incumbent District 3 Commissioner, Mike Sharkozy, noted that he was appointed by the Governor “to take the seat that Pat Dempsey held. And he said that he thought by my resume that I would do a good job for the County; and I hope that I haven’t disappointed you all or him.” Sharkozy has been in the seat for a year and a half and his major concerns are water, fire departments, police departments and “our well-being as a community; and if reelected I hope to help out the County in any way I can in maintaining those things that we need such as our police departments and such. I do endorse having good community relations like our community organizations: Search and Rescue, Emergency Fund, our Senior Center. Senior Centers are very helpful to our community like here in Crescent Valley; so many of us are retired. We need a place to go and have a good time once in a while. And the activities that we have: our activities department through our Senior Center Director has had some of these activities that really pull the area together.” Sharkozy expressed his hope that the public will vote for him.
Editor’s note: Part one of three. Next week will feature the Sheriff’s candidate’s and the following week will feature the school board race.