Commissioner candidate Q&A: Ken Evenson

The candidates for the Jan. 24 recall election recently sat down with the T-R to share some of their views. Incumbent Commissioner Ken Evenson is up against Dewey Magnuson to decide who will fill out the remaining two years of the four-year term ending in 2014.
Commissioner candidate Ken Evenson's interview appears below.

Ken Evenson, current City Commissioner, (middle of third term).
Occupation: Electrical lineman for Cass County Electric, 20+ years, and for City of Valley City, 20+ years.
Family: Wife Dotty, daughter Debbie and son Jeffrey.
Organizatons: Member of the American Legion and VFW, adopted veterans at Sheyenne Care Center, various local volunteer projects.

What are the three biggest issues facing Valley City?
"Everybody talks about the Devils' Lake flood water. That's the biggest issue with the commission, and also trying to get the buyouts so we can go ahead with permanent diking and eliminate some of the sandbagging. Another one is trying to get the streets all fixed up again after the flood, and of course, we're waiting for a payment from FEMA and we really appreciate the citizens working with us to keep driving over these bad streets. It takes time and money to do it. And the third one is to work as hard as we can with the citizens. Some decisions that are made can't make everyone happy, but I hope that we're adult enough to say hey, we can't all be perfect."

How can you make Valley City a better place to live? "

How do you intend to move on from the contentious political climate of 2011? "Well, if I am lucky enough to win, we will need to go back and do what we were elected to do. The (special election) has taken a lot of time to go out and do campaigning; to me, it should have never happened. If I get back in the swing of things, we'll keep continuing on what we've been doing."

Post-election, what kind of tone would you set with your colleagues at City Hall and your fellow citizens? "All the people I work with at City Hall - I have no problems. As far as the citizens, I think they're great. We have maybe a low, low percentage that are a little tough to get along with, but whatever happens, I'm not going to walk around with a grudge
and beat my head up against the wall, I'd just like to be able to win and finish out my term."

Regardless of the election outcome, do you think it will be a clean slate for Valley City? "It's hard to say. What's been going on the past year is really tough. I just can't comment on that for sure."

Accomplishments: "So far, the last two terms, I've been the portfolio holder for public works, which includes the water and electrical. The big project on that is the water plant, which we're going to have one of the nicest ones in the state for the size of this town when it gets completed. I was one of the big pushers with the other commissioners to get that done. With the electrical department, we've worked on the rates, and we now have the lowest rates in the tri-state area for electricity. My main concern is to keep doing that, and hopefully after January I can get back into business for what I was elected to do."

"Our infrastructure is getting pretty nice, what with replacing the water and sewer lines.What we're doing now and what we've got the money to do - we'll just try to get the town fixed up with the streets. The new forced main from the water plant going out to the lagoon is another big project, and that will be finished this summer. And we just keep going on and have all our employees work safely so we don't have any injuries."