John Fahlgren, Candidate for County Commissioner
A Look at the Candidate’s Views on Valley County Issues
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Fahlgren, one of three candidates for Valley County Commissioner, to talk about his experiences, and to provide his opinion on certain key issues facing the county. Fahlgren held a position with The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which provided him the opportunity to collaborate with past county commissioners quite regularly. Fahlgren stated: “In my experience with BLM I had worked with the commissioners here in Glasgow, and it has always been an interesting position. The way the commissioners work. I’m interested in being a team deciding things rather than being like a manager and doing it all on your own.”
Fahlgren grew up on a dairy farm in Hinsdale, and graduated from Hinsdale High in 1968. He received a degree in Range Management from MSU in 1974, and then began his career with BLM in Salt Lake City. John worked for BLM for 32 years, spending the last 23 years in Glasgow. He was an assistant manager for most of that time, and a manager for the last nine. After retiring in 2007 from BLM, he did some consulting and contract work doing range inventories for Dr. John Lacey, of NRCS, and also for Ecosystem Management Incorporated, an environmental consulting firm based in Albuquerque, NM. He also worked for Page-Whitham for five winters on the feed lot.
In 2013, he stared work with Montana association for conservation districts on the sage grouse initiative, the purpose of which is to keep sage grouse from becoming listed as endangered. His work on the initiative entailed working here in Valley County doing ranch plans. The sage grouse was eventually listed in part due to the initiative. Fahlgren is also keen to concerns of the agricultural community, having a ranch since 1990 raising Certified Angus Beef. A family man, He and his wife Mary have had 7 children Krista, Anna, Andy, Marcie, Marie, Tess, and Joey. Joey, whom was born prematurely, passed away at the age of 2.
John Fahlgren on the issues:
Free Roaming Bison:
“Well definitely free roaming bison would be the worst thing that could happen to our area. As long as the bison issue continues to be managed as domestic livestock under the laws of the state dealing with livestock. I think that its something that is magical. Im sure that there will be a lot of impact because of the fences, and all that it would take to contain them, and what the effect that it has on migrating antelope and things like that. Even if they are managed as something domestic, if you’re next to them with your cattle I can see that there is going to be big issues there. But as long as they are managed as livestock at least it is something that you can work with. If they got designated as free roaming wildlife then that would be a huge, huge problem for the agricultural family, and I would say a huge problem for the whole region.”
“I know that the dollars that the county has to do the kind of maintenance that they would like to do on their roads are just not there. So it’s a huge problem. The tax mill levy that was on the ballot for primary to increase for the roads did not pass, and had that passed maybe that would have made a difference.”
“I think what the county is trying to do there doesn’t look like it is working very well. The clay thats in that material they put on the road when it gets wet gets greasy and so every one on that road isn’t very pleased. I don’t know what that answer is going to be. I’ve heard the figure on what it is going to cost to repave the whole thing, and it’s something like twice what the annual road budget, it’s a huge amount of money anyway. So I don’t know exactly what the solution is, but what I know definitely is put the focus on the County Road Department and that the folks that live there deserve to be heard on it.”
“I think there is a related issue of how we deal with all the roads in residential areas. As other residential areas are developed in the county either accepts or doesn’t accept these roads, and I’ve been trying to get myself educated on that. Some of the western counties where that has been a big part of their daily operations is [sic] constantly adapting to new housing, to where it has become a more systematic thing. I think that we [are] in the transition of trying to figure out that type of thing. For example along the Fort Peck area, I think the commissioners have the authority to make all of those county roads, but they’re not, and there is a policy thing there that is right on our doorstep.”
Committing funds to City Pool:
“When that was proposed a few years ago, the way that it was proposed I was definitely against it. The people that were in agriculture, the land owners within a 5 mile radius, would of been carrying a large part of that tax increase. Philosophically for me, I was within that range and it was going to affect me and I wouldn’t of minded doing it, but the larger land owners would have taken a bigger hit for them and it seemed unfair the way it was structured.”
“I think the potential for us getting the XL Pipeline and the huge amount of tax base from it would make a project like the pool, and Skylark Road doable. At this point, I don’t see that pool being accomplished unless there is support across the county.”
Elections will be held Tuesday, November, 8. For more information about Voting and Polling places contact the Valley County Clerk and Recorder at the county courthouse or by calling 228-6220.