The only countywide office up for re-election this year is county commissioner from Commission District 1 and so far two candidates have filed for the office.
Dave Schulz has filed for his fourth term as county commissioner. Ken Yecny has also filed for the seat. Both men live in Sheridan.
Interestingly enough, the two men have a connection dating back to the 1970s when Yecny, who had moved to the Ruby Valley from California, took a job on the Schulz Ranch, working with Dave.
“I worked there for about three and half years,” Yecny said.
Despite the fact only one of them can win election, Yecny doesn’t like to characterize his campaign as running against Schulz.
“I feel like I’m running with David Schulz,” he said. “He is a very good friend of mine.”
However, Yecny feels like it’s time for a change in district one and he’s ready to step up and serve.
“I’ve had people in the community every year wanting me to run for commissioner,” he said. “I decided I would throw my hat in and give her a try.”
Yecny is a semi-retired businessman who owned the Napa Store in Sheridan with his wife Jane until about five years ago. Now Yecny devotes much of his time volunteering with the Ruby Valley Ambulance Service, where he serves as president. He also serves as vice president for the Ruby Valley Search and Rescue.
His main focus as commissioner would be clamping down on what he sees as unnecessary growth in county government.
“I think our county is just creating more and more positions hiring more and more people,” Yecny said. “I think a lot of it is unnecessary. We just keep having more and more programs that keep having to be paid for by the taxpayers.”
His strategy would be to identify the problems in county government and then work to develop a solution.
“Until you identify the problem you can’t come up with a solution,” he said.
For Schulz, his service to Madison County has come from an enjoyment of his job and a love for Madison County.
“I love Madison County,” Schulz said. “I feel as a commissioner I’ve done a good job in the past 11 years. I believe that I’ve made some very positive impacts on behalf of the people of Madison County.”
Schulz comes from a ranching background and is native to the county. His great-grandfather came to the Ruby Valley in 1901. Schulz ranched until 1995.
The only job he ever applied and interviewed for was county weed coordinator after he retired from ranching. He was elected as commissioner in 2000.
One of his most visible accomplishments as commissioner has been improving county roads in his district.
In Madison County, each commissioner serves as road supervisor for the roads in his district. It’s an obligation Schulz has taken very seriously.
“The county roads are much better than they’ve ever been,” he said.
Schulz is also proud of the remodels at the two county-owned nursing homes – the Madison Valley Manor in Ennis and the Tobacco Root Mountains Care Center in Sheridan. Both facilities are very important to the county and the remodel and expansion projects were very necessary, Schulz said.
Despite the county’s need to grow and expand services, he has continued to be careful of how taxpayer money is being spent.
“I’ve been a very conservative commissioner,” Schulz said. “I recognize there are places you need to put money. Yet I always ask hard questions about where those dollars go and what the benefits to the constituents or residents will be.”
In Madison County, the commissioner races are nonpartisan and only voters from within the commission district will be able to cast ballots in the race.
People have until March 12 to file for candidacy to be on the November ballot.