Former longtime Truman Mayor Elliot Belgard won a special election this year to gain a seat on the Martin County Commission. He represents District 1, which covers northeastern Martin County. We believe Belgard is an excellent public servant who now has had several months to get his feet wet on the county board. He is learning the ropes, making connections with people in the public and private sectors, and getting to know his colleagues on the commission. We think he has earned the right to a full term.
Belgard's opponent is Bob Toland, who lives in rural Truman. Toland makes the case that the special election he lost to Belgard amounted to a 50-vote margin given just a 20 percent turnout. Certainly, no one should begrudge Toland for taking another shot at this seat. He too is an excellent public servant, serving many years in law enforcement. But we still have to give the nod to Belgard.
Meanwhile, in District 5, we believe Steve Flohrs of Ormsby is the right choice for voters in northwestern Martin County. He is the current chairman of the Soil and Water Conservation District, giving him some valuable insight and leadership experience. Flohrs is open and honest, and ready and willing to do what it takes to learn the responsibilities of being a commissioner.
We have to say that Flohrs' opponent, Keith Hartmann of Northrop, has shown himself to be knowledgeable on the issues, and it's easy to see he takes the prospect of becoming a commissioner seriously. In the end, though, we think Flohrs is better positioned to step into the job.