Congratulations to Brian Heino for his decisive victory in the race for Flathead County Sheriff on Tuesday.
His ability to get almost as many votes as his three competitors combined shows he has a solid connection with the public, and that is an essential ingredient in a good sheriff, who is traditionally the people’s lawman.
Heino is a Flathead native with a wealth of experience in law enforcement. He is the current patrol commander and has also worked as SWAT team leader and as a member of the drug task force and search and rescue, among many positions. He also has a degree in police science.
Heino, who faces no Democratic challenger in the fall, has said he intends to make fighting drug-related crimes and protecting our county’s schools his priorities. He will have our support in those tasks, and we suspect that of the entire community.
A couple of additional notes about the primary battle.
Jay Scott endured a second “close but no cigar” finish in his bid to become the GOP candidate for county commissioner. Scott lost to the now-incumbent commissioner, Gary Krueger, by just 23 votes six years ago, and this time around he lost to winner Randy Brodehl by just 161 votes out of more than 17,000 cast. On Tuesday, Krueger ended up in third place and will finish out the rest of his term as a lame duck. (It may just be a historical footnote, but it’s worth noting that Gary’s father, Ken Krueger, also lost his re-election bid after his first six-year term when he was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1988.)
Brodehl will go on to face Democrat Tom Clark in the general election. As for Jay Scott, we hope he will get an opportunity to serve the public in some capacity in coming years, as he clearly enjoys the respect of thousands in the Flathead.
Digging a well or a hole?
Finally, the vote to expand the Egan Slough Zoning District turned out about how most people expected — with a large majority voting FOR the expansion, and essentially against the Montana Artesian Water Co.’s plan to build a water-bottling plant in the vicinity.
Since the owners of the company had met all of the legal challenges required for them to open the bottling plant, it will be interesting to see whether this matter now ends up in court. The U.S. Constitution bans “ex post facto” legislation, or laws that are applied retroactively to criminalize what had previously been legal behavior. We know that the voters of Flathead County voted to stop the water-bottling plant with good intentions, but we shall have to see if their good intentions lead to the destination intended — or a courtroom.