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Chamber of Commerce hosts candidates forum; to be rebroadcast this weekend

Grand Forks-area residents running for County Commission, the state Senate and House of Representatives shared where they stand on several topics at the Chamber of Commerce's candidates forum Tuesday night.

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Grand Forks-area residents running for County Commission, the state Senate and House of Representatives shared where they stand on several topics at the Chamber of Commerce's candidates forum Tuesday night.

County Commission candidates-all of whom were present except Bob Rost-agreed commissioners are responsible for doing more with less when it comes to the county budget and providing services.

On property taxes, incumbent Diane Knauf said collections are a crucial part of providing services mandated by the state. Jeffrey Powell said the county needs to become more transparent with how it spends taxpayer money. Kyle Kvamme said the commission will have access to a larger budget by attracting more young families and skilled workers.

Incumbent Tom Falck said he's spent the past four years tending to Grand Sky, an aviation technology park that attracted two large defense contractors working with unmanned aircraft, which will continue to attract skilled workers.

All four candidates for the state House of Representatives from districts 17 and 43 addressed topics on workforce and maintaining a stable budget, along with child care and higher education. Republican incumbents Mark Sanford and Mark Owens of District 17, along with Rich Becker and challenger Ben Olson of District 43, focused on how good public education already is, while Democratic challengers Angela Urlacher and Monte Gaukler from District 17 and Mary Adams and Matt Eidson from District 43 called for a halt to program cuts at UND and other institutes of higher education, along with increased access to behavioral health services.

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Two candidates each for state Senate from districts 17 and 43 closed the debate. On funding, Republican incumbents Ray Holmberg of District 17 and Lonnie Laffen of District 43 said the state is in a good spot with access to the Legacy Fund and oil tax collections, while Democratic challengers Phyllis Johnson of District 17 and JoNell Bakke of District 43 disagreed with measures the mostly Republican Legislature has taken and warned access to such funding might not last long.

The Chamber will rebroadcast the debate on Channel 2 at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2018EDUCATION
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