Three candidates are running for the Holt County Board of Supervisors District 3 seat in the primary election on May 15. They are incumbent Ralph Metschke of Chambers and non-incumbents Doug Frahm of Amelia and Dean Sidak of Emmet.
Only one person will move on in this race and will appear on the general election ballot in November due to all of the candidates being registered as Republicans.
"The people on the board thought that I should run for re-election. I am still in the planning of our one- and six-year plan. I would like to continue to improve the roads and bridges. I like to have a voice in how our government runs. We try to run it with the best efficient way that we can," Metschke said.
Prior to serving as a supervisor for the last eight years, Metscke was employed as a machine operator, bridge foreman and road foreman for the Holt County Road Department. He is now retired.
"My wife and I got married in 1971. Right after we got married I started working for the county. So I have either been a worker, a boss or a supervisor for the county ever since then. That's 47 years so there isn't too many surprises," he said.
His family includes his wife Georgia, five children and 11 grandchildren.
"My wife turns 65 in July. If I am re-elected I am going to get off the county's insurance and be on Medicare. That is going to save the county a bunch of money. We will no longer depend on the county for insurance," he said.
Metschke attended college for one year and then went on to be licensed as a Methodist minister. He previously served as a pastor at the Methodist churches in Atkinson, Tilden and Meadow Grove. No longer a pastor, Metschke still does a lot of mission work. He enjoys visiting the elderly at the hospitals and nursing homes.
He served two years in the U.S. Army and has been a member of the American Legion posts in Chambers and Tilden for almost 50 years. He previously served eight years on the Chamber Village Board and eight years on the Chambers School Board of Education. He serves as the caretaker of the Chambers Cemetery.
Metschke also volunteers at the Holt County Veterans' Service Office driving veterans to Grand Island.
As a supervisor, he serves on the personnel, bridge and road committees.
"I have a lot of experience. I know how to run equipment. I am pretty staunch on maintenance of equipment. I like the employees to have good equipment, but I also like it to be taken care of. It is the taxpayers that own all that equipment. I want that equipment ready to go if there is an emergency. We have some good guys that do that," he said.
Noting that property taxes are always an issue, Metschke said there are a lot of things he is proud of during his time as supervisor.
"One thing is we have all our debt paid off. When I was first elected we still owed money for the new annex building onto the courthouse and from when the area was flooded and bridges were damaged. All of that is paid off. The county is debt free. I think we have been frugal," he said. "We just found out that part of the courthouse roof is leaking, but now we have the money set aside for an emergency like that. It has probably been 30 years since the roof was finished. We have to maintain our buildings."
One of Metschke main focuses has been the county's roads. The county consists of 2,400 miles of road. The county road department takes care of about 1,400 miles of that total. The 37 townships in the county take care of the other 1,000 miles. The state has about 204 miles of asphalt state roads they maintain in Holt County, versus the county which has 266 miles of asphalt roads it maintains.
"We have been trying to get the best bang out of our buck. We have been trying to do things that last. It is a huge, huge part of our budget. A huge problem is our oil roads. There is so much heavy agricultural traffic. We have been starting on the heavy traffic roads when there is a hot-mix outfit in the area doing a state job. We are trying to incorporate them and do a few miles of county roads," he said.
Metschke noted that the county also has raised it standards on the work it expects from its employees.
"We raised wages to keep good help and we no longer have workers that sluff off and not do their job," he said. "We expect our employees to work hard and we treat them right. When the employees do a good job I always compliment them and thank them for getting it done so quickly. I think that is really important. They don't get a lot of compliments from the public."
"I have experience. I would like to help with cutting taxes. I don't like to spend it if it's not necessary. I don't think a guy should complain about what is going on with the county board if you're not willing to run for the position," he said.
Sidak currently serves on the Emmet Village Board. He previously served on the Holt County Board of Supervisors from 2006-2010 and served on the finance committee. He also served on the Grattan Township Board, Emmet Public School Board of Education and Holt County Fair Board.
"I have the knowledge of how government runs. I know what it takes to run a business. I have several businesses. I have plenty of irons in the fire," he said.
He owns Premier Auto, Sidak Trucking, LLC, L&D Storage and RV Park.
"I will be focusing on spending. There are a lot of areas that could be thinned down. I voted against all the tax exemptions except for schools and churches," he said. "I never missed a meeting in four years when I was on the board."
A farmer and rancher all his life, Sidak noted that his father bought their homestead in 1955. His family includes his wife of 40 years Leanne and their four children and seven grandchildren. Sidak graduated from O'Neill Public High School in 1974 and attended Northeast Community College studying mechanics. He also volunteers with the area Boy Scouts.
Frahm is running for supervisor because he feels that the knowledge and unique perspective he gained over the years in the private and military workforce as well as supervisory positions help give him the ability to "think outside of the box."
"I am running because of my interest in the county, the way things are run. I have lived here almost all my life and want to do my part," he said. "I plan to address issues such as the windfarm, roads, bridges and infrastructure mostly and the need to keep them up."
Frahm grew up near the small town of Amelia where his family lived and worked. He attended school through eighth grade in Amelia and then attended high school in Chambers. Frahm joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating and served three years at Offutt Air Force Base. After leaving the service, he joined the U.S. Air National Guard and served a total of 26 years. Frahm retired as the data base management section supervisor.
In 2000 he went to work for the State of Iowa helping set up and operate the ANG Paint Facility at the Sioux City Iowa Air National Guard base. Frahm retired in 2005 and returned to his hometown. A few years later he married his wife Mary. He currently manages his mother's small family ranch, pastures cattle and puts up hay.
"Working on large building projects, procuring millions of dollars of equipment, budgeting funds to insure annual cost overruns did not occur, working with Gateway computer to setup the first contract to buy direct from the manufacture gives me the experience required to get the job done," he said. "My ability as a supervisor to guide and lead my subordinates to outstanding performance ratings year after year also show my ability to lead. I hope to bring this experience to the Holt County supervisors."
Frahm has served as the chairman of the Wyoming Township Board for the past four years and works with the other board members to inspect, maintain and repair the roads in the township.
He has been a member of the Chambers American Legion Post 320 for 12 years and has served as commander for the past nine years. He also has served as Holt County American Legion vice commander and commander, District 2 American Legion vice commander and commander, and Area B American Legion vice commander. Frahm is currently the Junior Shooting Sports liaison for the Department of Nebraska American Legion.
"I am very passionate about the programs the American Legion provides to help guide the youth of today to be patriotic, upstanding citizens of this great country of ours," he said.