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The Republican primary for the Scott County Board of Supervisors is a crowded field with six candidates to be pared down to three for the November election.

Three seats will be open in November. Board chairman Larry Minard, a Republican, decided against running again, leaving incumbents Bill Cusack and Carol Earnhardt to face challengers Diane Holst, Ralph Johanson, Jared Powell and Jay Sommers in the June 3 primary.

Only two Democrats filed to run. They are Blue Grass Mayor Brinson Kinzer and James Laird, of Bettendorf.

Each candidate must get at least 35 percent of the votes cast to move on to the Nov. 4 ballot. If the party doesn’t get a full slate of candidates, it goes to a county convention later in the summer.

The incumbents are completing their first terms on the board, though Cusack previously served as county treasurer. Holst, somewhat of a regular at county board meetings, Powell and Sommers are newcomers to politics. Johanson is the Davenport School Board president.

All of the candidates say they felt a call to serve their community. The incumbents say they want to continue the work they’ve done on mental health reform and economic development.

“There is more work to be done on both issues and I want to continue to serve our community to assure the mental health region is operational and to promote and build upon the ideas generated through the Economic Development Summit to make a positive impact on Scott County families, farmers and businesses,” Earnhardt said.

The newcomers show a watchdog sensibility.

“Language in a resolution, state legislation or a federal grant can impact our pocketbook and our property rights,” Holst said. I will research the important agenda items brought before me.

All the candidates but Johanson think the state’s mental health reform, that creates regions, is positive. Scott County is part of a five-county region that includes Muscatine, Clinton, Cedar and Jackson.

“We use economies of scale by combining five counties into one region,” Powell said. “This makes for greater efficiencies and availability of services, if managed well.

Cusack points out that the new system increases crisis stabilization services that he says areof the “utmost importance.”

Johanson thinks that putting Scott County in a region weakens its control and will allow needs outside the county to receive greater focus.

“In general, I think the changes will adversely affect service delivery in Scott County,” he said. “Our county leadership has really done a great job in providing appropriate services while controlling expenses for health care.”

The incumbents led three straight years of lowered property tax rates and the challengers say they work to continue that trend.

“I am confident that this trend will continue as I will make sure the Board of Supervisors continues to follow its “pay as you go policy,”” Sommers said. “The adherence to this policy will avoid the potential of incurring debt or bonding which avoids an increase in the tax levy rate.”

Copyright 2014 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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