Franklin commissioner: Re-elect Rick Miller

October 8, 2010 

Franklin County voters are faced with a choice between two candidates with a passion for public service in the commissioner's race.

Incumbent Rick Miller has served one term as Franklin County commissioner and comes from a long line of family members who have served the county.

Hans "Jochen" Engelke, a farmer from Basin City, is back for another run at the position, after having been eliminated from the same race in the primary in 2006.

Both men have strong ties to the agricultural community and the north end of the county, and both are motivated by a desire to serve the public.

Four years ago we weren't quite sure how Miller would fare as a commissioner. He's a soft-spoken man who can seem uncomfortable when put in the spotlight. But he's proved to be a diligent and thoughtful commissioner, who turns up at many community events to show his support.

Engelke is more authoritative, and he should be -- he was a German air force officer with Allied NATO Command Forces Central Europe before he immigrated to the United States.

We have no doubt Engelke would bring a firm hand and a no-nonsense approach to county government, especially with the budget. But he hasn't articulated the clear vision for improving county government that would justify ousting Miller.

Both candidates feel strongly that the time to create more jail space is here, but they have differing approaches. Engelke favors an off-site jail, with court held at the jail, requiring only judges to travel, not inmates.

Miller says it's important to think about Pasco when the decision is made on the jail issue, given that many of the prisoners the jail houses are put there by the city's police department.

And they do not agree on the county's solution to rerouting Highway 170 near Basin City, which was buried by a landslide a few years back.

Miller say he believes it's safer to move the road away from the site of a 2006 landslide, since engineers worry the unstable slope could shift again.

But Engelke said it would have been a reasonable risk to rebuild Road 170 where it was.

But beyond a few specific issues, the two candidates share similar political philosophies.

Both men are willing to forgo their main jobs to serve the county. Miller was a farmer before he was elected; Engelke says he would hire someone to help run his farming operation should he be elected.

While we think Engelke's passion and no-nonsense attitude would be benefit the county, we believe Miller has more to show us as a commissioner and deserves a second term.

The Tri-City Herald editorial board recommends Rick Miller for Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

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