The Cass County Commission chooses who will fill Vern Bennett’s seat

Commissioner Ken Pawluk will be taking on the role until the June primary

FARGO, N.D. — Commissioners call the passing of Vern Bennett a void in leadership and institutional knowledge. For them, it was very hard to find someone who would be able to fill his shoes.

The three candidates considered were former Commissioner Ken Pawluk, longtime City of Fargo employee Jim Kapitan and former West Fargo State Representative Ben Hanson.

After minutes of deliberation, the one taking on the role will be former Ken Pawluk, who was unable to attend the meeting in person, but joined through the phone.

“I think I was supportive of Commissioner Pawluk very simply because he was elected three times, turned out an incredible amount of experience in county government,”says Commissioner of District 1  Chad Peterson.

“Commissioner Ken Pawluk is a very experienced and respected member of the community so I’m not surprised he was selected,” says former West Fargo State Representative Ben Hanson.

Candidates were interviewed by Commissioners regarding topics like the F–M diversion project, economic assistance on incentive projects, and financial support on the Workforce Academy.

“The diversion specifically because it has such an impact to the region, if you’re to pick someone who’s anti–diversion it would cause an interesting dynamic to happen in that we’ve proceeded. The ship has already sailed, we’ve got to protect the 16 billion dollar now probably 18 billion dollar economy, 16 billion dollar in property. We’ve got 30,000 people that come here to work every day. We have to protect those people,” says Commissioner Peterson.

“Economic assistance, I think the dynamic there is we’ve had the opportunity last couple of years since two sessions ago to vote on whether tax incentives are allowed or not. And we need someone I think, that puts thought into it,” he adds.

The committee believes given the experience of Commissioner Pawluk, they have no doubt he will do an exemplary job and will be able to fill Bennett’s shoes well.

Commissioner Pawluk will be taking on the role until the June primary where the two candidates with the highest number of votes will go onto the November general election.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections