Tony Berget plans to run for County Commissioner
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
January 24, 2008
Libby Mayor Tony Berget is planning a run at a higher office.
Berget confirmed last week that he intends to file as a candidate for county commissioner when registration opens on Tuesday, Jan. 22. He said he made the decision only after making sure that Commissioner Rita Windom of Libby isn’t going to seek a third term.
“I said I’ll run if you’re not going to, but if you are going to run, I’m not going to run,” Berget said.
Berget will be filing as a Republican. In his current position as mayor, he is not affiliated with a political party.
“I’ve always kind of liked that,” he said.
Berget said considers himself a fiscal conservative but doesn’t think party politics should play a part in local government.
If elected county commissioner next November, Berget will have to resign as mayor. He has served in that capacity since winning election in 1997. He had previously served on the city council for two years.
While he’s currently kept busy with his work as owner of Tony’s Pump Service, Berget said he’d like to be able to serve as a full-time elected official.
“I enjoy the day-to-day operations of the city,” Berget said. “It’s such a part-time thing, it is hard to do that all the time.”
Berget said he’s forged relationships with Troy and Eureka while serving as mayor and would like the opportunity to apply his experience at the county level.
“There are so many things that as a city you find out are bigger than just the city, that it’s a county issue,” he said.
Windom was elected commissioner in 1996 and won re-election to another six-year term in 2002. She said she never planned to seek more than two terms as commissioner.
Also at the county level, the position of clerk of district court will be open this year. The office was held until recently by Nadine Pival, who retired Dec. 21 after serving since 1999. Susan Farmer, who had worked as a clerk in the office for 19 years, was appointed to be Pival’s successor and plans to run for a full four-year term this year.
All 100 seats in the Montana House of Representatives are up for election this year, as they are in every even-numbered year. In Lincoln County, those seats are held by Ralph Heinert and Chas Vincent, both Republicans from Libby. Heinert has served two terms, and Vincent was elected to his first term in 2006.
The county’s seat in the Montana Senate, currently held by Aubyn Curtiss of Fortine, will be up for election in 2010.
Statewide offices to be filled this year include governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, and two seats on the Montana Supreme Court including chief justice.
At the federal level, the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Max Baucus and Montana’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, currently held by Denny Rehberg, are up for election this year.
Montana’s primary election will be held June 3. The last day for candidates to file is March 20. The general election will be held Nov. 4.
Editor’s Note: See the January 21, 2008 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Monday, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.