BEATRICE - One of the most controversial issues in recent years for Gage County has been renewable energy such as wind and solar….and county board candidates were asked their positions on that, during Tuesday night’s election forum put on by the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce.


Sixth District Democratic Candidate John Hill says there has to be a way to allow renewable energy to happen, but still protect other property rights. Sixth District Board member Don Schuller supports amending regulations to support alternate energy development. He says current regulations completely rule out wind energy in the county….but changes could be made that account for less population density where projects could be built.


Second District Republican Candidate Jim Ensz says a sustainable aviation fuel company from Colorado is looking at the potential of investing over a billion dollars in Gage County…..which could create jobs and add value to locally grown corn …benefitting local farmers. He says the county should not put roadblocks in front of such a project if it chooses the county.


Second District Republican Board incumbent Emily Haxby says in zoning regulations, all interests must be protected. She said the regulations are written to protect agriculture interests…and wind turbines can affect aerial application on farms.  Republican Fourth District Board candidate Rick Clabaugh says many companies are now seeking renewable energy sources when they locate to an area. He said some compromise is needed to attract such companies.


Fourth District Republican Candidate Ashley Mason says she does not support green energy in Gage County and said zoning regulations are set appropriately.
The incumbent Fourth District Supervisor, Democrat Dave Swavely, said there’s no getting away from renewably energy. He says the county needs to learn how to use it so it makes sense for business and people who live around it. He pointed out that the county is reviewing its regulations.


Republican farmer Jim Ensz is running for the District Two seat.  "Our family corporation raises corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, hogs, cover crops and feeder cattle. I've served on the Beatrice Community Hospital Board for more than twenty years and during my time, we were able to build a new hospital."
Republican Emily Haxby, a fifth generation farmer, is the current District Two board member and is seeking reelection. "I've worked on regs that foster community involvement....the broadband project bringing fiber to one-thousand rural locations. I've been working on grants and outreach...like the RAISE grant...$25 million...hoping to hear in June....the BIP, $20 million...hoping to hear in July. These grants are in districts two, one, six and seven. We just received a $5.4 million grant for road improvement."


Former Beatrice City Councilman and pharmacist Rick Clabaugh is a Republican running for the District Four supervisors seat. "I bring to the table a uniqueness in that I was on the city council for ten years, president for five of those years. During my service on the Beatrice City Council and NGage Board, I was part of a coalition of local leaders that welcomed Landmark Snacks, Rare Earth Salts, Duonix Biodiesel, Hybrid Turkeys and Worldlawn Power Equipment. During my city council tenure, the city also invested in playground equipment, park renovation, trail system improvements and a new fire station."


Also running for the District Four seat as a Republican is former Beatrice Mayoral Candidate, Ashley Mason. "In a time where trust in elected officials seems to wane, I pledge to uphold the Constitution without any hidden agendas for personal gain or profit. I want to say that endorsements from former or current elected officials who have failed to fulfill their campaign promises...hold little weight in this election cycle. Instead, I value the support of hundreds of individuals who share my vision for renewed, constitutional democracy here in Gage County....one that truly represents the people."


Democrat Dave Swavely is the incumbent Fourth District Supervisor….and served on the board several years ago before being appointed to the late Dennis Byars’ position on the supervisors. "I'm not a yes-man to anybody. It's important to think about what your're doing, what's in front of you. It doesn't matter whether it's left or right. I look at what the situation is and to see what the best results are for the people of Gage County."


Democrat John Hill, a former supervisor, is a retired pharmacist and farmer, running for his former Sixth District position. "My career was in pharmacy, mostly at BSDC here...and other work. I previously served eight years on the Gage County Board. We were successful in getting a road bond, during better economic times and less stress for the county."


Sixth District Incumbent Don Schuller is a farmer and retired soil conservationist and is seeking another term. "I'm not one to sit by, and wait for something else to happen or wait for somebody else to do it. If I see something that's not done and I'm not satisfied, I'll work to get it done. I'm not a quitter. I worked to get things done and do it in a compromising and teamwork method."


Two Republican District Six Candidates…..Rex Adams and Gene Reedy, were not in attendance at Tuesday night’s forum. The forum was moderated by local realtor, Krista Wiedel...with the Government Committee of the Beatrice Area Chamber.