Our Voice: Herald recommends Miller for Franklin commissioner

Franklin County has seen its share of growing pains and scandal in recent years.

The leadership at the county helm is an interesting mix of personalities – you’d be hard-pressed to find three more different dispositions than those of the county commissioners currently in office.

And that doesn’t always make for a smooth process, but that’s okay. We want leaders, not followers. And we want folks who listen to their constituents.

Commissioner Rick Miller, the incumbent who is from a family dynasty of county commissioners, is running for re-election against Melinda Didier, who comes from another long-time notable Franklin County farm family.

You may best recognize Didier because of her brother-in-law, Clint, a candidate in the 4th Congressional District and a former professional football player. From our brief interaction with Melinda Didier, she seems quite different from the other politician in the family, to her benefit.

Her platform revolves around accountability, and she has a point. Franklin County has been dogged by an embezzlement scandal that commissioners may or may not have been able to put a stop to sooner than they did.

Both Didier and Miller don’t think marijuana sales or growing operations belong in Franklin County. And they both think Juniper Dunes access is a priority, whatever it takes.

Didier is critical of the TRAC facility, which is subsidized by Franklin County and has made lots of headlines in recent months. Commissioners voted last week to approve a $50,000 external audit of the operations there. Many complain that the facility loses money, but public facilities are made that way by design and TRAC is no exception. The idea is to build facilities that become economic drivers for the rest of the community and serve public needs, not to be reaping huge profits. Or even be profitable, in many cases.

Miller stands by the vote of the people that created TRAC in the first place, and the remaining agreement for Franklin County and the City of Pasco to bear the financial burden for a few more years. He seems open to ideas to change or reinvent TRAC but definitely wants that to be a decision ultimately made by the voters, not the commissioners.

Beyond her criticism of TRAC, Didier didn’t have a lot to say. She certainly didn’t provide the kind of dynamic ideas needed to unseat Miller, a two-term commissioner.

While Miller might not be the smoothest public speaker, he does know the people of Franklin County. He listens. He is out there shaking hands and talking to people, attending events that are long-standing traditions for Franklin County residents and going out to the northern part of the county to hear what folks there have to say.

We believe Rick Miller is the best candidate for Franklin County Commissioner, District 3.