When discussing the countys budgetary priorities, Allen County Commissioner John Brocker is fond of pulling out his wallet. This is the way I look at it, Brocker said, holding his calfskin prop aloft at a recent town hall meeting, you pull out your billfold [as a commissioner] and you say, Would I spend that money in my everyday life or wouldnt I spend that money? …Youve got to analyze what youre getting for what youve given, and thats how I make my decisions as county commissioner.
Nearly 10 people gathered under the roof of the Iola Community Theater earlier this week for a forum with Brocker in advance of the Aug. 7 primary, which pits the incumbent Brocker against Iolan Bruce Symes for the Republican nomination in the countys District 3 commission seat. Brocker was appointed to the seat by Republican precinct members in March after the resignation of former commissioner Jim Talkington. Talkington was one of those in attendance at Tuesdays town hall. The winner of the August primary will face Democratic candidate Steven Henderson in the November election.
TUESDAYS forum was an affable, digressive conversation among like-minded voters, a lazy river of chat that wound round subjects as various as county roads (We need to get the roads back up, said Brocker.), the state of the local hospital (We need to turn its image around.), the merits of county-generated economic development assistance, property taxes (I own a lot of property in Allen County and I pay a lot of property tax, so Im concerned that the taxpayer gets his money.), the job satisfaction of county employees (Brocker wants to generate a survey to test just that), and, lastly, the future jobs picture in Allen County given the regions dwindling population.