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Candidates seek District III County seats: Braunbeck wants to serve
April 10, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Cheryl Braunbeck

Cheryl Braunbeck of Gering is challenging incumbent Sherry Blaha on the Republican ticket to represent District III on the Scotts Bluff County Board of Commissioners.

The race will appear on the May 13 primary ballot. Because no Democrats filed, the winner will appear unopposed on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Although she was born in Omaha, Braunbeck was raised on a farm south of Gering. Other than living in other areas for about 10 years, she always returned to the valley. She describes herself as “semi-retired,” but helps out at H&R Block during tax season. She also plans to spend about three months helping Simplot deliver fertilizer spreaders.

Braunbeck has served on the City of Scottsbluff Planning Commission, which she chaired for about seven years. She also served on the Scotts Bluff County Planning Commission for about five years, including some time as chair.

Braunbeck said she’s been politically active in the past, serving as treasurer when Glenn Camerer first ran for county judge.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the county,” she said. “They have some big concerns about what’s been going on over the past few years. So I thought that maybe it was time for me to get involved.”

She said those concerns include the amount of money that’s been spent on the new county detention facility. “I think the county spent more money than was wise on that facility, and the expenditures are ongoing. And there are also concerns about the money they want to spend to renovate the old county jail. I’ve heard those concerns consistently.”

Another common concern she hears is about the county’s roads. “It’s an easy thing to complain about because we have so many miles of roads,” she said. “I know it’s extremely difficult to maintain them all.”

Braunbeck said she doesn’t know what’s in the county board’s long-range plan, but wants to get involved where she can.

“My basic concern is that we need to take care of what we have,” she said. “We need to maintain it and take very good care of it. And we don’t need to spend any more for anything else.”

She said the county needs to make some changes because its current levy is 49.9 cents of the 50 cents allowed by the state.

“I’ve lived within a budget all my life and worked two jobs to maintain my family. Even the county needs to live within its means,” she said. “It will be easier to move forward once that’s established.

Other commissioners have said the real problem with the county’s budget lies with state-imposed mandates, not with expenditures at the detention facility.

“I think state mandates are part of the issue,” Braunbeck said, “but that’s not all of it. We can blame others, but need to learn to live within our means.”

She added she’s have the opportunity to live in numerous areas, but always wanted to come back to the valley. “When you hit the Wildcat Hills, it’s home.”
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