Auditor-treasurer candidates face off at forum

Becker County auditor-treasurer candidates Darin Halvorson and Mary Hendrickson took questions from the public Tuesday night, answering why each of them was the best candidate for the position.

Becker County auditor-treasurer candidates Darin Halvorson, left, and Mary Hendrickson talked issues and qualifications for the job at a candidate forum held Tuesday night in the county courthouse. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Becker County auditor-treasurer candidates Darin Halvorson and Mary Hendrickson took questions from the public Tuesday night, answering why each of them was the best candidate for the position.

After giving their introductory statements, the candidates answered several questions surrounding voting and transparency in the office.

When asked how the candidates would make voting more accessible if elected, both explained that it is quite assessable already through No Excuse Voting, where “anyone can get an absentee ballot,” Hendrickson said.

There is regular voting on Nov. 4, absentee voting, where people can come into the court house and vote now, and mail-in voting. There is also a satellite voting location open at the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council offices.

Halvorson said people can petition their townships to do more mail-in voting if they want, and he would seek special legislation to allow online voting for citizens with special needs that don’t allow them to get around easily.


Both candidates described their working relationship with the board of commissioners as good.

“My relationship with commissioners, department heads have all been very well,” Halvorson said.

“I have an open door policy,” he added, noting that he is happy to explain any numbers, facts or budget questions that arise.

“I have become more involved in the last six months,” Hendrickson said of her relationship with the commissioners. As deputy auditor-treasure, Hendrickson resumed Ryan Tangen’s duties when he resigned earlier this year.

She described her relationship with the board as having “trust and respect. I think there is some give and take, it’s still a learning curve. Primarily, to be able to be flexible enough to stand up for what you believe in or compromise when that’s the only alternative.”

Hendrickson said that family, community and her sense of service motivate her.

“I enjoy helping people, I have always enjoyed helping people,” she said.

Halvorson said that he is self-motivated.


“I like to look at some process and how government handles it and then looking at a better way to do it,” he said. “For some reason I like to look at things that are done inefficiently and then making them better and much faster.”

The public wants transparency when it comes to any governmental entity. One of the questions asked was, how will these candidates add transparency?

“I believe that we have transparency in the process,” Hendrickson said. “Any taxpayer is able to come in ask how the tax was calculated.

“Anyone can call the office and we can explain the process. We can work through any questions of issues they have. All they need to do is contact us,” she added.

Halvorson agreed, taking one step further. The county already posts each resident’s tax forms online, he noted.

“Can we make every expenditure, every revenue that Becker County receives online? No questions, we can do that,” he said, adding that this would be something he would work toward if elected.

“If you have any questions, you can simply just check for yourself at home, or call us at the office,” he said.

In the first six months of being elected, Hendrickson and Halvorson said they would work within their budget, improve accountability and be fiscally responsible.


“No. 1 is budget,” Hendrickson said of her priorities.

“We need to keep property taxes level.”

She said that working better with economic development and creating higher paying jobs is also a priority of hers if elected, as is protecting the natural resources.

“Making sure the budget is accurate to the expenditures,” Halvorson said is his top priority.

“Enhance computer technology,” he listed as another priority.

A video of the entire forum, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce, can be found on YouTube.

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