Stepping into his new role as Pondera County Commissioner is like donning another of his many hats for Zane Drishinski. Born and raised in Pondera County, he views this opportunity as, “a way to give back to the community that has given me such a wonderful life.”

Zane and his wife, Casey, farm and ranch on the same place where he grew up. In addition to farming, they are busy raising their two young children — Stevi (3) and Jimmy (1½). Zane also has two grown children — Drew, who works for FedEx in Pennsylvania, and Gabby, who is a VoAg teacher in Grass Range, Mont.

“I think I have a unique combination of skills and traits that will help me make a positive impact on the county,” says Commissioner Dishinski, who has 25 years of experience as a professional auctioneer and 15 years as a rodeo clown. His spare time interests include hunting, fishing, and riding in the backcountry.

When asked how he plans to juggle his new duties as commissioner with other pursuits and his family life, Commissioner Drishinski’s response was candid.

“Balancing all of life’s demands is always a work in progress but it seems like there is always time for things that are really important. I am also blessed with a very capable wife and good friends who are willing to lend a hand when needed.”

“The commissioners make a ton of decisions, big and small,” he continued. “Some decisions are pretty mundane, but others will impact our communities for years to come. My biggest goal going into this job is to take that responsibility seriously and to not be afraid of addressing things head-on. If something needs to be fixed or changed or done differently, I hope to make that happen and not be afraid to make tough choices.”

Commissioner Drishinski sees the current economic climate as the biggest challenge he faces, “Inflation, no question. Rising costs impact everyone, including local governments. Higher prices are already affecting the county’s ability to provide services to our citizens. For example, the boiler in the County Courthouse is overdue to be replaced. Approximately two years ago, the estimate was roughly $450,000 – today the cost is nearly three times that.”

His outlook, however, remains positive.

“Absolutely the best things about rural Montana, and Pondera County is no exception, are the people and our agricultural lifestyle. It’s a great place to make an honest living and raise a family. People are so willing to help each other out and be good neighbors.”

Perhaps the new commissioner is an optimist by nature, “Don’t all farmers have a positive outlook in the spring?” he asks. “But in all seriousness, I think Pondera County is a great place to live and will continue to be for a long time. We aren’t without our challenges, but we have so many dedicated people and organizations working diligently to make our towns fun, safe, and welcoming places to call home – I have to be hopeful.”

Fun, safe, and welcoming. That’s a pretty good base on which to build. Welcome aboard, Commissioner Drishinski, and best of luck with all those hats.

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