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Candidates Q&A


Fri, Oct 19th, 2012
Posted in All Government

All of the following candidates appearing on the 2012 Fillmore County ballot were presented with the opportunity to respond to two general questions.



US Representative District 1

Allen Quist

No response.

Tim Walz

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for Congress to make a difference. I believe in compromise and working together to get things done—no one party has a monopoly on good ideas. That’s why I’ve reached across the aisle to bring Republicans and Democrats together to pass the STOCK Act, reforming the way Washington works and bringing unprecedented transparency and accountability to Congress. I’ve authored and passed bipartisan bills that support our veterans and fix our crumbling roads and bridges and also voted for $2 trillion in spending cuts. Moving forward, we must work together to tackle the debt and grow our economy.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

•Growing our economy and creating good-paying, middle class jobs.

•Ensuring our veterans have the care and benefits they have earned.

•Tackling the national debt. 

State Senator District 28

Jeremy Miller

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for a second term because of my desire to continue to work together with the people in Southeastern Minnesota and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take action, get results and make a difference.

As a result, we’ve been able to accomplish several great things for Southeastern Minnesota. These accomplishments include reforming the problematic Green Acres Program, designating Southeast Minnesota as a site for a new veterans cemetery and authorizing funding for the Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program. We also increased funding for education, many rural nursing homes and direct-to-homeowner property tax relief.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My priorities are to work on policies that encourage job growth and economic development, ensuring our children are getting a world-class education in our public schools and promoting fiscal responsibility in state government. I will also continue to support veterans, senior citizens and our most vulnerable.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you, the people, in the Minnesota Senate. It’s been an absolute honor and I would truly appreciate your support on November 6th so we can continue to work together and make a difference.

Jack Krage

No response.

State Rep. District 28B

Greg Davids

Why are you running for office?

I want to continue serving the good people of Fillmore and Houston counties. It is an honor to act as their voice in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and I truly enjoy helping area residents with their problems and concerns and approving laws that improve the lives of Minnesotans.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

Most Minnesotans realize we have plenty of money to fund government, but we just need to prioritize our spending. For me, our top three priorities should be K-12 Education, nursing homes, and job creation.

Last session, we took a projected $6.2 billion deficit and created a $1.3 billion surplus in roughly one year, and every month since then Minnesota has collected more revenue than was previously projected. Despite the massive deficit reduction, we were also able to narrow the funding disparity between rural and Metro Area schools, and give our schools, and give our schools more revenue than they’ve ever received before. Rural nursing homes also saw funding increases, and state unemployment rates dropped from 7.5 percent to 5.6 percent in two years.

The “live within your means” plan is working in Minnesota’s state government, and despite constant calls to raise your taxes from my opponent, we’ve proven there is no need to do so.

Ken Tschumper

Why are you running for office?

I had the opportunity to represent Houston and Fillmore counties in the Minnesota House in 2007-2008. During those two years, we passed a $6.6 billion Transportation funding bill that resulted in tremendous improvements in local roads. We passed the “Freedom to Breathe Act” which prohibits smoking in public places. In addition I was the chief author of the Disaster Assistance bill that aided the residents of Southeastern Minnesota after the August 2007 flood. We made government work for the Middle Class. I feel I can represent this District much better than it currently is.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

I will focus on issues that are important to Middle Class Minnesotans.

My first priority is to repeal the Greg Davids Property Tax Increase! The Republican Majority raised property taxes $1.3 billion. This is hurting local government, homeowners and farmers. Instead we need to increase State funding to our cities, counties and school districts.

Second, we need to make our tax system fairer. High income Minnesotans are not paying their fair share of the tax burden. I support Gov. Dayton’s proposal to raise taxes on the highest income Minnesotans.

My third priority is to balance the budget honestly. Contrary to what they claim, Greg Davids and the Republicans balanced the budget on paper but created deficits in the lives of real people and they borrowed record amounts from our schools. We need to balance the budget for the long term, pay back our schools, fund vital services and lower the cost of college tuition.

Harmony Mayor

Jay Mensink

No response.

Dan Tieffenbacher

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Mayor of Harmony to continue to give back to the community that is such a great place to live. The past four years as a member of the city council, I have always voted for what would be the best for all concerned. If elected mayor, I promise to serve only one term and give someone else the opportunity to serve.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

First is water, sewer, and streets. We have an aging infrastructure that needs to be continually monitored and upgraded as needed. We recently completed studies on our water and streets which saw a need for a new well and our streets have been examined and surveyed to determine the order of repair. Second: Continue to work with the business community and promote the city of Harmony. Third: A commitment to try and minimize taxes paid by our businesses and homeowners.

Steven Donney

Why are you running for office?

I truly enjoy being the Mayor of Harmony and ask for your vote in seeking my third term as Harmony’s mayor. I feel our city made good progress during the past four years, even in a very difficult economy. That can always be improved on and with the rest of the council I will work towards that goal. I want to help find ways to bring more commerce, art, tourism, and hopefully some new businesses to Harmony. We have just set up the new Harmony Area Community Foundation, formed under the Southern MN Initiative Foundation (SMIF) umbrella, we will be able to fund and support many useful projects in our area.

Mostly I ask for your help. Join our new foundation, join the Chamber of Commerce all are welcome, you need not own a business to belong. Join our civic and church groups, get out and enjoy our city and our businesses. Let’s make “Living in Harmony” the best it can be.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

My 1st priority has been and will continue to be getting our property tax rates in line with similar sized communities in southeastern Minnesota. Our tax rates have been among the highest in the area. In a July 2011 special session the Legislature eliminated the homestead tax credit. That was a huge change in tax policy that sent property taxes climbing in 2012. Even with many city and county governments freezing their spending, most residents across the state saw their taxes soar upward. In Harmony we worked to cut our spending from previous years. This resulted in most residents seeing a decrease in the city portion of their tax bill if their valuations were comparable.

My 2nd priority is to find ways to keep utility rates from rising faster than inflation.

My 3rd priority is to keep up with our infrastructure needs. The council along with city employees and outside consultants, has been prioritizing road, sewer, water, and electrical transmission systems to identify needs and do planning for affordable improvements over the coming years.

Harmony City Council

Lynn Mensink

Why are you running for office?

I am running for city council because I want to become more involved. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines anymore. Harmony is a great place to live and raise a family and I would like to see that continue.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

New business--there are a few empty buildings that would be perfect for a new small business to start up. Spending taxpayer money wisely, and honestly I would like to see a new dentist in town. We were really fortunate to have Dr Sattler in town but now the nearest office is about 20 miles away. Maybe that is a little far out there but to keep Harmony going in the right direction we need a service like that.

Debbie Swenson

Why are you running for office?

I have had the honor of serving on the City Council for four years, and it has been a great learning experience. I also currently serve on the EDA Board and Zoning Board. I believe that it is important to take an active role in our local government. I am a good listener when talking to members of our community about their concerns. I feel that my past experiences on the board will serve to make me a better council member for the next four years.

What are your top priorities you will focus on if elected?

My priorities are to limit new spending, keep taxes manageable given our tough economic times, and maintain our infrastructure. Harmony is a great community; we have wonderful, caring people living here.

Preston City Council

David Harrison

No Response.

David Collett

No Response.

Fountain Council

Chad Wangen

No Response.

Dave Gudmundson

No Response.

Chatfield Mayor

Donald Hainlen

Why are you running for office?

I believe that Chatfield is an exceptional community with great opportunities for our community members, visitors and those that may consider relocating here.  We have a strong community with an excellent school system, our business community is growing and we are seeing an increased interest in businesses moving to town plus the expansion of our existing businesses.  I think that strong leadership that is collaborative at all levels is important for our continued growth.  I have enjoyed my first term and look forward to continuing those efforts to grow and improve Chatfield.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1. Continue to run a fiscally conservative but responsible budget. A responsible budget is one that addresses the need for public safety, maintenance of existing assets and provides support for community growth. 2.  Adopt a realistic plan of action to address our aging infrastructure. This specifically includes, water, sewer and street projects.  3. Continue to grow the economic corridor that emanates from The Chatfield Center for the Arts. This includes the specific programming associated at the center but also addresses the supporting businesses such as the food industry, contracted services for electrical, plumbing, carpentry etc. This is a joint effort that enhances the entire community and needs the full support of the mayor. 

John McBroom

Why are you running for office?

The reason I’m running for Mayor of Chatfield is it’s my hometown and want to help keep Chatfield a Great town to work and live in. Want to give back to a place I’ve called home for 47 years.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

My top 3 priorities are economic development; getting new businesses to locate here and to also do all we can to keep the businesses we have going forward, issues with water pressure on north end of town, and lastly the Potter Center for the Arts.

Chatfield City Council

Kenneth Jacobson

Why are you running for office?

I feel that it is important for members of the community to be involved in their local government in various ways, whether it is by serving on voluntary committees or by being elected to the community councils. This is my way of giving back to the community of Chatfield.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

I feel that the top 3 priorities can be rolled into 2 larger ones. The number one priority would be to try to increase our economic development that has been basically stagnant due to the downturn in the economy that occurred 4 or5 years ago. If the economic development can be increased then the second priority can be realized and that is the maintaining of the city of Chatfield’s’ infra-structure which includes streets, sewer and water, Chatfield center for the arts and the swimming pool; just to name the larger ones.

Robert Pederson

No Response.

Rita Charlton

Why are you running for office?

I have gotten mixed reactions when people find out I’m running for Chatfield City Council. Some congratulate me and say “That’s great,” and others say, “Why in the world would you do that?” I have thought about running for City Council for the past couple of elections but I wasn’t sure I knew what I would need to know to be on the Council. Now I know that I will have a lot to learn and in the process of learning I hope to make decisions that will benefit the residents of Chatfield.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected? 

Chatfield has a strong history and a promising future. The council has the unique opportunity and privilege to affect the future of Chatfield by the decisions they make. If elected my priority would be to learn what is involved in running a city government in order to make the choices that will benefit Chatfield’s future in a positive way. Chatfield already is a very attractive town with a lot of amenities and I would like to see Chatfield ‘not grow older but grow better’.

David Frank

Why are you running for office?

I have decided to run for office again because I feel I have done a good job for the residents of Chatfield.  I now have 4 years of experience to bring back to the council with many issues left to deal with.  I hope that with my experience and my willing to give my time to the residents of Chatfield that the residents in return will allow me to continue my time on the Council.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My top three priorities would be to help in any way to re-juvenate downtown. It is difficult for business to thrive downtown being so close to a big city like Rochester. I feel that it is important though to not have a main street where most buildings sit empty. The second priority on my list would be to work on repairing or replacing the outdated sewer system that runs through Chatfield. Most of the towns sewer lines are very old and are going to be a costly fix.  It is not something that can be ignored for much longer. The last priority for me would be to work on getting a new swimming pool for the residents of Chatfield. This is something I had mentioned four years ago, but has gone no where. The swimming pool is a vital part of this community.

Canton City Council

George Hafner

No response.

Cindy Shanks

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for the Canton City Council position. In the past years of being on the city council I feel as though I’m here to support the people and the City of Canton. When decisions need to be made I have to make sure those decisions are made in the best interest of the city and the people.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?  

Our city buildings are older and we need to keep them properly maintained to make sure they will last for years to come. With the state funding being cut for cities we as the council need to try and keep our costs down and watch our spending.

Carl Ernst

No response.

Lanesboro City Council

Ceil Allen

Why are you running for office? 

Lanesboro is a place of first for me. First time business owner. First time membership in civic organizations.  Lanesboro officially became a Chamber of Commerce and the current Director was hired while I was Chamber Board President. While Board President of the Lanesboro Art Council, a merger with the Cornucopia Art Center occurred. First time working as a waitress; building a new house; mentoring. First time representing the people. As City Council Library liaison, the current Librarian was hired and the Library underwent renovation resulting in increased use.  Lanesboro has given me much.  This is one way I can give back.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

Rolled into one - Community Sustainability. Lanesboro 20/20 - a plan encompassing Housing, Economic Development, and Land Use - defines the future Lanesboro wants.  Working collaboratively with all stakeholders - school, Chamber of Commerce, local organizations/businesses, county, and other cities - it is critical to make reasonable plans and decisions to support our 20/20 Plan with benefits that can be sustained, result in economic growth and public safety and satisfaction This encompasses my top priorities - repair our historic dam; assess possible economic and safety impact of sand mining on our town; appropriately resolve other infrastructure issues including well water. Our City Administrator works very hard and has raised a majority of the funds needed for dam repairs.  The City and Chamber developed a closer working relationship this year. The Library renovation project demonstrates how residents lend support when needed. My Community Sustainability priorities involve many. Community commitment is a requirement.  Please vote. Please vote for me.

Tom Smith

Why are you running for office?

A life-long interest in politics and government. I now have the time to be involved and wish to give the citizens of Lanesboro a voice in their local government. My prior experience in administration and working for government agencies, along with being a Lanesboro homeowner for 36 years and former business owner gives me the experience needed to represent all groups of Lanesboro citizens.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

My first and foremost concern is to control spending in an attempt to keep property taxes from rising. Some projects may have to be delayed for a time to prevent overloading our financial status. The second is to promote economic development in an attempt to develop, improve, and attract business and homeowners. Enlarge the tax base of our city which in turn will hopefully keep taxes from rising. Third is the maintain our infrastructure, such as streets, utilities, parks, in order to attract businesses and encourage people to locate to Lanesboro. Continue to promote Lanesboro as a place to visit, live and educate their children in our excellent school system.

Thomas Dybing

Why are you running for office?

The older I get the more I appreciate growing up and living in Lanesboro. I always felt if one has the chance to serve, you embrace the opportunity. I enjoyed serving on the Lanesboro City Council for two terms and would welcome to serve another term, if elected. My position as County Assessor for Houston County provides insight to the property tax system.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

Priority 1: we need to continue to repair, replace, and improve infrastructure on a scheduled basis. Specifically we need to look at our residential streets in need of repair for the near future and a follow up with improvements to our sewer plant and water system.

Priority 2 would be to look at getting businesses to occupy the vacant lots and the vacant grocery store in Lanesboro. Ideally the businesses would provide employment that draws families into Lanesboro. Lanesboro is a great place to live and raise families and would also be an excellent setting for home-based businesses.

Priority 3 would be continuing to explore for more grant money to repair the dam. An excellent job of procuring grants has taken place so far, because we need to keep the cost to taxpayers in Lanesboro at a minimum.

Mabel Mayor

Melissa Folstad

Why are you running for office?

As the incumbent, I am running because I have a vested interest in the City of Mabel.  Many things have happened in the two years I have been in office and I would like to see them through. I believe people have come around to the change that took place when I became Mayor. Born and raised here, I know we have a great community and am so grateful to have been part of in a leadership position for the last two years. I am looking forward to another two years of serving the City of Mabel.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

The main concern for everyone right now is the grocery store.  I would like to see plans and ideas put into motion. There is an awesome group working on it now and it’s moving along.  Another would be to ensure that families keep coming to town. Recently, young families have moved into town, which in turn also helps our school district. And finally, I am hoping to continue to get our community to come together and work together to make things as good as they can get.  There aren’t just a few people that can do it all; it takes everyone working together to make it happen.   

Brian Street

No response.

Mabel City Council

Jeff Rein

Why are you running for office?

I am running for city council of Mabel to help make the community stronger.  My wife and I made the decision to raise our 2 children in Mabel and I want to raise them in a town that is prospering. I feel that we need strong voices on the council to speak up to encourage growth, as well as listen to the people of the community and make wise decisions on behalf of the community.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

Since I moved to Mabel I have seen a few businesses shut down. If elected, one priority will be to speak up to help these small town businesses out any way possible. Another priority would be to encourage growth in our community. I also believe that Mabel has a lot to offer and that we need to come together as a community and take advantage of what we do have, and build off of that.  

Carl Westby

Why are you running for office?

I have been a life long resident of Mabel and am currently on the Mabel Fire Department and Mabel Ambulance. I have always been a hard worker and like to help get things done. I would like to do as much as I can to help this town move in the right direction. Mabel is such a wonderful community with a good school system and I would like to see Mabel continue to grow so our children, and their children have a great town to grow up in.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My top 3 reasons are for running for city council (1) to keep taxes down (2) to promote and bring new businesses to our community and (3) to work closer with Mabel Business Association and other organizations to help promote Mabel.

Davey Peterson

Why are you running for office?

Why I am running for office is because this town needs to change its way of doing things. What I mean is a change for the future and try to get people to come to this town and in thinking of the people so they will have a better future here. So this town eeds to grow and not to decline in people and businesses.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you are elected?

1. I want to try to get some small business back in this town. 2. I want to see what is out there for factory jobs to bring in this town area. 3. The other thing I want to try to do is give the kids a place to come after school like having pizzas, hamburgers, even after games, may try to have dances and other things like have games for them to play like arcade games.

Darrell Peterson

No response.

Laura St. Mary

No response.

Kirsten Wyffels

Why are you running for office?

I want to continue to work together to promote Mabel as a great community to live in and a safe and nurturing place to raise a family. We need to strive to keep a positive focus on our small community to promote growth and vitality especially for our schools and local businesses. Currently I am working on the grocery store committee in effort to reopen a grocery store downtown. This would continue to be my #1 priority. It is crucial that we continue to support local businesses and organizations for the quality of life of our community.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1. Revitalizing of our downtown and supporting local businesses including partnering with the EDA and our grocery store committee to reopen a grocery store downtown Mabel and to work to support our established businesses. Shop Local!

2. Continuing to provide quality services to our residents within our budget

yet we need to continue to think creatively to identify new revenue sources

3. Engaging citizens to work together to strengthen the pride in our community. We need to continue to make Mabel a great place to live!

Wykoff Mayor

Lyman Hare

Why are you running for office?

I have been in small government for 22 years, 8 on Wykoff City Council (1979-1986), and Chatfield School Board 14 years. I have been member of, and held offices with Jaycees, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs and Church boards, and enjoy working with the public. My wife LuAnn (Christopherson) Hare and I graduated from Wykoff, now Kingsland, and have moved back to Wykoff to make it our home. Wykoff is waiting to grow, as are many small towns, and I hope to be a part of the new ideas to make it happen.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you are elected?

1. Make sure the Mayor and council follow the progress and completion of the new sewer plant and to be within bid specs and approved budget for it. 2. Keep communications lines open between the City of Wykoff and Kingsland School District. 3. Listen to concerns and suggestions that might improve the City.

Tim Grabau

No response.

Wykoff City Council

Gerald Lee Jacobson

Why are you running for office?

I am retired, 71 years old, and made my living in Wykoff. I have lived in the same home for 46 years and feel I am qualified to run for City Council. I have worked 50 plus years in town and was on the Wykoff Fire Department for 37 years. I feel it is time to give something back to the community and city. I am also a member of the Wykoff Historical Society.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

People’s service for city sewer plant operator, water utility bills, and a garbage contract.

Megan Larson

No response.

Mitchell Grabau

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office of Wykoff City Council because I believe this is the best way I can serve the city. I have been a citizen for most of me life and want to make this a better community a better place to live for my family, friends, and neighbors.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

After helping set up and serving on Wykoff’s planning and zoning committee for the last few years, serving as a chairperson the following year, I see items that need to addressed. One: Infrastructure; we have some streets that are in horrible shape, and we need to continue getting the sewer treatment facility completed. Two: We need a stronger law enforcement presence in the community, maybe going the way of Fountain and Ostrander and having or sharing an officer. Three: Get more businesses into Wykoff, our town is slowly becoming a ghost town. We need to encourage businesses to start and stay in Wykoff. I look forward to working on the City Council and appreciate peoples vote on November 6.

Peterson City Council

Dick Lee

No response.

David Lee Colbenson

No response.

Barry Erickson

No response.

Ostrander City Council

John Schraeder

No response.

Vernon Thompson

No response.

Heidi Bly Jones

Why are you running for office?

I’m running for my family and yours. My goal is to establish a better relationship between the public and the City Council. I want to increase the methods used to inform the community of issues, concerns and opportunities in Ostrander as well as increase community involvement.

I have been a resident in the City of Ostrander for almost 7 years and I feel that its high time I put my thoughts to good use in regards to the community. I have many friends, my parents and other relatives that live in Ostrander. I was raised with the belief that families and friends look out for each others best interests. I want to contribute that same attitude toward the entire community. 

I am confident that with my experience and backgroud including customer service, leadership and problem solving, I can assist the council in making secure and meaningful improvements for the City of Ostrander.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

We need to involve the younger generations in order to keep the idealism of the neighborly and family orientated community we have. I want to create an inexpensive and successful marketing strategy to bring new families, businesses and activities to our community, so we may continue to grow setting new goals and aspirations for the future. I also look forward to the opportunity to treat the taxpayer’s dollar with as much caution and consideration to spend it as wisely I would my own for investments within our city.

I’m very passionate about family. I want to encourage the public to get involved and offer their input on changes and opportunities they would like to see within Ostrander that will benefit our families and businesses together.

Erin Brugh

Why are you running for office?

I wanted to have a voice in the decisions that were being made in the City of Ostrander.  I have been attending City Council meeting for the last five or six months now and I have many ideas about what is being discussed and would like to have a chance to remedy the situations that arise.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

I would like to promote the City of Ostrander, bring the town back to being a landmark that everyone comes to. With UUFDA days starting back up this year I think we could have more events throughout the year to make the town more intriguing. I also have heard mention about getting a bike trail through Ostrander. I think this would be a great amenity that Ostrander could have not only to bring outsiders in as an attraction but also for the residence that live in the town. I always see people from all ages out and about. It would be nice to have a safe place for everyone to walk, run, or bike. There is also the issue of the towns water system. The council has already started taking steps in trying to figure out the problem but I would like to be a part of finishing it. 

Spring Valley City Council

Jeff Vehrenkamp

No response.

Bill Bires

No response.

Whalan City Council

David Rahn

No response.

Margaret Chiglo

No response.

Johnny Halverson

No response.

Fillmore Central School Board

Deb Ristau

Why are you running for office?

I have had the privilege of serving the Fillmore Central District as a board member for the past nine years. I am seeking another term because I feel that I have the qualifications and experience necessary to serve our district.

My husband Doug and I have been married for twenty four years; we have three children; Kelsey, attending Winona State University, Katie a sophomore at South Dakota State University, and Brady a 7th grader, at Fillmore Central. We live on a farm five miles south of Preston.

Being a member of a school board is a challenging job that requires many hours of preparation to gain the knowledge that you need to make the decisions that will affect our communities and students for years to come.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My top priority is providing the highest quality education that we can for the students of the Fillmore Central School District. We need to prepare them for their future whether that would be going onto higher education, military or straight into the working force. Along with that come decisions on technology, aging facilities, fuel costs, health care costs, staff development and government changes to list a few. The need to make important and difficult decisions will continue. That is why we must make policy decisions wisely, develop a vision for our district for the future and collaborate with all of our community members to achieve our goals.

Jim Love

Why are you running for office?

I am running for school board reelection because I want to continue to serve Fillmore Central School’s students, faculty, and community. It has been a very rewarding experience and I am looking forward to being a part of Fillmore Central’s bright future.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My top three priorities:

1. Continue to add technology into our school

2. Focus on student achievement by providing a high quality education

3. Maintaining a fiscally responsible school district

Ross Kiehne

Why are you running for office?

I have enjoyed my time on the board the past 4 years and wanted to run again to continue to support the school and its faculty as we all continue to evolve. The school and education in general continue to face challenges and I want to be a part of dealing with them head on and be part of the solution. I feel that the most vital issue our young people face is a good education and I want to make sure I am a part of supporting it.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

The priorities have changed a bit in the last four years and the following are what I want to continue to focus on:

1. Fillmore Central has a very strong curriculum and I want to make sure it stays that way. I think a focus on the basics while making sure to support the fine arts, extra-curricular activities and great class choices is a must.

2. The results need to continue to improve. I like the direction the district is heading but know there is some more hard work needed to make sure that student learning and test scores don’t plateau out but actually continue to rise

3. The district has started to move forward on technology and I would like to see this commitment increase. I see technology as the basis for future learning and work and need the Fillmore Central school to lead this for the students.

Emily Ellis

Why are you running for office?

I am deeply committed to our community. I am a Fillmore Central graduate with two children in 1st and 5th grade at Fillmore Central. The community has been such an important part of my family’s life and that is why it is important for me to carry on living on my family farm and be part of the community that has inspired me. Over the past 10 years I have served on many boards, fundraised, volunteered in our communities, served as Cub Scout Committee Chair, Den Leader, and Treasurer. Serving on the school board will allow me to further give back to our community and ensure a strong future for our children and the community as a whole.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

The three priorities I will focus on will be our students/families/parents, our community, and the teaching standards/teachers. Our students, families and parents are an integral part of our school. Creating the best school for them and working with the families will encourage a great learning environment for all. Our communities of Preston, Fountain, Harmony and rural areas, are large stakeholders in our school. Keeping the school as a part of each community is vitally important for the growth for each community, and is directly connected to the quality of life in our district. We have great, dedicated teachers who are some of the best around; they need our support in continuing to strive for excellence. Moving forward, we must guarantee that teachers and teaching standards are held at this high level. We must make sure that our students leave Fillmore Central with the knowledge they need to enter the workforce or continuing education.

Rushford-Peterson School Board

Valarie Howe

Why are you running for office?

I want to be involved with my children education. Learn how the school operates were they get their funding and how the funding is spent.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you are elected?

Expanding school curriculum to prepare our students for college, updating technology, improving special education services and to build or not to build a new school.

Len Strapp

Why are you running for office?

I have been impressed with the whole district from top to bottom for many years now. I have spent a quite a bit of time in the audience or in the stands for various school events and have been amazed at what I have seen. I am looking to offer my support to keep the strong programs and traditions going for years to come.  I believe I have many skills that the District can use and I am looking to make a contribution as a member of the School Board. It is time for me to get out of the stands and become an active member of the District.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

The future is what concerns me. I believe the faculty and administration have done a great job with educating our children and the standardized test scores show that. My concern is in regards to ensuring the proper materials and tools are there (in the school) to provide a top notch education in the 21st century. Equally important is retaining and attracting great educators. Lastly, depending on the results of the New School referendum vote, implementing the public’s decision. Either proceed with a construction plan or try to prioritize the rehabilitation of the existing facilities.

Taylor Peterson

Why are you running for office?

To make sure the administration is held accountable to the taxpayers of the district.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

Transparency, making sure the taxpayers know how their money is being spent, what their dollars are being spent on, and for what reason.

Accountability, making sure that not only the administration, but also the school board, is held accountable for their decisions and their actions.

To make sure that we have the best school around. Not in terms of who has the nicest buildings, but the best teachers, students and academic programs

John Linder

Why are you running for office?

I have had an interest in the administration and education offered by the Rushford-Peterson School district for some time. I now have the opportunity to help the district at a crucial point in its history. Decisions need to be made about the current facilities and the vision our community sees for the future of our children. My background includes contracting, facilities management, negotiations with unions, implementing budgets and supervision of a large staff. I would like to utilize this experience to help the R-P community in the education of our children.

What are your top three priorities youl will focus on if elected?

1. I would like feedback and input from the community on their vision of the R-P district and how it should look into the future. 2. Continue and improve the quality education our children are currently receiving. The district is doing well, as evidenced by the state testing scores. We have a great staff, parents and students that are dedicated to a quality education. We cannot rest on past performance and need to continue to strive for continuing improvement. 3.The most crucial immediate concern is the condition of the district facilities. The significant portions of the buildings are over 50 to 100 years old. Repairs and maintenance are costly. New construction is an option that must be considered. Bonding cost is at historical lows. We as a community need to look at the options with view to a long-term investment in our children’s future. Without a plan and a vision the decisions will be even more difficult in the future.

Julie Koop

Why are you running for office?

I’ve always felt that I am an advocate for my kids. But as they are now getting older, I realize I can be a better voice for my kids and the kids in this community by running for school board. I believe the community has a responsibility to also ensure our children have a quality environment for their learning. How I can help be a voice is by running for school board.

What are the top three priorities you would focus on if you are elected?

1. I want to be a voice for our youth. 2. I feel our community needs a new school facility, and I would work towards that goal. 3. I would like to ensure that R-P maintains its current status of quality teaching and staffing.

LeRoy Ostrander School Board

Tim Lewison

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I want to be involved with the school. I have three children, two are now in school, and I have a lot of pride for the school. I want to make sure that all the kids are getting the best education because they are our future. Our administration is doing a great job and I want to help with making decisions any way I can.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1.  I want to make sure that the kids are able to stay current with the ways of technology. Things have changed so much in the last 15 years that kids need to know how to use technology in good ways to make themselves a great asset for any job. 2. I want to help the school become more efficient so that in the future if funds become limited the school knows it isn’t wasting money on some of the everyday expenses. 3.  I want to help keep the current positive status of the school’s finances and help make decisions with some of the schools future projects for the property.

Mike Norby

No response.

Amos Huntley

No response.

Gladys Kasel

Why are you running for office?

I want our kids to get the best education possible. I want to have a say in what happens in our school.

What are your top three priorities that you will focus on if you are elected?

Bullying, technology and reading.

Chris Allen Eastvold

Why are you running for office?

To help control taxes.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

The future in the pool, controlling spending, managing budget.

Mabel-Canton School Board

Jacob Hershberger

No response.

Dustin Tollefsrud

Why are you running for office?

Because I would like to see an improvement in our school system during the difficult times that we are experience with enrollment numbers and with athletics program. We also need to work with the community and other key stakeholder to help generate business in the area, which would generate families to come visit and potential live in the community. Also work and create new resources a new curriculum for the district, which may lead to exploring new technology that is out. I feel that we can overcome the obstacles that we face today and make Mabel-Canton a better school district then what it is today.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

My top three priorities are: 1. Increase enrollment numbers but still keep the small class sizes that we enjoy today, 2. Explore new opportunities with technology, curriculum and others but yet keep the budget stable if possible, 3. Look at different ways on how the district can help the community be stronger and bring new development to the area and that be non-profit organizers, new business and etc. but is not limited.

Mary Kuhn

Why are you running for office?

I have been on the school board for 12 years. I have enjoyed working with the board in making decisions that I think are good for the school district, particularly for the kids. I know there are many challenges ahead but I have the desire to keep fighting for a great education in this small school district.  I have two boys in school and I want to help make decisions to ensure every child in our district gets a great education.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

We will be looking for a superintendent and a business manager. Because these are very important jobs, filling these two positions will be a big task to start off 2013. I believe the only reason anyone should run for the school board is to help improve and keep a good education for the kids, it’s all about the kids!

Jane Hall

Why are you running for office?

I am running because I have a genuine interest in the Mabel-Canton School District. I want to see Mabel Canton continue to be a place of quality education.

What are you top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

I can’t say that I have three top priorities but the education our students and the opportunities we can offer them will always be on the top of the list. Hiring a superintendent will also be an important priority we will be dealing with. As a small school district we face many obstacles it is important that we keep moving forward and stay strong in our class offerings to students. I will continue to support our staff and help bring more technology to our students and classrooms.

I would like  to say THANK YOU to our communities of Mabel and Canton for the support you show our school district.

Mark Weidemann

Why are you running for office?

I am running for Mabel-Canton School board to become more involved in our community and to help in anyway I can to make sure that the school will be here for many years to come. Having two young boys it would be an honor to be part of their educational progress.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

If elected, my priorities would be to make sure that all the children/students in this district are treated fairly and that they receive the best education possible. Another priority would be to help ensure our teachers receive the needed resources and support to continue to provide high levels of instruction. And finally, to help make sure that our district maintains a healthy financial outlook.

Lanesboro School Board

Sarah Decker

Why are you running for office?

I am running for a position on the school board because I believe I can continue to be an asset to the Lanesboro School district. In the past four years I have worked with fellow school board members and the administration to build upon successful policies for educating our students, and on new initiatives to improve our school. I have three kids at Lanesboro School (4th, 8th, 11th grades), and my family has also benefited from Lanesboro Childcare Center, pre-school, and ECFE. I have a B.A. from Northwestern University, and work in programming and marketing in arts administration.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1) Math and science: continue to support administration for classes of low student-teacher ratio, maximizing opportunities for challenging coursework and learning, and preparing students for post-secondary education. 2) Nutrition / health education: continue to support staff on progress made toward new USDA guidelines, and set goals for healthier meals with more fresh fruits and vegetables, on-site preparation, and less processed foods, providing optimum nutritional benefit – and therefore best brain power – for students. 3) Curriculum: support teachers in continuing education, and on the ongoing improvement and development of curriculum to best challenge and prepare students, teaching them to learn and think, and readying them for lifelong contributions to society. Encouraging the use of technology in the classroom will also benefit the students, as we learned this evening (Oct. 16) at the school board meeting during Mr. Cullen’s demonstration of new technology use in his geometry class.

Terri Scott

Why are you running for office?

I bring no particular agenda with my candidacy. I believe it is important to have an open door policy that invites communication from students, parents and faculty. I will work for the best interest of the school district and make well informed decisions based on facts, keep an open mind and be a positive representative of the school district. I have lived with my husband and our three children for more than 18 years in Lanesboro; two of our children are currently attending school here and I want the best for their future.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1. Budget - Public Schools continue to face budget cutbacks on a yearly basis. We need to keep an open mind and work together to come up with ideas and solutions to maintain a balanced budget despite the state cuts.

2. Increasing Class Sizes - As a school district and community we need to work together to create and sustain unique and creative programs for all children at all levels of learning in order for the Lanesboro School District to attract growth in open enrollment as well as keeping our current student population.

3. Technology - Lanesboro is a leader in technology with the high school students receiving their own laptop computers this year. I am interested in expanding the use of these laptops in the high school curriculum and at some point expanding them into the lower grades as well. My daughter’s opportunity to use a lap top through the school has enhanced her learning and I think it is a program worth pursuing.

David Lawstuen

Why are you running for office?

I’m interested in remaining on the school board and have outlined my priorities below. Together with my wife Deb, children Kirstin and Kyle we own and operate our 115 year century family farm in Lanesboro. We raise Black Angus cattle. I’m Chair of Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar and on the Agriculture Sciences faculty at Northeast Iowa Community College for 17 years. I have a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Minnesota in Genetics with a minor in Statistics. I was the 2011 Iowa Professor of the Year. Kirstin is a senior, Kyle a sophomore at Lanesboro.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

First, it is vital for students and community to remain an Independent School District. The benefit of having pre-school through 12th grade in the same building with small class sizes is evident from open enrollment. I recall the satisfaction of older students knowing Kirstin and Kyle by name. The board will invest to maintain a school in Lanesboro. Second, academic rigor, particularly in Math and Science is critical. A similar accelerated curriculum should be developed for science that we currently have for math, starting algebra in eighth grade and cumulating in 12th with calculus. The high standards established in the senior composition class for college credit should be expanded to other disciplines. Lastly, Lanesboro is financially sound and needs to maintain their reserve. The continued offering of college credit, preschool transportation, ACT preparation classes, industrial/ fine arts, FFA judging contests and sports with no fees needs to be maintained.

Kingsland School Board

Kristin Beck

Why are you running for office?

I have decided to file for a 2nd term on the Kingsland School Board because it is a very exciting time to be a part of Kingsland. With some of our new programs such as Project Lead the Way and College in the Schools as well as the implementation of Ipads and Netbooks, it is a very exciting time for the students, parents, staff and communities of Kingsland.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if elected?

I have only one priority in filing for a 2nd term on the Kingsland School Board and that is the education of our students and helping to ensure they get the education they need to have a successful future.

Gwen Howard

Why are you running for office?

I bring no particular agenda with my candidacy. I believe it is important to have an open door policy that invites communication from students, parents and faculty. I will work for the best interest of the school district and make well informed decisions based on facts, keep an open mind and be a positive representative of the school district. I have lived with my husband and our three children for more than 18 years in Lanesboro; two of our children are currently attending school here and I want the best for their future.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

1. Budget - Public Schools continue to face budget cutbacks on a yearly basis. We need to keep an open mind and work together to come up with ideas and solutions to maintain a balanced budget despite the state cuts.

2. Increasing Class Sizes - As a school district and community we need to work together to create and sustain unique and creative programs for all children at all levels of learning in order for the Lanesboro School District to attract growth in open enrollment as well as keeping our current student population.

3. Technology - Lanesboro is a leader in technology with the high school students receiving their own laptop computers this year. I am interested in expanding the use of these laptops in the high school curriculum and at some point expanding them into the lower grades as well. My daughter’s opportunity to use a lap top through the school has enhanced her learning and I think it is a program worth pursuing.

Christine Troendle

Why are you running for office?

I am a graduate of Lanesboro High School, and feel I was well prepared for my subsequent education at the University of Minnesota. Life brought me back to Lanesboro and, currently, my three children attend every level of the school- elementary, junior high, and senior high. hrough many levels of involvement- ECFE, Math Wizards, 4-H, and Sunday School to name a few- enhancing the development of the children of our community has become very important to me. School board appears to be a natural step of increased participation to help guide the systems that grow our children.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

#1 - Communication. I recently saw a business goal stated as “Communication is Leadership.” I like that. I have seen that when communication is strong, things thrive. This means administration to staff, school to parents, teachers to students, and vice versa.

#2 - Accountability. I am interested to learn more about the responsibilities of every level, and then working to ensure that these responsibilities are being carried out. Review of accountability structures is needed to ensure that the things that need to be done are actually being done.

#3- Excellence. I believe in working to a standard of excellence. “Getting by” isn’t good enough. Excellence should be the goal of students, staff, and administration. Keeping up with the world and our society is a continual process. There is no place to rest when excellence is the goal, especially when the work is so important.

Sarah Pieper

Why are you running for office?

I have lived in Lanesboro for 19 years and have three children that attend the Lanesboro School. This year my oldest is attending high school. I was the director of the Lanesboro Daycare for four years working right in the school; this gave me the opportunity to get to know many staff and see how the school runs from an inside perspective. As a parent and business member in our community, I want to be involved in helping our school district continue to maintain the high standards we have set and improve in any areas we see a need.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

I don’t have specific priorities that I plan to focus on; I would deal with issues as they arise during my term as a school board member. I would get involved in committees to review any issues that we feel need improvement. I would be accessible to all families to help resolve any issues that were brought to me or to the board. If I had to list any personal priorities, I would like to see our school continue to grow in technology resources, to have our bullying policy and Second Step Training reviewed to see if it is an effective tool, and to assess our college prep options for high school students to make sure they have the opportunities available to prepare them for secondary education after they graduate.

Chatfield School Board

Gregory LaPlante

No response.

Jerry Chase

No response.

F. Mike Tuohy

Why are you running for office?

I have enjoyed my first four years on the Chatfield School Board. I feel it is my duty as a member or our community to serve on a board where I can help our community be a better place to raise our children. It is most important to give back, later in life, what was given to me as a student in school.

What are the top three priorities’ you will focus on if you get elected?

(1) Our main goal is to give our children every opportunity to gain the necessary knowledge to compete in a world they will be approaching in the work force of our country. (2) To accomplish this we must continue the cooperation, involvement and passion of our teachers and parents to assure our children attain the highest goal each of them have potential to attain in their lives. (3) We must to continue to accept change, working for the future. Our children will be responsible for a world we have no idea what it holds. They must have good economic, math, language and social skills to succeed in their adult lives.

County Commissioner

District 1

Thomas Kaase

Why are you running for office?

I first ran for Fillmore County Commissioner of the 1st District in hopes of having a positive impact on the community I live in and grew up in. I am seeking re-election because I believe I have been successful in having this positive impact. My background and experience in public safety (former Fillmore County deputy and current Rochester Police Lieutenant), agriculture (actively farming), and commercial business allows me to be well versed in the challenges that face our county. I have been very fortunate to have been part of a successful team, our county board, that has met the challenges we have faced in the last four years. With the many challenges that our county will face in the future, I believe I can continue to be an effective commissioner and help lead our county into a positive future.

What are your top three priorities you will focus on if you get elected?

#1, The proposed Veteran’s Cemetery. This cemetery allows our Veterans the opportunity to have their final resting place, here at home, in Fillmore County. This cemetery also brings jobs, permanent jobs, to our county. To be part of a team of commissioners that along with the help of our Veterans, community members and businesses, and other government officials that will make this a reality, will be a highlight in my service to Fillmore County.

#2, Redesign. Through the redesign of Community Services (Social Services, Public Health, Veterans Office) and Emergency Services we have reduced costs to our county. Our board is contantly assessing how we provide services in the most cost effective manner.

#3, Radio System (ARMER). The route we have taken in migration to this radio system has been very cost effective. This migration will enhance our public safety capabilities. Original cost estimates were in excess of 2 million dollars, but due to questions asked and raised by the commissioners and our sheriff, our investment now looks in the $500-600,000 range.

County Commissioner

District 3

Chuck Amunrud

No response.

County Commissioner

District 5

Marc Prestby

No response.

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