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Seven candidates vie for Wright County Commissioner
AUG. 6, 2012

Eight people have filed for the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 14 for the Wright County commissioner position; Vickie Nibbe, Larry Bartels, Tom LaPlant, Charlie Borrell, Leonard Wozniak, Dan Vick, Richard Mattson, and Paul Schoborg. The two finalists will go on to the general election in November.

Vickie Nibbe, Howard Lake

Why are you running for Wright County commissioner?

I have always wanted to go into public service. I have a sincere desire to meet and help people. I want to be their voice in county government. The Wright County website has a slogan in the top left corner that says “Government At Your Service.” My desire is to keep the focus of Wright County government on serving the people. I know that the people of Wright County would be better served by a government that empowers them to solve their own problems, rather than by a government that constantly adds more departments to try and solve problems that should be left to the people.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 5, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

The biggest issue facing Wright County is the instability of the American economy. With the current economic climate, it will become difficult for the county to maintain its level of services without raising property taxes. Increasing property taxes is not acceptable, especially with decreasing home values. Residents’ hard-earned tax dollars must be spent wisely. Government business must be conducted more efficiently; wasteful spending must be eliminated. A complete analysis of county jobs and responsibilities will have to be made, and innovative solutions to budget problems will have to be found. It will be necessary to work closely with municipal and township governments to identify and eliminate duplicate programs. It will also be necessary to aggressively lobby state legislators to change laws that mandate services which restrict the use of county funds.

Another issue facing Wright County, particularly in District 5 is the rapid and unbalanced population growth. Between the years of 2000 and 2010, Wright County was the second-fastest-growing county in the state with a growth rate of 38.6 precent. Most of the growth came from the eastern part of the county, with the city of Otsego growing over 100 percent during the same time period. The county will need to provide infrastructure to meet the needs of the rapidly growing areas, yet at the same time be conscious of preserving the county’s agricultural environment and residential quality of life. The needs of District 5 residents must not be overlooked.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

I am a conservative who uses a common sense approach to solving problems. I am also a fast learner. I will use my experiences as an engineer and educator to discover innovative and fresh ideas that will make Wright County an example for other counties to follow. I will work to resolve the tough problems that challenge us, and not leave them for future generations.

Larry Bartels, Delano

Why are you running for Wright County commissioner?

I can give the citizens of the newly formed District 5, and all of the citizens of Wright County, whom I would be honored to represent for the next four years, about 100 million reasons why I believe I should be one of the five county commissioners.

The annual budget for Wright County is around $100 million dollars, a huge amount of taxpayers’ money that comes from the pockets of you and me. I have developed the analytical and management skills throughout my life in private business and elected office which I believe make me uniquely qualified among all of the candidates in this election to find the most cost-effective ways to control spending at the county level.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 4, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

There really is only one overriding concern for any governmental unit now and into the immediate future. That concern; providing essential services with stagnant or declining revenues due to the recession and other economic factors. We taxpayers simply don’t have the money to give anymore. As your commissioner, I will meet with all department heads and key personnel to discuss ways we can do our jobs more efficiently, and find areas where we could cut back, combine operations within departments, or even eliminate duplicate or no longer affordable services the county is now performing. Until revenues recover, very tough and difficult decisions must be made by the county board. I have had 25 years of supervisory experience of employees doing just that.

Another important but less critical concern I have had is the maintenance and improvement of the county ditch system. The county is responsible for these services, but apparently has no budget for it. I would recommend formation of a working group to develop a sustainable funding source and a capital improvement plan to make needed improvements in the drainage system we all use.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

The main job of your commissioners is to develop and approve reasonable spending parameters for the vital functions the county performs, and supervise the employees to make certain those functions are delivered efficiently and in a customer-friendly manner. I have done that for 16 years as a council member for the city of Delano, and for 11 years as a member of the Delano Municipal Utilities Commission , the department that provides all electric and water services for the city of Delano. I have also had 30 years of sales and management experience in the building materials industry. I would encourage any of you to ask anyone I’ve ever worked or served with or supervised about my work ethics, communication skills, or ability to listen to all sides of an issue before making a decision.

And finally, I’m the one candidate in this race who absolutely and positively understands it’s your money I’m going to be spending. It’s my duty and obligation to spend it wisely, and leave as much for you as I possibly can.

We have a fantastic chance to make Wright County an even better place for our families, but I need your help to do so.

If you wish to contact me with comments or questions, send me an email at larry.bartels@hotmail.com and be sure to like and share our facebook page at facebook.com/Bartels4Wright

Thanks for your attention, and thank you for your vote on Aug. 14.

Tom LaPlant, Buffalo

Why are you running for Wright County commissioner?

I feel the Incumbent commissioner has been in too long – two terms should be the limit.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 5, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

The main job as commissioner is to spend your tax dollars wisely. Also, to upgrade and maintain safe roads for everyone, and not to lose good employees to other counties.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

I’ve had a lot of experience in farming, I sold real estate, was production manager of a print shop, and the last business I owned and operated was Doc’s TV and Appliance in Buffalo.

Charlie Borrell, Waverly

Why are you running for Wright County Commissioner?

I am a lifelong resident of Wright County, growing up on a farm in Woodland Township. My wife, Lynn, and I attend St. Mary’s Church in Waverly, and we have four children. I am a 1973 graduate of Howard Lake High School, and hold a bachelor of science degree in business management from St. Cloud State University. I am a veteran of the US Navy, completing four years active duty and 17 years of reserve duty. Since 1980, I have farmed in Woodland Township, as well as having run a small business.

I believe that government should serve the people. We should not be a people that have to serve the government. Too often this has been the way that our leaders have taken us. I will do my best to reverse this trend and return the government to the people.

I believe even the best of leaders tend to become part of the system after a long period of time, to this end, I promise that if elected, I will serve no more than two terms.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 5, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

Increasing jobs and economic development are two of the biggest issues facing the county at this time. While these issues are a function of the larger economic situation, there is no doubt in my mind, the degree we are controlled by county government rules and regulation has increased and is adversely affecting our local economy. Our founding fathers risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to make this country free. We cannot continue to over- regulate the lives of people and business, without all of us facing the adverse affects.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

My educational background and life experiences are the biggest assets that I will bring to the county commissioner’s position. In the past, I have served on the Woodland Town Board, as well as the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board. In both capacities, I have been responsive to the needs of the people I served, and have been a good steward of the position. I am proud to have been endorsed by the Republican Party of Wright County for the 5th district, and will always be guided by my conservative values.

Leonard Wozniak, Cokato

Why are you running for Wright County commissioner?

I have a passion to take on this challenge, along with the ideas that can take the county out of this recession. I can no longer sit by and see the county stagnate with the just-get-by attitude. As a lifelong resident of Wright County, I see the need for me to offer my skills as a leader and an advocate.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 5, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

The county has recently begun turning roads back to the townships for upkeep and repair because they claim to not have the money to do the improvements. This shows me that in the past years, the just-getting- by budgets will not improve this situation. There needs to be real constraints and across-the-board reductions. We will have to be innovative and open to new ideas to align us with the new normal in county government finances.

The second concern is the still-high foreclosures of homes, and lost businesses. We need to sell Wright County as a great place to live and work. We can do this by collectively working with all county local government and the innovative people of Wright County that are our greatest asset.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Having leadership roles for over 20 years in township government, planning and zoning, and co-op boards, I believe that I can offer the best leadership for the county through the uneasy times ahead. With my experience and knowledge of the agriculture industry, manufacturing, and business, I can directly relate to the issues affecting us. I know that I can do the job, and have the skills to work with the people of Wright County who need a strong voice in county government.

Dan Vick, Delano

Why are you running for Wright County commissioner?

Listening, talking and working with people while serving on the Delano City Council has been a fun learning experience. Being part of a group working on problem-solving and ideas to reduce expenses while maintaining quality services and infrastructure seems to be my calling. So, being a Wright County commissioner would be a fun and fulfilling position.

What do you see as the top two concerns facing Wright County, particularly in District 5, and what are your proposed solutions for these concerns?

Finances in today’s economy: People’s budgets are being squeezed from all sides, rising costs for everyday expenses such as food, gas, clothing and so on, along with not as many high-paying jobs. We now need to look for savings, big and small, by working together to combine resources with people, townships, cities, and the county to reduce cost for all.

Property owner’s rights: Use common sense on planning and zoning and let local people and their elected officials in their townships and cities lead while the county gives consistent, yet minimum direction.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Being a small-business owner for over 25 years makes me the best candidate for the position. As a general contractor/ carpenter, I wear many different hats and work with many different sub contractors and owners. My success in finding solutions and problem-solving has served me well. I’m a common person with common

sense that believes by applying common sense to county issues I will make a good county commissioner.

Dick Mattson, Buffalo

My name is Dick Mattson and I am running as the incumbent to serve as your county commissioner in the fifth district. As a life long resident of Marysville Township and the fourth generation of my family to reside here, I have a deep appreciation for the rural environment in contrast to the needs of urban society

Prior to serving as your commissioner, I, along with other family members, farmed in the county and pursued that endeavor for 35 years. During this time, we started Mattson Bus Company, which provided bus transportation for school children in the Buffalo School District. As the business grew, we added a charter service and employed up to 70 people in the local area. During this time, I acquired a wealth of experience bidding service contracts, dealing with personnel matters, negotiating equipment purchases, and maintaining budget controls to ensure the growth of the business. As your commissioner, I have applied this experience in running our county government.

Since becoming your commissioner, I have made this my full-time endeavor. I meet with the people in the district on a continuing basis to get firsthand input, and I share your concerns with my fellow commissioners and appropriate county departments. I try to be in the office at 8 a.m. each morning (schedule permitting) to make myself available to you and our county employees. I am committed to represent you and your tax dollars in the most efficient way as our county progresses.

Wright County’s population is now in excess of 123,000 people. We are the second-fastest growing county in the state. Because of this growth, our county government has grown to meet the needs of today’s society. Increased crime, divorce rates, drugs, and other behavior problems have increased the size of our government and the tax burden on our county citizens. We are continually challenged by planning upgrades, new construction requirements, and other regulations dictated by our state and federal government agencies.

This rapid growth encumbers a substantial burden on our lifestyle, and it is my endeavor to preserve a healthy social and working environment for the generations to come. I thoroughly enjoy serving the citizens of district 5, and I am counting on your vote Aug.14.

Paul Schoborg, Delano

Franklin Township resident Paul Schoborg has withdrawn from the District 5 commissioner race stating, “After learning how many hours a week a commissioner spends working for the county, I now know I won’t have the time to do a good job. I wish the other candidates good luck.”

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