Candidate Q&A: District 2 County Commissioner SamuelsonRichard Samuelson
Residence: 11200 Olga Street Way, Cannon Falls
Family: Wife, Jerrie; five grown sons; 12 grandchildren; one great-grandchild.
Public Involvement: Past township supervisor, member of American Legion, past director of Webster Co-op, Member of Farmer's Union, Member of Cannon Falls Lion's Club
Work: Lifetime farmer
What is the main issue that you would address as a county commissioner?
The county budget is always the most important issue.
Another issue I will continue to promote is Highway 52 and the interchange in Cannon Falls. Safety on Highway 52 is important to all of District 2 and the entire county.
A safe way to exit on and off this busy highway will help support economic development for our county. I will follow through with the county study for future interchanges on Hwy. 52 and the proposed locations. The county has a transportation plan that includes all-weather roads from farm to market. Our strong agricultural base calls for good county roads.
The county faces a budget crunch that looks to continue into the years ahead. How would you address the county's ongoing budget issues?
I support the county's present policy of looking for all efficiencies in day-to-day operations. The county has and will continue to adjust funding non-required mandates and to consolidate departments for cost savings whenever possible. When an employee retires, the position would be replaced only if it is considered essential. The main driving force is an efficient budget that serves our county's constituents.
Over the past year, wind energy has been at the forefront of county politics. What role do you think the county should play in large-scale wind development projects?
I support the Planning Commission's decision to create a subcommittee to update our county wind ordinance. It addresses the biggest concerns about wind turbines, including a dwelling setback, noise limits, stray voltage testing for livestock facilities, and a shadow flicker limit.
I will ensure wind companies are required to sign a developers agreement with the county and townships that forces them to pay their fair share of local taxes and to repair all roads damaged when putting up wind turbines. Although the state has permitting authority for large-scale wind projects, I'll urge them to apply our standards to all wind projects.
What are some qualities that make you well suited to be a county commissioner?
I am willing to listen to both sides of an issue and do the necessary research before making any decisions. I have had the opportunity to work with commissioners from other counties, with cities and townships, and work well with joint power boards. I have made an effort to work with county departments on any issue.
If elected, I will continue to serve with integrity and accountability.