Q&A with Goodhue County Commissioner candidate Jim BryantBryant: Trust experience in county government
What are the core functions of the county government and how would you, as commissioner, promote those functions?
Counties are an arm of the State Government and are required to do certain mandates. Counties started as a service for welfare and corrections. Counties have taken on more responsibilities such as roads, public health and land use issues to name a few.
As your commissioner I have learned a lot from the many issues we deal with on a daily basis. We are not able to focus on just one or two things. I have been a strong voice and people feel comfortable talking to me on many different issues. I bring years of experience and contacts to the position that can help us.
Programs independent of the county like 4-H and the Goodhue County Historical Society are facing funding cuts from the county next year. With ongoing budget issues, will the county need to re-evaluate its relationship with these non-mandated programs, or can they continue as before?
I want to commend the Goodhue County Extension Committee for being proactive on its handling of funding for the 4-H program. As a former 4-H'er, I believe in 4-H and have given my word that I will do everything in my power to keep it going strong. It may look a little different, but I think it is a wise investment for the 600 plus youth that participate in 4-H.
Times have changed and we are constantly looking at our budget. We have to look at ways to work together and to keep the dialogue open.
Goodhue Wind's proposed wind development has been in the news for the past year, but two other companies are also interested in building large-scale wind projects in Goodhue County. What should the county's long-term wind development goals be?
Goodhue County currently has the authority to regulate small individual wind turbines. The state of Minnesota has the regulatory authority on large wind farms. Several years back the Legislature mandated a certain amount of alternative energy be produced in the next 10-15 years.
In my opinion, the Legislature needs to re-visit this issue in their next session and I believe they will. The county is currently updating our ordinance on wind turbines and we hopefully will be submitting it to the PUC very soon. It is more like a recommendation to the PUC on how we want large wind farms to be regulated, sited and permitted in Goodhue County.
How do you distinguish yourself from your opponent?
I believe experience is important and I bring that to the position of county commissioner. I have learned a great deal in my position on many issues and topics. This position requires someone to be involved in many different issues, not just one or two.
I am a strong voice, approachable, level-headed and fair minded. I have made tough decisions and we are going to be facing more tough decisions in the years to come. I have lived in Goodhue County my whole life and I think this is a great place to raise my family.
I look forward to being your county commissioner for the next four years.