Address: 1713 Siewert St., Red Wing
Family: Wife Sherry, adult children Amanda, Cliffton and Suzanne
Occupation: Licensed psychologist
Education: Received bachlor’s from Central Michigan University, master’s from California State University-Los Angeles and doctorate from University of South Dakota
Civic involvement: Vice commander of American Legion, member of VFW, Lions, Goodhue County Historical Center Board, Goodhue County Board, Goodhue County Health and Human Services Board, Cannon Valley Trail Board
If re-elected, what will be your top priorities for 2013?
The county budget continues to be my No. 1 priority. We need to be careful with our spending and make sure we are operating within a budget that keeps our levy as low as possible.
My primary safety concern is the intersection at County Road 9 and U.S. Highway 52. We continue to urge state and federal officials that safety has to be improved, and we are prepared to work with those officials to build interchanges and bridges along the highway.
In these economic times we should not build a new $8 million Human Service (Welfare) Building. The Government Center should become the Human Service Building if the goal is to locate all department employees in one building.
The Citizen’s Building should then become the county administration building along with the other departments now located at the Government Center.
The only addition to our current personnel I support at this time is a welfare fraud investigator for the sheriff’s staff.
We also need to continue and expand working with other counties to share positions and services to save money.
Highway safety has been a big concern for citizens. How do you think Goodhue County should go about addressing problem intersections and bridges?
We have a very good bridge and road replacement plan developed by our Goodhue County engineer and Public Works staff. I support this plan and at the end of 2012 we will replace three township bridges.
County Road 1 is a model for the other counties across this state. With no assistance from the federal government, the state of Minnesota and city of Cannon Falls, Goodhue County came up with a plan to build an interchange over Highway 52 in Cannon Falls in 2013.
We are planning and conducting official mapping of other sites along Highway 52 that will need interchanges or bridges to support our vision of zero deaths along this corridor.
For the past 10 years, we have been meeting with state and federal officials about the need for interchanges to improve safety. We have also joined with other county partners to work toward our goal of zero deaths along Highway 52.
How will you handle the issue of silica sand mines in Goodhue County?
We need a countywide ban for silica sand mining for the next five years. This will allow us time to study how the other counties that allow this type of mining in southeast Minnesota are doing with the environmental and transportation issues associated with silica sand mining.
In five years, the Goodhue County Mining Committee will review the data and at that time consider the best approach for our county. We need to take our time with this important issue and make the best possible decision for our county.
What area(s) of the county’s budget do you feel can withstand cuts, and what areas need more money?
We do not need a new Human Service (Welfare) Building for about $8 million. That would be my first cut.
When I was elected in 2005, the county had about 430 employees. At this time, we have around 320. We have slowly adjusted the work force to meet the current requirements in the county.
Roads and interchanges along Highway 52 will need more money over the next 10 years. We will need to bond for additional interchanges when the state and federal officials are ready to build along Highway 52. If we are serious about our vision for zero deaths along Highway 52, we need to build these important traffic safety features in the very near future.
Also, we sold the dam on the Cannon River to Dakota County several years ago. They are preparing a $6 million upgrade to this 100-year-old dam. Our share of that bill would have been 40 percent of the overall cost of these needed repairs. Since we sold the dam, Goodhue County will not have any financial obligation with these “dam improvements” now or into the future.
Do you feel that wind turbines have a place in Goodhue County? Why or why not?
Wind turbines are better suited for counties with a lower population density than Goodhue County.
The western part of the state is a better location for wind turbines. We did allow wind turbines in our new wind ordinance if they maintained a 10-rotor blade diameter setback from a residence. However, this was not supported by the state of Minnesota who controls these large wind projects.
The question is not the need for wind energy, but where should the wind turbines be located?