Borchardt to enter election
He seeks to unseat Jean Michaels in District 6
By Lanier Frush Holt
Saying the public has heard enough of "the Jean Michaels" story, Frank Borchardt announced this morning that he will seek to unseat the Olmsted County Board member in a special election this summer.
Borchardt, who made the announcement on the steps of the City-county Government Center, said, "Now is the time for the debacle in the county to end."
Borchardt is seeking to finish the remaining 3 1/2 years of the District 6 commissioner's term.
Michaels, who has been a board member since 1986, moved out of the district last month and relinquished her board seat last week. She has moved back into the district.
Borchardt said this morning that the circumstances surrounding the special election, which will cost the taxpayers about $12,000, are unfortunate. Now, he said, "we need to repair the long-term damage done to the board's integrity and the county's credibility."
Should he win, he would be the third new commissioner on a board that is in the midst of dealing with cuts in state funding that could wipe out 120 county jobs by February 2004.
"Budget cuts must be made in discretionary programs, programs that are optional, before reductions in the increase to mandatory programs are made" said Borchardt, who added that now is not the time for slash-and-burn reductions.
Borchardt is the third candidate to enter the District 6 race. A primary election July 29 will narrow the field to two candidates. Filings for the races are open July 7 to July 11. The election will be Aug. 19.
David Perkins, a retired IBM manager, announced his candidacy earlier this week. Michaels threw her hat into the ring last week.
Borchardt, a 50-year-old postal worker, has been active in county politics. Prior to his position at the post office, he had been a regular in attendance at board meetings. In January, the board denied his request for a seat on the Olmsted County Environmental Commission. The commission often is called to interpret environmental and health policies passed by the county board, and it played a role in interpreting the county's restaurant smoking ban.
Last week Borchardt said he was undecided on if he would run for the board again. Since then, he said, he's received hundreds of phone calls from people encouraging him to run.