CANDIDATE PROFILE - Name: Merl Norman Wabasha County Commissioner District 3
Address: Route 1, Box 51, Zumbro Falls.
Contact information: Phone, (507) 753-2987.
Family: Married, four children.
Work history: He was a Rochester police officer six years, operated heavy equipment and now is an independent feed salesman. He and his wife are volunteer caretakers at Woodland Bible Camp.
Community activities: He is active in his church and in fund-raising for cancer and heart associations.
Government history: Four years on county board. He once ran for the state senate.
Top three issues:
1. Solving the problem with the jail.
2. Fiscal responsibility for taxpayers.
3. Good, common-sense, family values.
I think people should vote for me because my record speaks for itself. We have been responsible with our tax dollars.
By John Weiss
The keystone of Merl Norman's quest to be re-elected to the Wabasha County Board's third-district seat is fiscal responsibility.
He stressed that in the past four years, the county's deficit is much lower than several years ago and the budget should be balanced for next year.
"Even with the state cuts, we have been able to keep our county solvent," he said. It's possible to be good stewards of county resources and also provide necessary services, he said.
As for the county's aging jail, he first thought it would be possible to remodel or improve it. That's not going to happen.
"It's looking like the best solution is a new jail," he said. "In the long run, it's going to save the taxpayers money."
A new jail would also be safer because jail officials wouldn't have to move prisoners around so much, he said.
The second part of his campaign stresses family values, Norman said. That means thinking about families when handling issues with social services, the health department and other departments. For example, the county has to find flu vaccine for those who need it and good foster care for youths. Norman wants to help families learn to function better with things such as parenting classes.
One issue many people want to know about, besides the jail, is roads, he said. Much of the region's state funding for roads is going to Rochester's massive rebuilding of U.S. 52, he said. The county has a great staff for taking care of its roads, but state cuts have made it difficult to do major work, he said.