Below are the answers from the three candidates on the primary ballot for Aug. 11 for the open Goodhue County District 3 seat: Keith Allen, Todd Greseth, Phillip Parrish and Rod Steele. Some responses have been edited for clarity and newspaper style.
Previous elected office: Cherry Grove Township Supervisor.
Highest education level: Bachelor of Science -- University of Minnesota.
Business experience: Small business owner of Haycreek Ag Services as well as having a small commercial dairy goat farm.
What can Goodhue County do to help businesses recover after COVID-19? Businesses are a big part of our communities that pump life into our main streets and supply jobs and services to our neighborhoods. Goodhue County received $5.644 million dollars as part of this program. During the shutdown, many small businesses had to cut back to very limited services or even had to shut their doors. This was felt everywhere in Goodhue County. One idea the commissioners should consider is using some of this money for a Small Business Relief Grant. This would help locally owned small businesses cover some basic expenses; ultimately helping them get back on their feet and contributing to the great American comeback. I have learned as a farmer and small business owner that thinking outside the box is critical to success.
What are your concerns and solutions for the county budget? There is some real concern for the amount of equipment and vehicle turnover we are currently seeing in the Public Works Department. I think the county should explore the idea of holding on to low-hour equipment and low-mileage vehicles if there is no foreseeable issue with it for two to three additional years before trading it off. I would also like to see how transparent the bid process is to make sure they are stretching the public’s tax dollar as far as possible. I think the health and human services budget needs to be reviewed with some of the major increases seen the last two cycles.
What is the biggest problem facing Goodhue County over the next few years? COVID-19 showed us rural broadband is a big issue that needs to be addressed to help kids with schooling and parents working from home. It was a challenge in our home with both my wife and I balancing work with the needs of online school. Access and inadequacy of speed made it difficult. In addition, business development and business retention is the key to county growth. Finally, my top priority and the first issue I would address are road and bridge funding. It is critical to public safety and an issue I have been dealing with as a township supervisor.
Todd Greseth (Photo not available)
Previous elected office: I am currently a supervisor for Roscoe township and the current Board Chair.
Highest education level: I have an associate's degree in business from Rochester Community College.
Business experience: 31 years as the owner of GMI Insurance in Wanamingo and Owatonna; 31 years as a firefighter/first responder holding the fire chief position, relief association president and currently relief association treasurer. Working with the FEMA program for the 2019 disaster payment.
What can Goodhue County do to help businesses recover after COVID-19? Our county can be the information resource for businesses. Our state is so diversified that we cannot have one set of rules because each county has different needs. We also need to trust our businesses, and be able to give them temporary help if needed.
What are your concerns and solutions for the county budget? Being able to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. This is a tough situation, and there is no easy answer. Look for efficiencies and try to control spending.
What is the biggest problem facing Goodhue County over the next few years? The budget -- with our population getting older we will need more services for them. And government mandates -- the state and federal government requiring us to provide services and not helping us pay for them.
Phillip Charles Parrish
Previous elected office: No.
Highest education level: Master of Science and sixth year specialist, Educational Administration, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN 2001-2002.
Business experience: Co-owner of VP Parrish Industries LLC, Farmer; executive administrator, Divine Mercy Catholic Church.
What can Goodhue County do to help businesses recover after COVID-19? Work tirelessly to get the truth to the public, expose all those acting on and disseminating false information, and defending all persons and establishments' rights based on the Constitution and the rule of law.
What are your concerns and solutions for the county budget? That Goodhue County legal citizens and their needs come first. Initiatives, projects, and agendas are based on sound information that directly benefits Goodhue County legal citizens, supports their ability to prosper, and holds accountable any and all fraudulent activities or behaviors.
What is the biggest problem facing Goodhue County over the next few years? Honest and forthright infrastructure planning and zoning that directly benefits Goodhue County legal citizens, exposing programs and initiatives that are not in the best interest of Goodhue County legal citizens, and exposing and confronting fraud.
Previous elected office: I have held several elected positions in city government, primarily four terms as mayor and one term as city councilor in Pine Island.
Highest education level: I have four years of college, no degree, majoring in secondary education.
Business experience: I am presently a full-time Realtor with Edina Realty. I've been in real estate for 30 years, specializing in residential, commercial, investment, and agricultural.
What can Goodhue County do to help businesses recover after COVID-19? Goodhue County, like all Minnesota counties, will face some difficult budgetary decisions in the coming year. Local Government Aid could be redirected to other state issues some feel are more pressing. As a county, it is time to tighten our belt, and though it won't be popular, cut back on some projects/programs to ease tax burdens. Cities will be issued COVID-19 funds to help recapture some of the expenditures we have all incurred.
What are your concerns and solutions for the county budget? Budget concerns are, as previously stated, with state aid and also long term we could see an downward adjustment in property values, thereby lowering our tax base, thus my comment about close scrutiny of all aspects of our budget will be even more long range.
What is the biggest problem facing Goodhue County over the next few years? Goodhue County is an agricultural district so the ongoing issue must stay focused on helping the farms, especially the generational family farms. I have some suggestions on how we can provide some tax relief from the county perspective to help ease that burden. I believe we need to create a regional recreation program to promote our beautiful natural amenities, and therefore bring outside money into our cities and townships. Growth can be a cure for many budgetary shortfalls, thank you.