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Olmsted County District 4 candidates

Four seek District 4 commissioner seat in Olmsted County

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Kindra Ramaker, Brian Mueller, Bill Pirkl and Steven Leo Connelly.
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ROCHESTER — Four candidates will be on the Aug. 9 primary ballot for the next Olmsted County commissioner in District 4.

Each candidate was sent a short questionnaire seeking background information and their reason for seeking the seat, which represents the southern and eastern portions of the county.

Here’s what they provided:
Name: Kindra Ramaker

Age: 46

Occupation: Mayo Clinic - supply chain management.

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Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science; master’s degree in public affairs.

Have you held elected office? No.

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Kindra Ramaker.
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Have you served on local government boards or commissions? 

  • Olmsted County Human Rights Commission from 2017 to 2020, serving one year as chairwoman.

Community involvement:

  • Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association, board chairwoman.
  • Rochester Branch NAACP, executive committee member.

What are your top three campaign issues:

  • Rebuilding faith in our democracy at the local level.
  • Creating a thriving, inclusive rural economy.
  • Investment in human infrastructure as a way to decrease nonvalue-add government spending.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? I have a strong understanding of economics and policy. I’m someone who is active in my community, and understand rural life. I’m aware of how people’s ability to afford (or not afford) updated rural septic systems impacts our whole community and the environment. I understand how a small town struggling to keep day care providers impacts the local schools and efforts to attract new families and new businesses.

What will be your top goal if elected? Making the democratic system work at the local level. The commissions established to inform the Board of Commissioners are not performative. People who volunteer for commissions don’t want to sit at a meeting and do nothing – they want to work at making our county work. We should let them and support them.


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Brian Mueller<br/>
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Name: Brian Mueller

Age: 57

Occupation: Self-employed heavy equipment mechanic for 29 years.

Education: John Marshall High School; auto mechanic program and diesel mechanic program, Rochester Community and Technical College.

Have you held elected office?

  • Rochester Township supervisor, 2004-2022.

Have you served on local government boards or commissions?

  • Rochester Township Metes and Bounds, 2004-2022.

Community involvement:

  • East St. Olaf Lutheran Church, member, past president and council member.

What are your top three campaign issues: 

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  • Property taxes.
  • Health and Human Services for vulnerable adults.
  • Funds for smaller towns.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?  I have 18 years of practical government experience dealing with budgets, roads, bridges, equipment and employees. I am pro-agriculture and have some farm background. I have owned and operated a small business for 29 years. I have lived in the county for 43 years and have witnessed many changes.

What will be your top goal if elected? To understand the ins and outs of county government and its programs and to become an asset to the county.



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Bill Pirkl

Name: Bill Pirkl

Age: 45

Occupation: Owner at Pirkl Ag.

Education: Bachelor of science in agriculture and agronomy, University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Have you held elected office? No.

Have you served on local government boards or commissions? No.

Community involvement:

  • Byron Youth Baseball Association, board member.
  • Christ Lutheran Church, member.

What are your top three campaign issues: 

  • Tax relief.     
  • Public safety and support law enforcement.   
  • County parks and recreation growth.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? With over 80% of the 4th District being rural, I believe that my long-term key relationships within the 4th District give me the best handle on the cultural needs of the constituency. Having four children in grade and middle school also helps me understand the growing needs of our children and grandchildren.

What will be your top goal if elected? My commitment is tax relief for hard-working families, farmers and small businesses. I will be a vocal and firm advocate in requiring accountability from state and federal politicians in also keeping their commitments to Olmsted County. This will be accomplished while fully funding every element of public safety and law enforcement.


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Steven Connelly

Name: Steven Leo Connelly

Age: 52

Occupation: Farmer; sports and entertainment marketing.

Education: Bachelor of science in natural resource management; graduate studies in political science and public administration.

Have you held elected office? 

  • Soil and Water Conservation District board member, 2000 to present.

Have you served on local government boards or commissions?

  • Olmsted County Environmental Commission.
  • South Zumbro Watershed Joint Powers Board.
  • Root River One Watershed, One Plan Policy Committee.

Community involvement:

  • Seasons Hospice.
  • Pheasants and Habitat Unlimited.
  • Smile Network.

What are your top three campaign issues: 

  • Natural resource management.
  • Soil and water conservation.
  • County unification and inclusiveness.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? I have dedicated over 30 years of my life to public sector government service. I have served as an elected official with the Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District for the past 22 years. In addition, my education in natural resource management and political science/public administration makes me an ideal fit.

What will be your top goal, if elected? It is important to see that all residents are represented. In addition, I will continue to work with all townships and towns of the county.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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