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Podulke-Smith plans Olmsted County commissioner campaign

Candidate is seeking to fill the District 1 seat after her mother retires from elected post.

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Laurel Podulke-Smith
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ROCHESTER — Kutzky Park Neighborhood resident Laurel Podulke-Smith is planning to file for the Olmsted County commissioner seat currently held by her mother, who recently announced plans to not seek another term.

“I am running for county commissioner because I love my community and I am ready to put my values into action,” Podulke-Smith said in announcing her campaign.

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Current District 1 commissioner, Stephanie Podulke, has held the seat since 2011, when she won a special election to replace her husband following his death.

Podulke-Smith said growing up with parents who were elected civil servants provided insight into how they were able to have an impact on policy and the quality of life for county residents.

“I could see the cause and effect and was amazed by it,” she said, adding she wants to have a similar impact.

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A longtime volunteer and community organizer, Podulke-Smith said her campaign message will be built on the need for affordable housing, public safety and strong social services.

She plans to launch her campaign with a public kick-off event at 2 p.m. May 14 at the Soldiers Field picnic shelter.

As an educator, healthcare professional and small business owner, the John Marshall High School graduate with a master's degree in organizational leadership said she supports economic growth that prioritizes community interests, local businesses and environmental sustainability.

Podulke-Smith is the first candidate to formally announce a campaign for the commissioner seat, which carries an initial two-year term.

The filing period for the November county elections is from May 17 to May 31.

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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