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3 with little political experience want to replace Roschen in Wabasha County

WABASHA — Three relatively young men with little or no political experience are vying to replace Deb Roschen on the Wabasha County Board.

Roschen is finishing her first term and is not running again because of what she says is turmoil and a lack of decorum and professionalism on the board. Others on the board, in return, have said she is a big part of the problem.

One of main things the three candidates — Brian Goihl, Simon Kehren and Jamie Mehrkens — all agreed upon is that the board now is ineffective. Board members need to calm down, compromise more and regain the trust of the public and county staff, they said.

"The big thing I tell people is I care," said Goihl, a West Albany farmer. "I want to get back to a point where people can work together … The big thing is you have to get back and restore the trust."

The people "don't want to read about the controversy," he said. "Show up and do your job; there has to be compromise."


The board needs to talk things out," he said. All have to vote their convictions, but then "you walk away supporting the decision made."

"The big thing is to make informed decisions … we all bring different experiences, different backgrounds to the board," he said. "But in the end you have one common goal and you work together."

On the Lake City School Board, Goihlwas on the team negotiating with teachers. They needed only two sessions to reach a settlement. "You came in and treated people with respect," he said.

Kehren, who works for the county highway department but would resign if elected, said he also believes things aren't going well on the present board. "To me it seems they have a lot of controversy and it doesn't seem like we're getting anything accomplished," he said.

"I want to see us move forward" but in a conservative way. "You have to stand for what you feel is right but work together to get things done," he said.

As a county employee, he said he's concerned about the way things are running. He thinks commissioners need to be more involved, go out and see how things are done. They need to "see where the money is going, find ways where it can run more efficiently" instead of raising taxes.

Jamie Mehrkens, of Mazeppa, a manufacturing engineer in Rochester, said he has been watching what's going on. "I feel that new people need to step up where they can." There's a need for the board to work together and build a consensus if possible.

He wants to state his opinion and then go to a vote. "I don't have an ax to grind," he said.


When he talks with people, it's "kind of discouraging," he said. They feel the current system is broken from Washington, D.C., down to the county level. "They feel politics is a bad thing," he said. The people believe politicians "are all looking to make it better for themselves," he said.

He would like people to get more engaged. "They are part of the solution to this problem," Mehrkens said. If elected, he doesn't want to be on the board too long. "I'm not a lifer, i don't intend to do this for the rest of my life," he said.


Wabasha County candidates

Brian Goihl

Age: 43

Residence: West Albany

Occupation: Farms in West Albany area.


Education: Graduate of Lincoln High School in Lake City

Political experience: Lake City School Board and county fair board

Simon Kehren

Age: 27

Residence: Zumbro Falls

Occupation: Works for county highway department doing maintenance, also farms.

Education: Lincoln High School graduate

Political experience: None


Jamie Mehrkens

Age: 42

Residence: Mazeppa

Occupation: Manufacturing engineer for Domaille Engineering of Rochester

Education: Graduate of Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School and Riverland Technical College.

Political experience: Mazeppa Zoning Board

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