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Single candidate eliminates need for Olmsted board primary

Tuesday was the last day people could file as candidates for the Olmsted County District 1 commissioner position that became available when commissioner Mike Podulke died.

The only person who has filed is Podulke's wife, Stephanie Podulke. That means there will be no need for a primary election. However, a special election still will take place Aug. 9. The election is for District 1 voters only.

It might not seem necessary, but it is possible for voters to write in a candidate, said the county's election administrator, Pam Fuller.

No need for a primary election means the county will save $20,000, she said. That election would have occurred on June 7.

In the meantime, Stephanie Podulke is planning a campaign to introduce herself to the constituents of District 1. She had a campaign meeting with a committee Thursday night.


"I plan to let people know who I am and meet people and do a campaign," she said.

Podulke has been setting up meetings with county department leaders "to learn about their goals and hopes for the year, and what some barriers are for them. So that right after the election, I'll be as well-prepared as I can be," she said.

"I'm just learning everything that I think I need to know — and a lot of things I already know because I've been walking this path with Mike for 25 years," she said.

Podulke wants people to know she has a strong social services background because of her career, which included six years as a volunteer in a nursing home as well as caring for young children with health problems.

"So I have some understanding about the problems of senior citizens and aging. And I've worked in failure-to-thrive daycare, so I know about that end of life," she said

She also has been a middle school and high school teacher and she managed five residential group homes for troubled teenagers. In addition, Podulke did in-home family therapy for about 12 years for families at risk of losing custody of their children.

"My job was to prevent placement, to help families work on their strengths and relationships so that the family can stay intact, because that's what I believe in," she said.

Absentee ballot voting for the District 1 special election will begin June 24 at the city-county Government Center, Fuller said. There are eight precincts in the district, all within the city of Rochester.

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