Zip Rail, frac sand, budget top Goodhue County issues
RED WING — Goodhue County faces significant challenges in the near future.
Demand for silica sand continues to grow, and the bluffs of Goodhue County hold a lot of sand. Both mining the sand and transporting it present environmental and economic challenges
Also, the proposed Zip Rail high-speed commuter train between Rochester and the Twin Cities has raised the ire of local farmers, whose land the track must cross. Planning for the line is still in its early stages.
All of the candidates for county board have long histories in the county and say they want to work to stay within the county budget.
Jason Majerus, a candidate in District 4, manages Majerus Garage, which was started in 1919 by his great-grandfather, JB Majerus. The business provides jobs for 13 families.
District 2 candidate Nora Felton believes county residents, "want their property protected from Zip Rails and fly-by-night wind, solar and frac sand developers."
Brad Anderson, also a candidate in District 2, said there are ways to do things in the county that might be done more cheaply. He talked about how Dodge and Goodhue counties have combined global informational systems departments and the possibility of combining the two counties' dispatch centers.
District 4 incumbent Jim Bryant said, "Our budget is what drives what we do as a county board. We have worked hard to try and get the best products and service for the dollars we receive from taxpayers and from other revenue areas."
Commissioner District 2
Residence: Cannon Falls
Education: Cannon Falls High School graduate, farm management and mechanics continuing education.
Occupation: Service manager at Niebur Tractor and Equipment in Miesville.
Family: Married, son and daughter, four granddaughters.
Political experience: 12 years on Leon Township Board, nine years on Goodhue County Board of Adjustment, three years on Belle Creek Watershed Board, six years on Cannon Falls School Board
Top issue: I want Goodhue County to develop a strategic plan to go forward. We need a plan to follow to help guide our decisions and we need to broaden the scope of how we do things to help save taxpayers' money.
Nora Bryson Felton
Residence: Alden, Minn.
Education: Koinonia Institute continuing education; University of Minnesota — bachelor's degrees in animal science and agricultural journalism
Occupation: Farmer, business owner and journalist.
Family: Married, five children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild
Political experience: Secretary of Southeast Minnesota Irrigators Assoc.; 4-H volunteer judging at several events and county and local fairs throughout the state; Awana Teacher, Tech Booth, and Bible study at Riverwood Church; Cannon Falls High School Band Boosters; Cannon Falls Elementary School classroom helper for 9 years, Book Buddy for 4; MN Dept of Agriculture's Ag-In-The-Classroom board with travel to Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina (1989-1992); McCloud Co. Yellow Ribbon Campaign (1991-92); Green Giant Health & Wellness, Ice Fishing, and Minneapolis Marathon Committees (1988-1991); Glencoe HS Foreign Exchange Program and After-Prom Committee (1988-1991).
Top issues: 1) prioritizing needs to ensure tax revenues are used prudently, 2) respecting everyone's property rights (maintaining that balance between our rural values yet being realistic enough to allow appropriate investment to expand business and tax-base), 3) the ZipRail and the Highway 52 corridor, 4) maintaining roads and bridges, 5) public/private partnerships, and 6) wind and solar energy, frac sand mining, and wisely managing water resources.
Commissioner District 4
Residence: Red Wing.
Education: Associate of arts degree in law enforcement from Alexandria Technical College
Occupation: Manager of Hay Creek Mutual Insurance, former Red Wing police officer and former business owner
Family: Married, daughter and son
Previous political experience: 16 years on Goodhue County Board, five years on Hay Creek Township Board
Top issue: Budget and improving our roads, including Highway 52. Good roads are important to attract businesses and visitors to our area.
The cost to maintain and build roads has increased along with fuel prices. With less money from the federal and state governments and increased costs, it has caused many counties to look at ways to build or repair our roads.
We are looking at bonding for the county's portion for the new overpass at Highway 52 and County Road 9.
Education: Gustavus Adolphus College, bachelor's degree in business administration; Goodhue High School.
Occupation: Owner of Majerus Garage in Lake City.
Previous political experience: None.
Residence: Rural Bellechester.
Family: Married, four children.
Top issue: My major concern is respecting the taxpayer dollar. As a businessman, I know how to prioritize expenditures and how to make hard choices.