Much at stake on November 6Voters to decide key races at national, state and local level; new legislative lines add wrinkle to election
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Are you ready to vote?
Residents throughout Douglas County will have some key decisions to make come Election Day, November 6.
The purpose of this Voters Guide is to help residents be more prepared when they’re handed their ballots.
The guide contains questions-and-answers from candidates on the local, state and national level, as well as voting and precinct information.
The stakes are high for the 2012 election.
Not only will voters cast their ballots for president and U.S. Senate and House races, they’ll also select candidates for the Minnesota Legislature, which has new legislative boundaries because of redistricting.
Douglas County is now part of two Minnesota Senate districts, 8 and 12, and three House districts, 8B, 12A and 12B. Four current office holders will be on the ballot – Bill Ingebrigtsen (District 8), Torrey Westrom (District 12), Mary Franson (District 8B) and Paul Anderson (District 12B) — but the areas they represent have changed. Their challengers include Dan Skogen (District 8), John Schultz (District 12), Bob Cunniff (District 8B), and Rick Rosenfield (District 12B). The House District 12A race doesn’t have any incumbents and is between Dave Holman, Scott Dutcher and Jay McNamar.
Other big decisions at the state level include two constitutional amendments. One would define marriage as between one man and one woman, and the other one would require voters to show a government-issued ID in order to vote.
Drilling down to the local level, this year’s election contains many interesting races.
Because of redistricting, all five Douglas County commissioner districts are up for election. The choices for voters are (incumbents listed first):
District 1 – Jerry Johnson or Bonnie Huettl.
District 2 – Norm Salto or James Stratton.
District 3 – Bev Bales or Jerry Rapp.
District 4 – Paul C. Anderson or Charlie Meyer.
District 5 – Dan Olson or Carol Wenner.
Many local residents will also have a decision to make for mayor, city council and school board positions.
In Alexandria, Sara Carlson and Mark Pederson are vying for mayor, and two council seats are contested: Ward 3, Owen Miller and William Stark, and Ward 5, Elroy Frank and Todd Jensen.
Other contested city races in Douglas County include: Carlos mayor – Herby Dahl and Daniel Plowman; Carlos council (two positions) – Todd Burgess, Richard Pierson, Jason Thimmesh; Garfield mayor – Dan Kalina and Gaye Mounsdon; Kensington council (two positions) – Michael Johnson, Amanda Kramer, Brian Randt; Miltona council (two positions) – Rick Alton, Alan Bettermann, Kirk Smith; Nelson council (two positions) – Michael Erickson, Beverly Hansen, Jason Karl; and Osakis council (two positions) – Larry Dillehay, Kyle Kostrzewski, Jerry Olson.
One township in the county, Brandon Township, holds its elections in November. There are no contested races for the two supervisor and one treasurer positions, but residents will vote on a ballot question to decide whether the clerk and treasurer positions should be appointed by the town board rather than elected.
Three other local ballot questions will be decided this election, all involving the sale of liquor. The cities of Brandon and Osakis are asking voters whether their city councils should be allowed to issue on-sale liquor licenses to hotels, clubs and restaurants. (Each city currently owns and operates a municipal liquor store.) The city of Osakis is also asking if on-sale liquor sales should be allowed on Sundays.
Douglas County voters will also decide who should be their voice on their local school board.
In Alexandria School District 206, there is a contested race for Position 7 between two newcomers, Laura Knudsen and Angie Krebs.
In Brandon School District 207, five candidates have filed for four positions. They include Kevin Challes, Timothy Lauthen, Cheryl Schaffran, Arthur Vinson and Chad Way. A special election to fill an at-large spot is also taking place between Kim Fuchs and Michael Randt.
Evansville School District 208 has four candidates running for the four available positions – David Anderson, Ethan Henneman, Kent Huisman and Britta Richter.
Osakis School District 213 has a race with four candidates vying for three spots – Craig Cody, Pat Hildebrandt, Shari Maloney and Genny Maus LeBrun.
Minnewaska School District 2149 has five candidates running for four positions – Lonnie Hoffman, Jeff Holtberg, Randy Kinney, Robert Mork and Jim Peters.
In West Central Area School District 2342, six candidates are in the running for four spots – Daryl Amundson, Jill Beuckens, Chad Biss, Tina Lindquist, Steven Martineau and Richard Toms.
In Parkers Prairie School District 547, four candidates have filed for three positions – Glenn Cornish, Meagan Moen, Mary Peterson and Jeffrey Samuelson.