County Commissioner - District 5 Candidate: Dan Olson (Incumbent)Running for County Commissioner - District 5
Q: Please list your background and specific qualifications for this position.
A: I was born and raised in Alexandria in Douglas County. I graduated from Jefferson High School. I have been a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church where I was baptized, confirmed and married. I served on many committees such as Board of Lay Ministry, chairman of the Board of Education, chairman of the 100-year anniversary celebration. I sing in the choir and with the praise worship team.
I attended Alexandria Technical College and graduated with a degree in sales and marketing. I have been married to my wife, Dawn, for 40 years. We have two daughters, three grandsons and a step-granddaughter.
The majority of my professional life was spent in business with my parents and brother at Olson Decorating, both in retail and contracting.
The ability to listen to others and not make snap decisions is one of my best traits. I make sure that I remain accessible, representing not only the people of District 5 but the entire county. I am very much a “people person” and do not micro-manage.
Currently, I am entrusted by my colleagues as chairperson of Pope Douglas Solid Waste, Rainbow Rider, treasurer of West Central Community Actions and Lakeland Mental Health, past chairperson of the Hospital Board and County Board and I serve as chairperson of the Compliance, Security and Oversight Committee for Prime West. I have also worked on bringing five counties together to form Horizon Public Health, a start to bringing our counties together into greater fiscal responsibility.
Q: What do you view as the biggest challenge facing the county right now and how would you deal with it?
A: There are always different challenges every day such as: keeping our county a good, clean place that people want to live and work in, keeping our tax levy low and yet provide for the needs of our county and its residents.
Another important challenge not only for us but other counties is the combining of services. The more we do together with other counties becomes a plus as far as fiscal responsibility and delivery of services. The state has made some indications they would like the counties to combine and the more we do now will help us to partner with the counties we know will work together.
Q: Would you say the current board has shown commitment and follow through on current projects, for example the law enforcement and services center and courtroom remodel? What would your strategy be to further progress?
A: We have followed through on some projects such as law enforcement and services center, etc., not always the way I thought best, but yet they are done. We need to remodel our current courtroom facilities soon! We have to do these things, and when they are done, we need to maintain these buildings continuously, which will help us keep our facilities to serve us longer!
Q: Is there anything more the county can do to combat aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels? Share other thoughts about protecting water quality.
A: We, as a board along with the lake associations and some very committed constituents, have actually been ahead of the game with our work on zebra mussels, trying to find different ways of eradicating these and other invasive species from spreading any farther into our lakes. We need to keep working locally along with the DNR and the state to find and use new ideas to further keep our lakes as clean and pristine as possible.
Q: County commissioners have recently opened communication with the Alexandria City Council. What would you contribute to this partnership?
A: Open communication is very important. This is something I have been working on and am glad to see happening. Having grown up in Alexandria, I can honestly say I have the ability and vision of the importance of the continued open communication, not only with Alexandria but all the towns of Douglas County.