Editorial: Election ushers in a new kind of momentum

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002

With efforts by education group TEAM, Destination: Albert Lea, Greater Jobs, Inc. and other groups and individuals, the last few weeks and months have been filled with an increasingly vocal push for positive change in Freeborn County. Now, it appears their message has resonated with the voters of our area, enough so that their agenda received a forceful endorsement on Election Day.

We’ve heard much about the importance of education. Candidates and city officials have talked about efforts to revive the historic downtown. The lake-cleanup issue has failed to creep off the agenda, as it did so many times in the past. Progress on Freeborn County’s courthouse problems has finally arrived. And the push for a revamped and recharged economy in the wake of the Farmland disaster has been a defining theme of the last year.

Supporters of all those causes found vindication in Tuesday’s results. In the course of one day, the balance of power on the Albert Lea city council was shifted away from relatively wary leaders into the hands of those who push &uot;can-do spirit&uot; and &uot;progressive leadership&uot; on issues like the lakes and downtown. Dave Mullenbach, the champion of the courthouse project, got an overwhelming vote of confidence. And the second-chance school referendum was the most pleasant surprise of all, with a yes-yes victory that, compared to last year’s lopsided loss, represented a huge swing in public opinion.

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The sum of all this is a momentum shift that should further embolden the forces of change in this community, and take us forward into a better future. The voters of Freeborn County are betting on it.