It’s Marin v. Kehr in Ward 3

Published 9:57 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A former Albert Lea City Council member wants his seat back.

Former Third Ward Councilor George Marin, who four years ago decided to not run for the seat he held, filed for the race Tuesday, the final day of the filing period.

George Marin

He faces Ellen Kehr, who was elected in 2008 in a close race against Iraq War veteran Ryan Sabinish.

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First Ward Councilor John Schulte V and 5th Ward Councilor Larry Anderson are both uncontested in their attempts to seek another term on the council.

Schulte, a civil engineer at Jones, Haugh & Smith, was elected to fill a vacancy last May, after the seat was vacated by former 1st Ward Councilor Vern Rasmussen who was appointed mayor.

Schulte, 35, said his time on the council has been a positive experience — noting it is both challenging and interesting.

He said he likes being more involved in the community since being on the council and having more upfront knowledge about things that are happening.

Anderson, an information technology specialist for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, was elected to the council in 2008. He said he decided to seek another term because he enjoys being on the council and was encouraged by several other people to do so.

He said he likes the feeling of having people trust him enough to call him and share their concerns.

Looking forward to the next few years, Anderson, 56, said he thinks the biggest issues for his ward will be maintaining infrastructure and keeping the quality of life high, without adding more stress on the tax base than necessary.

Kehr said she is pleased with what has taken place during the last four years and hopes she can continue to work on some of the projects that have started.

Ellen Kehr

Kehr, a consultant with The President’s Network, a collaborative between Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Minnesota Department of Health, works on health initiatives in communities across the state.

She said she has positive working relationships with the other councilors, along with partnerships on the local, state and federal levels.

She has spoken of how she thinks she and the council have been sensitive to the economic challenges people are facing.

Marin, the pastor of Grace Christian Church in Albert Lea, could not be reached for comment Tuesday at his home.

The following is an overview of other candidates who filed for local, state and federal offices:


Albert Lea mayor

The race for Albert Lea mayor will have three candidates: incumbent Mayor Vern Rasmussen, former 5th Ward Councilor John Severtson and former county Commissioner Keith Porter Sr.

The candidates will be narrowed down to two on Aug. 14, during the state designated primary.

Rasmussen, who has served on the council for six years and is now in his second year as mayor, said he thinks the city has come a long way in recent years, but it still has a long way to go.

He hopes to find ways to be more fiscally sound but still move ahead with the city’s priorities. He also wants to attract business.

He is a physical therapist through Mayo Clinic Health System at Health Reach.

Severtson, who served as the 5th Ward councilor from 1985 to 1989 and from 2005 to 2009, said he has the time to be an active mayor, noting he thinks the mayor should attend staff meetings regularly and be involved in the day-to-day business of the city.

He said he has developed relationships with local and state officials through his involvement as chairman with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign.

He is retired from Enderes Tools in Albert Lea.

Porter, who served on the Albert Lea Township Board from 2008-11 and as a Freeborn County commissioner from 1992-2000, said this will be his 10th time running for office.

He wanted to make sure there was opposition on the ballot so people would have a choice when voting for the position.

He previously owned Porter Sanitation Co., the Palace Bar in the late 1970s, Albert Lea Fire & Safety Co. and an Albert Lea picnic table company.


Freeborn County District 1

Incumbent Commissioner Glen Mathiason will face off against candidate Neal Gjersvik for the third time.

Mathiason, a farmer from Alden, has previously served three terms as the District 1 commissioner.

He said he was encouraged to run for office again by several people and noted he thinks the board has made good progress in recent years.

He also noted he thinks his experience on the board will be helpful in moving the county forward.

Gjersvik, who has been a part of the Manchester Township Board since 2000, said he decided to run for the seat for the third time because he thinks he can bring exuberance and excitement to the board.

It is his goal to help people stop being apathetic toward local government and to help them think county officials are more approachable. He also wants to help bring in more economic variety to the community, even bringing in smaller businesses with just one or two employees.

He is a sales representative for TEC Industrial, a power transmission supplier.


Freeborn County District 3

Incumbent Commissioner Jim Nelson will face off against two candidates: former Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services president Ron Steckman and former commissioner candidate David Shoff.

Nelson, who has previously served two terms as the 3rd District commissioner, has a background in farming and trucking.

He said he has learned much as a member of the board and enjoys working with rural areas and gravel roads because he understands them well.

Steckman, who lives on the south end of Albert Lea Lake, said he has a strong background in creating new companies, economic development and labor negotiations.

He is interested in seeing the county grow.

He is retired.

Shoff, a hotel manager, ran for the seat in both 2008 and 2004 against Nelson and lost by less than 200 votes in 2008. He had beat out Nelson in the primary election.

His platform during that election was to balance the budget through spending restrictions without relying on property tax income.

After the loss in 2008, Shoff said it was unlikely he’d ever run for office again.

A message to him on Tuesday went unreturned.

Because there are three candidates, there will be a primary election for this seat Aug. 14.


Freeborn County District 5

Incumbent Commissioner Mike Lee will run unopposed for the position.

Lee, who was elected during a special election in March 2011 following the resignation and arrest of former Commissioner Linda Tuttle, said it has been one of the greatest privileges of his life to be able to serve as county commissioner.

He said some of his top priorities looking forward are keeping property taxes in check, allocating tax dollars wisely, creating local jobs, keeping roads and bridges safe, finding a solution to the Stables area and replacing the Albert Lea Lake dam.

He is employed at Helping Hands of Minnesota and Elm Homes.


Soil & Water Conservation District

District 1

Dave Ausen is running unopposed for this seat.


District 2

Christopher Dahl is running unopposed for this seat.

District 5

Donald Kropp is running unopposed for this seat.

State House of Representatives

District 23A

Current House District 24A Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, will run against DFLer Kevin Labenz of Welcome.


District 23B

Current House District 24B Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, will run unopposed for this seat.


District 24A

Filing for this office are Republicans Larry Johnson of Waseca and John Petersburg

John Petersburg of Waseca, along with DFLer Craig A. Brenden, also of Waseca.


District 24B

Current House District 26B Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault, will run against Dan Kaiser, R-Medford, for this seat.


District 27A

Incumbent House Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, will face off against Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, and William Wagner, I-Geneva.


District 27B

Incumbent House District 27B Rep. Jeanne Poppe, DFL-Austin, will run against Nathan Neitzell, R-Austin.


State Senate

District 23

Incumbent Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, will face off against Paul Marquardt, DFL-Eagle Lake.


District 24

Vern Swedin, R-Owatonna, will face off against Vicki Jensen, DFL-Owatonna.


District 27

Incumbent state Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, will run against Linden Anderson, R-Waltham.


1st Congressional District

Filing for this seat were incumbent Congressman Tim Walz, DFL-Mankato, and two Republicans, Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca and former state Rep. Allen Quist of St. Peter.


U.S. Senate

Nine candidates have filed for this seat including the following:

• Independence Party: Glen R. Anderson Menze and Stephen Williams.

• Republican Party: Kurt Bills, Bob Carney Jr. and David Carlson.

• DFL Party: Amy Klobuchar, Dick Franson, Jack Edward Shepard, and Darryl Stanton.