Editorial: Give Rasmussen another term

Published 8:11 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We encourage Albert Lea residents to vote for Mayor Vern Rasmussen next Tuesday.

The incumbent has brought greater stability and order to Albert Lea City Council proceedings. By being fair to staff, council members and members of the general public alike, he bridges differences and, most of all, helps our fair city give the impression to outsiders that we are a true regional center and not some small town bickering over petty matters. At meetings, there is respect for the city’s elected leaders, and that’s how council meetings should be forthwith.

Rasmussen deserves your vote for more than his ability to run council meetings, however. He has pushed city leaders to think about the long term. Instead of merely addressing problems as they arise, the City Council is looking at issues in terms of two to five years and even in terms of 10 to 20 years. Of course, it depends on the issue, but long-term planning is precisely what a City Council should be doing for the long-term health of the Albert Lea economy and Albert Lea citizens themselves. This is good.

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We commend Rasmussen for developing solid relationships with local and state leaders and being able to work with politicians no matter their party. He has established himself as a leader among city officials statewide through his work with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. As such, he has taken a pro-active approach to protecting local government aid, which, as he correctly notes, is merely a return on taxes Albert Lea residents already pay to the state.

Rasmussen’s opponent, Keith Porter, is a good fellow, and we commend him for throwing his hat in the political ring. It brings out good discussion that makes for a vibrant community dialogue.

Albert Lea has gone through many changes with the mayoral seat in the past decade. The last mayor to serve at least four years was Marv Wangen, who was mayor from 1991 to 2000. It’s time for that to change. It’s time for continuity. Re-elect Rasmussen and send a message that stability to good for our city government.