Candidates file for elective office on 1st day

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen filed for re-election on Tuesday on what was the first day of the filing period for elected office in Minnesota.

Vern Rasmussen

Vern Rasmussen

Before becoming mayor 3 1/2 years ago, Rasmussen served as 1st Ward Albert Lea city councilor for six years.

“The main reason why I do run is because I really enjoy my community and want to give back,” he said. “On top of that, we have a lot of things we’ve put into motion, and I want to see them through.”

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Rasmussen said the council has taken many steps to make the community more attractive in the last four years, not only aesthetically but for businesses looking to relocate here.

Larry Baker

Larry Baker

He said he is proud of the Broadway reconstruction completed last summer and of the progress being made toward the sale and renovation of the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson Apartments buildings.

He also noted the commitment city leaders have made toward strong financial health.

Whoever is elected as mayor this fall will be the first person in the city’s history to serve a four-year term. Mayors had served two-year

Reid Olson

Reid Olson

terms since 1903.

The filing period for city, county and state office runs through June 3.

Others filing on Tuesday were:

• Larry Baker for re-election as councilor for Albert Lea’s 2nd Ward.

Baker, who has served as mayor pro tem for 2 1/2 years, was first elected to the Albert Lea City Council in 2006.

Kurt Freitag

Kurt Freitag

Baker said he looks forward to working with the people of the 2nd Ward and tries to be available for constituents to contact him with concerns.

He said while the city has gone through trying times in the last four years, there have been even more positive outcomes. He cited the downtown reconstruction and the potential Freeborn National Bank building development as some of the highlights during the last few years.

He said when he ran for office four years ago, one of his major goals was getting the bank building redeveloped.

Dan Belshan

Dan Belshan

“I have been a really strong advocate of the downtown,” Baker said.

Now, as he looks ahead to the next four years, he said one of his top priorities is the development of the Blazing Star Trail.

• Reid Olson for re-election as councilor for Albert Lea’s 4th Ward.

Olson was first elected to the council in 2006.

• Freeborn County sheriff’s deputy Kurt Freitag for the position of sheriff.

Christopher Shoff

Christopher Shoff

Freitag initially announced his intent to run for office last summer.

“I’m excited to talk to the public in whatever venue it may be and explain the issues we face as a sheriff’s office and as a community,” he said.

He said he wants to show people how he would solve problems and how he is qualified for the position. He has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 1995.

Incumbent Sheriff Bob Kindler and deputy Dale Glazier in the last two weeks announced their intent to run for office, but as of the end of the business day on Tuesday had not yet filed.

Pat Martinson

Pat Martinson


• Rural Glenville resident Dan Belshan for re-election as Freeborn County’s 2nd District commissioner.

He has served in the position since January 1999.

“I will continue to be a voice for the people because I believe that county government is a servant of the people,” Belshan said in a news release. “I advocate common sense and fact-drive decisions and support a balanced budget and wise spending.”

Kelly Callahan

Kelly Callahan

He said he strives to be accessible to Freeborn County residents who have questions or problems and will always give them a straight answer.

• Albert Lea resident Christopher Shoff for re-election as Freeborn County’s 4th District commissioner.

Shoff, who presently serves as the chairman of the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners, was first elected to the board in 2006.

He is on track to become president of the Association of Minnesota Counties next year. This will be first time someone from Freeborn County has ever been elected to that position.

Craig Nelson

Craig Nelson

This year, he is the first vice president for that organization.

The Tribune attempted to contact Shoff for comment Tuesday afternoon but his voicemail was full.

• Glenville resident Pat Martinson for the position of Freeborn County auditor-treasurer.

Martinson has been serving in the position since January 2013 when she was appointed to complete the term of former Auditor-Treasurer Dennis Distad.

She has worked for the county since 1990, working over the years as a part-time elections clerk, a billing clerk and chief deputy auditor-treasurer before becoming auditor-treasurer.

• Albert Lea resident Kelly Callahan for re-election as the Freeborn County recorder.

Callahan has served as county recorder for almost 14 years. This would be his fourth full term.

• Albert Lea resident Craig Nelson for re-election as the Freeborn County attorney.

Nelson has served in the position for 23 years and has been a lawyer for 38.

“The work of the county attorney provides marvelous and varied opportunities to serve the citizens of Freeborn County as a prosecutor and as a lawyer providing legal services to the offices and departments within county government,” Nelson said in a news release.

He said the county attorney is the chief prosecutor of criminal offenses by both adults and juveniles.

“Being a prosecutor is compelling and intense work,” he said. “The lives of many people in this county are directly and concretely affected by the work of a prosecutor.”