Four council filings this week

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Four more people filed for positions on the Albert Lea City Council on Monday and Tuesday in what were the last two days to file for public office.

Filing for Albert Lea mayor was 65-year-old John Severtson, a former member of the Albert Lea City Council, who will face off against incumbent Mayor Vern Rasmussen.

Filing for the 2nd Ward council seat was 36-year-old Robert Hoffman, a real estate broker and property manager and 76-year-old Keith Porter. However, Porter, upon learning Hoffman filed, has announced he is withdrawing. Hoffman will face off against incumbent Larry Baker.

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Lastly, filing for the 6th Ward seat was 20-year-old college student Sergio Salgado Jr., who will face off against incumbent Councilor Al “Minnow” Brooks and Matt Maras, president of the United Employees Credit Union.

The following is information about each of the candidates:


John Severtson

Severtson served as the 5th Ward councilor from 1985 to 1989 and from 2005 to 2009.

John Severtson

John Severtson

This is his fourth time running for the office of mayor. He faces incumbent Mayor Vern Rasmussen.

“In 1984 I filed for the first time for office because I didn’t think anything was getting done,” he said. “I still don’t think anything is getting done.”

Retired from Enderes Tools, Severtson is completing his second term on the Albert Lea Planning Commission.

“I just thought I’d give it one more shot,” he said.

He said previously he thinks the mayor needs to be more involved with the day-to-day business of the city and that he is concerned about how the Port Authority is operated.

He said he also thinks the city is too top-heavy with administration.


Robert Hoffman

A real estate broker and property manager, Hoffman manages around 200 rental properties in town.

He is married to Tribune sales representative Angie Hoffman.

He said his biggest impetus for running for office was the recent discussion about the city’s housing market — whether it’s been the Freeborn National Bank building or discussion about market rate developments in other parts of town.

Hoffman served on the Albert Lea Planning Commission for eight years, and now is a part of the downtown Heritage Preservation Commission. He said he has a big appreciation for downtown Albert Lea and believes in the future of it so much that he purchased a building downtown at 212 S. Broadway.

He said if he is elected, he could add a lot of energy to the council.

“I don’t always want to be the simple ‘yes’ man,” he said. “I want to make some noise and start some conversations. Overall we can be a lot stronger of a community.”

Hoffman said he is not running against incumbent Baker because he thinks Baker has done a poor job.

“Larry has done a very fine job, and I think highly of all the time and effort he has put into this job,” Hoffman said. “I just want his job as our Ward 2 councilman. I look forward to the opportunity to do something for the city that has done so much for me.”

Keith Porter Sr.

Keith Porter Sr.

Keith Porter Sr. 

Porter, who is retired, served on the Albert Lea Township Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2011 and as the Freeborn County 3rd District commissioner from 1992 to 2000.

Had he not withdrawn, it would have been his 11th time running for office but his first time running for the 2nd Ward seat. He has also run for the office of mayor.

Moved into the city in 2011, Porter said he is concerned about the city’s use of surveys and consultants and unnecessary spending.


Sergio Salgado Jr.

A student at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Salgado is known for his theater and stage productions and his involvement in show choir and other choirs during his time at Albert Lea High School. He has participated in several Albert Lea Community Theatre productions.

Sergio Salgado Jr.

Sergio Salgado Jr.

He graduated ALHS in 2012 and will turn 21 on Jan. 1.

Though he still has three semesters left of college, he said he would come back to Albert Lea for meetings but would still live in Mankato while he is attending school.

“I hope to give to the city of Albert Lea a different perspective on how the city is viewed,” he said. “With a younger, fresher mind in there, it’s a learning experience for me, too.”

He said he has recently taken classes on leadership and hopes to be a leader in Albert Lea.

Salgado moved to Albert Lea his freshman year in high school.

“Ever since then, I stayed here and fell in love with the community,” he said.

He noted he thinks infrastructure needs are some of the top concerns facing the 6th Ward.

“I want to be a voice for those who don’t think they have a voice and show that young people do have an interest and care about Albert Lea,” he said.