Rasmussen seeks to be 1st mayor serving 4-year term

Published 9:50 am Friday, October 10, 2014

After 10 years on the Albert Lea City Council as a councilor or mayor, incumbent Mayor Vern Rasmussen doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Vern Rasmussen

Vern Rasmussen

Rasmussen, 50, will face off against former 5th Ward Councilor John Severtson, 65, in the Nov. 4 general election. Retired from Enderes Tools, Severtson is the commander of American Legion Leo Carey Post 56.

Whichever man wins the race will be the first mayor in Albert Lea to serve a four-year term.  Residents voted in favor of longer terms in 2012.

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Rasmussen, a physical therapist with Mayo Clinic Health System, lives at 1426 Edgewater Drive with his wife, Marilyn, and their two children, 16 and 19.

He was first elected to the Albert Lea City Council in 2004 as the 1st Ward councilor. He served in this capacity until 2010, when he was elected to his first term as mayor. He was re-elected in 2012.

“I have a big passion for the city of Albert Lea,” Rasmussen said. “I really want to move us forward for the future, while making sure we look at the needs of the people today.”

He said he is proud of the downtown reconstruction project completed in his last term and noted he thinks it has brought new life there.

“I look at the downtown as the center of our community, and it is important that our center is healthy,” Rasmussen said.

In addition to the new street, sidewalks and other amenities, there has been new activity downtown through businesses and other events held there.

He said the city is putting together a long-range plan of infrastructure needs across town, along with how the city will pay for them.

Looking ahead to the next few years, he said some of the biggest projects facing the city will be infrastructure related.

Plans are in the works for the overlay of the south part of Broadway, from Main Street south to Interstate 35, in what is a joint project with the state.

The project incorporates many of the same street elements from North Broadway south to Front Street.

Another major project planned for 2015 is the Lakeview Boulevard project from Wedge Street to Abbott Street.

He said he continues to look at ways to market the Blazing Star Landing.

He hopes the community will embrace the Blue Zones Project, which has returned to Albert Lea, and use it to make the city stronger and more positive.

Looking at his strengths,  Rasmussen said he thinks he works well with others locally and on the county and state levels.

He has lived in Albert Lea since 1976, with the exception of six years away for college.