Shoff will seek a fourth term on Freeborn County board

Published 9:00 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

Freeborn County District 4 Commissioner Chris Shoff on Friday announced he will seek a fourth term in office.

Shoff was first elected to the county board in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.

Chris Shoff

A chiropractor for a living, Shoff serves on several local committees, including the Investment Committee, Adult Mental Health Committee, Save Our Hospital Committee and the Statewide Health Improvement Project/Blue Zones Project Committee, among others.

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He has also served on the transportation committees and board of directors for both the Association of Minnesota Counties and the National Association of Counties. He served as the Association of Minnesota Counties president in 2015.

An Albert Lea High School graduate, Shoff said his experiences have been instrumental in grant and funding opportunities, incorporating best practices and programs in Freeborn County and establishing contacts throughout different levels of government.

Looking to the future, Shoff said the county will need to continue to explore doing “more with less” to build and maintain the county’s roads, and noted the importance of making fiscally responsible and evidence-based decisions. He said the county has a $5 million deficit to build the roads presently in place.

He talked about the benefit the Bridge Avenue project from Hammer Road south will have on the community, as well as work on East Main Street.

Regarding the Stables area, he pointed out the county’s vote of $300,000 in support for the project as the city continues to pursue state bonding dollars.

“We, as a community, cannot move forward if we keep talking about the same projects,” Shoff said. “It is gratifying that the county committed to the project with our support and funding.”

He said Freeborn and Waseca counties and the city of Albert Lea are developing a plan for the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad line from Albert Lea to south of Hartland and could potentially partner with Waseca County for the purchase of the Canadian Pacific line that extends to Waseca.

“The potential development of the UP line through Albert Lea will be a wonderful redevelopment opportunity in the heart of Albert Lea,” Shoff said.

The county also continues to work with the city and DNR officials for the Blazing Star Trail project.

Shoff has been involved with the the issues surrounding Mayo Clinic Health System’s decision to move most inpatient services from Albert Lea to Austin since the announcement was made in June 2017 and continues to attend Save Our Hospital meetings.

He said he has always pursued opportunities where Freeborn County can cooperate with Albert Lea and said he supports the county continuing with its Immigration and Customs Enforcement contract to house federal ICE detainees at the Freeborn County jail. He noted he supports exploring further opportunities for increased revenue in this area.

Shoff said the county is also exploring the possibility of entering a proposal for a new Veterans Affairs nursing home in the community and noted he thinks Albert Lea is poised to be a viable location for a new nursing home.

He supports continuing to work on growing the community, developing and expanding industries here and recruiting new businesses to come here.

Shoff is the first person to announce their plans for the District 4 seat.