Shoff looking forward to another term on county board

Published 4:39 pm Thursday, October 27, 2022

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When Freeborn County Board Chairman Chris Shoff first ran for office in 2006, he said he did so mostly to bring a younger voice to the board.

Chris Shoff

He wanted to work on economic development and encourage the county to cooperate more with the city.

While he said the county and city are working together more with a shared services committee and there is now a merged IT department, to name a few, these are still issues that are a work in progress.

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Shoff said he would like to continue those efforts in another term on the board. He is up for reelection for District 4 in November and is running unopposed.

Shoff, 48, who grew up in Albert Lea and graduated high school in 1992, said he likes identifying needs, seeing projects come together and get completed, along with helping people out.

He said he is proud to see many issues that have been talked about for a long time finally come to fruition during his time in office thus far. Examples, he said, include Bridge Avenue, which had been talked about before that for almost 60 years; the Stables annexation; and even televising the board meetings.

Shoff said he remembers when his father, Niles Shoff, was Albert Lea mayor in the 1960s and there was talk about Bridge Avenue from the Freeborn County Fairgrounds to Security Bank. At that time, they were going to do the pavement and sewer and water and the cost was estimated at $48,000. That stretch, when completed in the last few years, was $4 million.

“Think about all that time, energy and money through 60 years talking about that project,” Shoff said. Though he recognizes sometimes it is a challenge with small counties with limited resources, he would rather tackle a project and move forward.

During his time in office thus far, Shoff said he is proud of the Bridge Avenue project, the annexation of the Stables area into Albert Lea, the implementation of the curbside recycling program and the work done on the new Environmental Services building.

He is also proud of the county’s investment into the fairgrounds, the work underway to invest in the county’s buildings, the work being done now to bring an interchange at Bath Road on Interstate 90 and the new VA clinic that first came to Albert Lea in 2014.

He said the impact of that clinic on Albert Lea has been immense as people come from a 60- to 90-mile radius.

While there is still a gap in funding available to build and maintain the county’s roads, he said the county used to have a $6 million deficit annually in funding needed. Today, that’s probably down to $1.5 million or $2 million thanks to the board’s use of tools provided by the state, he said.

Shoff served as Association of Minnesota Counties president in 2015 — the first and only person from Freeborn County to ever do so — and was on the board of directors for the National Association of Counties from 2016 to 2020. Now, he is on the health and transportation committees for the Association of Minnesota Counties.

In his next term, Shoff said he wants to continue to work on economic development in the county.

Shoff is married to his wife, Amanda, and has three stepchildren and three step-grandchildren.

He attended University of Minnesota and Logan Chiropractic School in Chesterfield, Missouri, and has been a chiropractor now for 20 years.