Letter: The All-American Albert Lean

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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When Vern Rasmussen Jr. relinquishes his mayoral duties at the end of the year, he will have served our city for 18 years. Many thanks to Vern for his public service, dedication to Albert Lea and strong leadership.

Knowing Vern since Brookside Junior High, I remember a boy filled with kindness and friendliness. He was an athlete on the basketball court and baseball field, and it was clear his smarts would make him successful.

It is no surprise that 40 years later, Vern still draws people to him because of his good-hearted nature. His affability remains ever-present when he joins in at the yearly golf tournament to honor our friends who have passed. Life-long friends love him.

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Given Vern’s abilities and acumen, my schoolmate became a success and supported his community in countless ways. Vern will be known as one of Albert Lea’s strongest leaders, given his life’s accomplishments.

Vern’s legacy as mayor is defined by inclusivity, collaboration and positivity. Here’s the deal with Vern — he’s more a diplomat than a politician. His calm and collected manner has served him well. This despite some nonsense, falsehoods and abuse unfairly thrown his way, reinforcing the unfortunate side of public service.

Not a hothead nor braggart, Vern has been a mayor who has governed by listening, convening and focusing on the future. His leadership style can be called participatory because he encouraged people to speak up and shared power and responsibility with his council members and staff.

Vern’s most significant accomplishments are evidenced by what my out-of-town guests say to me when we drive around Albert and take in locally owned restaurants. The guests express similar sentiments: “Wow, what a beautiful city. What a great downtown. And what a tight-knit community.”

Vern has enhanced the vitality and reputation of Albert Lea and expanded a more diverse business base and population. His has positively affected people’s lives.

I share his optimism about Albert Lea and hope Vern continues his public service through higher office. We need Vern in St. Paul to bring financial support to our city where others have not.

Martha Jones Sichko
Albert Lea