5th Ward candidate running unopposed for council seat

Published 10:12 am Monday, June 24, 2024

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With a firm belief of the importance of giving back, Albert Lea resident Keith Van Beek filed for the 5th Ward City Council seat.

Keith Van Beek

With current 5th Ward Councilor Robert Rasmussen not seeking reelection and no one else filing for office, Van Beek will run unopposed in this November’s election.

“I’m a firm believer that if you live in a community, you need to give back,” Van Beek said of why he decided to throw his hat in the ring. “I just firmly believe that it was a good move for me personally, and I just think that it’s important for public service.”

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Van Beek, 53, grew up in Hollandale and graduated from Albert Lea High School with the class of 1989. After some time away, he said he moved back to the area in 2017 with the intention of retiring here some day.

He works as the general manager at Bergdale Harley-Davidson and said he brings a business background to the position on the council.

“I bring a second set of eyes and common sense,” he said. “With my business background, I very much understand budgets and limitations on spending. I also understand, too, that there’s areas that can be improved.”

Van Beek said there is much potential for growth in the community, whether that’s with retail or population.

“We have such a beautiful city that I think it could grow in the correct ways,” he said.

He said he is enjoying seeing the revival of the downtown area, and said when he grew up, he remembers coming to Albert Lea with his mother once every two weeks to do their shopping.

“I would like to see that grow back again — with a vibrant downtown and a vibrant retail,” he said.

He said he would also like to see something done about the illicit drug activity in town and talked about the importance of standing up for what he believes in, even if it’s unpopular. He said he’s not afraid of taking on a challenge.

Prior to work at Bergdale, he said he worked with chemically dependent teenagers in a residential treatment center, and he likes to support programs for youth. He would take the youth camping twice a year and guide them to make changes.

“I really enjoyed those kids and seeing them grow and change,” he said.

In addition to his work, he said he has been active in motorcycle fundraising for the Freeborn County Humane Society and different veterans organizations.

He said he is on the executive board for an organization out of Clarks Grove called Ride for Heroes, which collects funds for veterans.

He lives with his significant other, Andrea Roe, in a home on Triangle Drive.