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Lake County Commissioner District 1 Candidate Forum

The six candidates vying for the District 1 Lake County Commissioner’s seat met before a full house at the Claire Nelson Community Cen­ter in Finland on Tuesday, July 25th. The gather­ing gave attendees an opportunity to hear each of the candidate’s ideas on a number of important issues.

The candidates; Joe Baltich, Paul Hartshorn, Colby Abazs, Mark Haarmon, Jack Nelson and Steve Marolt responded to questions on the fol­lowing topics.

  • What are your top priorities if chosen to rep­resent District 1 and how will you address those priorities?
  • What is your plan to communicate with con­stituents and keep them informed?
  • How do you plan to represent the entire dis­trict?
  • Do you have a plan to increase housing and relieve the property tax burden?
  • How do you plan to address necessary ser­vices to provide for public safety?
  • What plans do you have for dealing with issues related to trash collection and recy­cling?

The forum was moderated by Dan Cahill Mathews. The candidates were given time to re­spond to each question with an additional thirty seconds to either add to their comments or rebut their opponents. The questions were well chosen and each participant had the opportunity to talk in some detail about their approach to addressing critical issues that Lake County and District 1 are facing.

Each candidate expressed the importance of being accessible to voters and commented on the need for the open exchange of ideas between the public and elected officials. Themes that con­tinually came up over the course of the evening included the need for employment opportunities and affordable housing to attract new residents and help younger community members see a viable future for staying in the community. Tax relief, protecting the environment, providing broadband service throughout the county, and keeping the police, fire and rescue services fully funded and staffed were also addressed.

All of the candidates have deep roots in the area and diverse backgrounds as business own­ers, veterans, former local office holders, and community activists. They each have a strong commitment to public service and a desire to address the many issues that will help bring vi­brancy to District 1 and to the County. As resi­dents of Lake County, your engagement is also needed. Two Harbors Community Television was on hand to record the proceedings and the forum in its entirety can be viewed on their web­site (https://reflect-two-harbors.cablecast.tv/Ca­blecastPublicSite/show/6513?channel=1).

The candidates face a primary election on Au­gust 8th with the top two candidates advancing to the general election on November 7th.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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