There are six candidates on the ballot for the District 1 office on the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners. Elections for District 1 county commissioner will take place in the primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
Otter Tail County’s District 1 covers Blowers Township, Butler Township, Corliss Township, Dead Lake Township, City of Dent, Edna Township, Gorman Township, Hobart Township, Homestead Township, New York Mills, Newton Township, Paddock Township, Perham Township, city of Perham, Pine Lake Township, city of Richville, and Rush lake Township.
The six candidates on the primary election ballot for the office of Otter Tail County District 1 county commissioner are Andrew Klinnert, Vance Bachmann, Dan Bucholz, Marcia Huddleston, Betsy Roder, and Rick Snelgrove.
The Perham Focus asked each candidate to respond to a few questions. Here are their answers.
Town of residence: I live on Rush Lake with my wife Daidre for 41 years.
Age and occupation: I am sixty-five years old. I have worked for Arvig Companies for forty-five years the last twenty in a Director Level Management position.
Educational background: I started out with an Associate degree in telecommunications and have added multiple writing, communications, and management classes over the years.
Family: We have three adult children who went through the Perham School system. They are all married with children and working in professional capacities.
Why are you running for District 1 Otter Tail County commissioner? I have been involved in Local Government and Church Boards for thirty years and know that my organizational and communication skills will be an asset to the Otter Tail County Board.
What do you see as the top priority for the county? The top priority for the County will be to address the additional pressure of people wanting to establish rural residences and the roadways and infrastructure it will require. Along with accommodating an influx of people post-pandemic, we need to protect the resources that make this area what it is.
How would you rate the performance of the current county commission? I feel the current Board has made real progress on multiple fronts but there are some projects and initiatives that may have been handled differently in regard to procuring buy-in as the projects started.
Klinnert's campaign can be followed on Facebook on his page Andy Klinnert for Otter Tail County Commissioner.
Town of residence: Perham
Age and occupation: I am 43, and owner of Bachmann Industries LLC a DC power sales & service company.
Educational background: I have an Associates Degree in Telecommunication Technology.
Family: I married to my beautiful wife, Angela (Holzer) Bachmann, for 16 years and counting with two children, Kallie (12) & Dalen (10).
Why are you running for District 1 Otter Tail County commissioner? I want to protect a Great County and see it prosper.
What do you see as the top priority for the county? Number one is flatten taxes while keeping OTC moving forward..
How would you rate the performance of the current county commission? 3 out of 5, he has done great things with the Resource Recovery Plant but has failed on others like the bike trail.
Bachmann's campaign can be followed on Facebook on his page Vance Bachmann for District 1 County Commissioner.
Town of residence: Perham.
Age and occupation: 62, retired dairy farmer, continue to hobby farm and rent land.
Educational background: Graduated from Perham High School.
Family: married to Andrea Dulski-Bucholz. She is the Dean of the teacher education programs at Mayville State University; Daughter Jackie Peters lives in Alexandria-CEO of the YMCA; Son Ben Bucholz lives in Perham-Project Manager at Hammers Construction.
Why are you running for District 1 Otter Tail County commissioner? County Commissioners serve the people they represent and that is what I want to do-represent the people's voices in county government decisions. My experience working in the dairy business has given me many insights on how to manage difficult and sometimes unknown challenges. That is exactly what our local, county and state governments are dealing with right now. As a township supervisor for Gorman Township, I get to know the people, listen to their concerns and township needs, work with residents, businesses, city leaders and other elected officials to move forward on issues and get the job done. That is what I will do as county commissioner. My father, James Bucholz, was a county commissioner for 2 terms back in the 60's,originally sparking my interest in county government. Dairy farming limited my time to seek office but I now have hours available and a commitment to work hard for District 1 as a resident of OTC, a century farm and lake shore owner.
What do you see as the top priority for the county? I believe that work to maintain a balanced budget will be priority and will also prove to be most challenging as businesses, agriculture, schools, healthcare organizations and county departments will need greater supports to move forward with the challenges that COVID-19 has brought. Planning for the population growth that is and will continue to occur in Otter Tail County will also be priority. From maintaining the quality of our lakes to strengthening our roads and other infrastructures, there is much work to be done.
How would you rate the performance of the current county commission? The county commission has many responsibilities and in my opinion has always done the best they could on any given issue. They appear to work well with other county government departments. I plan to continue working with others to be well-informed of any issue brought to the commission. I know how to listen to people and make decisions based on available information.
Bucholz does not have an online presence at this time. Bucloz does have a meet and greet scheduled from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. at Paul Miller Park on August 6th and invite anyone interested in visiting with him.
Town of residence: I live in New York Mills and also have a cabin on Big Pine Lake in Perham.
Age and occupation: I am 41 years old and I am the Executive Director of the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.
Educational background: I have a BSBA in finance from Valparaiso University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
Family: I am married to Nick Roder and we have four children, ages 12, 11, 8, and 5. My parents are Ed & Pat Buerkle, and I have four sisters, one of whom also lives in NYM with her family (Julie & Matt Radniecki).
Why are you running for District 1 Otter Tail County commissioner? I believe that Otter Tail County is the best place to live, work and visit, and that we need to maintain and protect our assets and work toward continued progress and growth into the future. I am a strong rural leader and advocate with years of experience managing budgets, connecting people, and building community. I believe in authentic leadership, common sense, transparency, honesty, finding commonalities, and listening to all sides. Particularly now during the current challenge of COVID, my experience balancing budgets and understanding business recovery, as well as my involvement in multiple boards and with a variety of businesses and organizations throughout district 1 will allow me to make the best decisions for the residents of Otter Tail County.
What do you see as the top priority for the county? Our top priority is maintaining our assets while addressing top needs like workforce, housing, and economic development, which grows the tax base and keeps taxes low. Specifically, we must take care of our most valuable assets: lakes, land, and natural resources; invest in public infrastructure: roads, utilities and waste management; grow the economy and population to meet future needs; enhance resilience and quality of life; adapt to environmental and social changes; and help people, businesses and communities thrive. We must balance the budget, keep taxes low, and also support necessary programs and a thriving economy, ensuring that county staff, residents and businesses have the resources that they need to survive and thrive in the short-term, while also prioritizing the elements identified in our long-range strategic plan.
How would you rate the performance of the current county commission? I think the current county board has done their best to address the ongoing needs of the county. There are some positive things happening, and there is always room for improvement as well. In talking with folks around district 1, I am hearing that there is a general concern with roads and particularly with county highway 34 and the Perham to Pelican trail, a project which has not been well executed. Some positives include the recent creation of the OTC CDA (Community Development Agency) board which is addressing several of the top priorities for the county including housing, workforce, business development, public/private partnerships, and general strengthening of communities. Additionally, I am pleased that a Long-Range Strategic Plan is being created and that the process has included resident engagement on determining the priorities for the county.
Roder's campaign can be followed on her Facebook page Betsy Roder for OTC Commissioner.
Note: Snelgrove's answers came from his current campaign flyer on his campaign's Facebook page.
Town of residence: New York Mills
Age and occupation: 65 years old and a farmer for over 60 years.
Educational background: Perham High School graduate.
Family: Dedicated husband to Diana for 30 years, father of two, and grandpa of two.
Why are you running for District 1 Otter Tail County commissioner? to be a champion for taxpayers.
What do you see as the top priority for the county? Bringing a common-sense approach to local affairs. Listening to taxpayers- will work for the public, to focusing on road improvements, to advocate for the preservation of agriculture in our rural community, to be instrumental in preventing tax increase from lake improvement district on local lakes, to be building a stronger relationship between the county and taxpayers, and to oppose the Perham and Pelican Bike Trail.
How would you rate the performance of the current county commission? It will be a privilege to work with everyone to achieve a better relationship between the taxpayers and the county. There is always room for improvement.
Snelgrove's campaign can be followed on his Facebook page Rick Snelgrove for Otter Tail County Commissioner.
Candidate Marcia Huddleston did not provide answers to the questions presented to candidates.
Her campaign website is marciahuddlestononline.com/.