Six candidates vying for the Redwood County Fourth Commissioner District shared their views at a forum in the RACC Oct. 27.


Voters in Redwood County’s Fourth Commissioner District got a good look at the six candidates vying for that seat Tuesday at a forum sponsored by the Redwood Area Chamber and Tourism office. The forum, which was held at the RACC, was also broadcast live on KLGR.

A variety of questions were posed to each of the six candidates who are going to be on the primary election ballot Tuesday.

Those candidates, including Priscilla Klabunde, Tim Beske, Patrick Flahaven, Jacob Frank, Dick Wacek and Bob Van Hee, were given a chance to answer questions about everything from economic development to budgets and tax increases. Each candidate was also given the chance to talk a little about themselves and to talk about why they opted to put their name out as a candidate for the position.

For Klabunde, running for county board is a way for her to serve her community and to give back to a community that has given much to her and her family.

Beske talked about his experience working with the county board, especially as it related to technology, when he served a two-year stint as the coordinator for that program in the county.

Flahaven also talked about his years of experience in government as a 33-year member of the Minnes-ota State Patrol.

Frank talked about coming back home four years ago and seeing the need for improving the economic state of the county by creating more jobs.

For Wacek, he would serve on county board in an effort to hold the line on high taxes by closing the checkbook for a while.

Bob Van Hee talked about his experience, too.

Van Hee said his experience as a teacher, coach, baseball team manager and a former city council member for the City of Redwood Falls  would help him in the role.

Each of the candidates was also asked what it felt was the single greatest concern for the county.

Beske referred to the difficult economic times ahead and the tough decisions the board is going to have to make as it sees its aid from the state and federal government cut.

Beske said everyone wants services provided, but he added there may be things the county has to hold back on in the future.

Flahaven said the challenge of maintaining a high quality of life in challenging economic times is a major concern for him.

“We’re not getting a lot of help from Washington or St. Paul,” said Flahaven.

Finding the balance between what is needed and what is not as necessary is not going ot be an easy task.

While Frank agreed the economy is a major concern, he said there is a need to better communicate on the part of the county board with its residents.

Wacek said the county needs to focus on living within its means.

Van Hee stated there is a need to create more jobs countywide, adding the county needs to refocus itself on what worked in the past – the production side of the economy. He said it is time to get back to the things that worked, adding the best resource the county has is its people.

What the county needs ot focus on is working on creating blue collar jobs for that great resource.

Klabunde said there is a need to continue working with state and federal legislators to address unfunded mandates.

She added part of the success of the county in the future is going to be in sharing resources with other counties and opening up that discussion with the county’s neighbors.

Each of the six candidates agreed one of the things the county has going for it is its employees.

Each talked about the good work ethic that is so prevalent in this area.

Others said the county has seen successes in its highway department, as well as in law enforcement.

When it comes ot economic development, each of the candidates talked about the value of working not only to enhance the county through its own EDA but in working with other entities, such as the Redwood Area Development Corporation, the Minnesota Inventors Congress and the Chamber.

Each of the candidates said they have had the chance to get out and meet with the public to find out what their concerns are, and each committed to doing their best to address those concerns should they be elected Tuesday.

The primary election is scheduled to be held Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

Only those residents of the Fourth Commissioner District, which includes Wards II and III of Redwood Falls are eligible to vote in this election.

The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary election then would advance to a general election which is scheduled to take place Nov. 24.

The winner of that election would finish off the current county board term and would be seated immediately after the election has been certified.

The candidates asked for the support of voters, but also encouraged people to exercise their privilege by getting out and voting for their candidate Tuesday.