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4 vie for District 5 votes

July 30, 2012
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Four Martin County residents are vying to be the next county commissioner to represent District 5.

A primary for these four candidates is scheduled for Aug. 14, with the top two contenders to face off in the general election on Nov. 6.

District 5 covers the northwest portion of Martin County, including the northwest corner of Fairmont, and the communities of Trimont, Ormsby and Northrop. Current District 5 representative, Jack Potter, announced this spring he will not seek re-election. He has been District 5's representative since 2001.

Steve Flohrs

o Lifelong resident of Galena Township, near Ormsby.

o Current chairman of the Martin County Soil and Water District, received Supervisor of the Year award from the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in 2011.

o Crop farmer and former dairy farmer.

Why did you decide to run?

"I felt that rural and small-town Martin County needed a good representation. We certainly are a unit; Martin County doesn't just consist of Fairmont. These are real people and they vote. Currently, the commissioners do a fine representation of our districts, but we need that continued voice out there."

What experience do you have that would help you as commissioner?

"I've been on the soil and water board of supervisors for 10 years, and that's an elected position. I'm currently the chairman. Last year, I also took an 18-month leadership course. ... I've also been to several of the meetings, and I've seen how the board operates. I know they've been doing a lot of work down here with the ditches, tiles and roads."

What are the specific issues of interest for you?

"I believe we need to run the county as conservatively as possible, and not spend any money we don't have to. I know the state is trying to push a lot of mandates on us, but I think even with that, we need to try to operate as efficiently as possible. ... I know road upkeep is a big one. We need to keep improving roads out there, along with the drainage ditches. Those are the huge things that are of concern right now."

Are there other reasons why you are interested in serving District 5?

"I'm just making sure that District 5 has a good voice, and I think I would get along with the other people on the committees. I think I would provide good listening for outstate Martin County, and I think I would be the primary representative of ag, because other than Jack Potter, there are no other farmers on the board."

Keith Hartmann

o Resident of Rutland Township, between Northrop and Granada.

o Former American government teacher in Waseca, and a substitute teacher for the Martin County school districts.

o Currently a farmer and a seed dealer for Dekalb Asgrow. Has farmed in Rutland Township area for 37 years.

Why did you decide to run?

"I've always had an interest in it, and I enjoy working with people. Jack Potter has been a good commissioner, and this is at a time in my life where I'd like to jump in. I've been watching and following the commissioners, and I've had an interest in government because of what I taught. I'm also a good listener and would be able to represent people through my experiences in teaching and sales."

What experience do you have that would help you as commissioner?

"My main experience would be teaching American government. I subbed at the Martin County schools for 20 years, and I've been keeping a watchful eye on things going on in the county. I have an interest to see the county government work and I want to be involved."

What are the specific issues of interest for you?

"I think we need to keep moving forward with farming and ag. We need to increase and sustain jobs and continue our growth with that, because it's the biggest thing we have. ... One concern is that the state and Feds keep cutting funds, and it's the county's responsibility to take the money we do have to make it go as far as we can and trying to find where is best to use that money. We need to put the money where it will get the best results."

Are there other reasons why you are interested in serving District 5?

"I've always had the interest in government, and I'm at a time in my life to step forward and do a good job representing District 5. I think it's important to look for opportunities for economic growth and just listening to the people, both the youth and the adults and seniors. And I would just encourage all the people to get out and vote for the candidate of their choice on Aug. 14."

Rochelle Krusemark

o Resident of rural Trimont for 32 years. Originally born in Truman.

o Former teacher for Truman, Butterfield and Mountain Lake, and former substitute teacher in Fairmont and Martin County West school districts.

o Currently a part-time crop insurance claims adjuster for NAU, and farms with husband, Brad.

Why did you decide to run?

"To me, it's the next step in my journey of community service. My experience is diverse; I'm familiar with ag and finance, budgeting and education. ... I've also always been interested in public policy. I've volunteered with many youth programs, such as 4-H and Boy Scouts, where I taught things such as parliamentary procedure."

What experience do you have that would help you as commissioner?

"Most of what I've done has been volunteer work. ... I recently finished a two-year leadership cohort with the Minnesota Ag and Leadership program. There were nine seminars around the state and there was also a trip to Washington D.C., and while there, we got to spend half a day with the National Association of Counties. I think that's what really got me interested in serving the county. ... Seeing how it's done in other parts of the state, it was good to see how things did and didn't work."

What are the specific issues of interest for you?

"Mostly it would be to maintain the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. There are things that will need our attention, such as maintaining infrastructure, enhancing the industries we have here and attracting more industries to come here. ... There are always things that can be enhanced, like water quality. My husband and I always try to be environmental and financial stewards and mentors. I think our duty is to be good stewards in all aspects of life. ... I also have the experience with budgets; I think we can evaluate individual programs and their impact."

Are there other reasons why you are interested in serving District 5?

"Martin County is still a great place. Both of our sons are ready to move back to the Midwest. I'd been encouraged to run before, but Jack's been a great representative. But now I feel this is the next step for me. I've never professed to know it all, but with my networking, if I don't have the answer to a question, I can call on someone who can answer it. ... I would appreciate the chance to serve as a voice of my community."

Michael Schultz

o Grew up and currently resides in rural Trimont.

o Former Trimont business owner.

o Currently farms and works as a part-time corrections officer with the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

Why did you decide to run?

"I'm a people person, and I'm not afraid to do things for people. The running joke with me is that it's always about everyone else. I also have business experience all on my own ... experience running my own business as a horseshoer, and I also ran my own restaurant, The Burger Barn, in Trimont in the 1990s.

What experience do you have that would help you as commissioner?

"My business experience and my sheriff's office experience is my biggest asset, along with the agriculture. My different venues of experience are diversified. ... With the Martin County Sheriff's Posse, I started as the captain. We had regulations, by-laws, all those things we had to learn."

What are the specific issues of interest for you?

"Eventually, we will have to do something about the jail, even though no one wants to. There are lots of issues there. I would like to see more small businesses that could be added to the district. I also think we need to figure out a way to start saving for the big projects such as infrastructure. We need to figure out what we're going to do before we start. The roads are a big one. ... And I think we need to promote the schedules of the Martin County Express. A lot of people don't know that the buses are out there in these other communities, and that should be promoted more."

Are there other reasons why you are interested in serving District 5?

"I have a lot of volunteer experience. I volunteered for the Farm Bureau Board and the conservation board. I've been a firearms safety instructor for several years, and the Martin County Sheriff's Posse, that was my baby. Jack's been a very good leader, and I have enough networking that if I didn't have an answer, I know someone who would."



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