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Elmore mayor joins 23A race

Bjorn Olson

ELMORE — Elmore Mayor Bjorn Olson has entered the race to replace state Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont, who will retire in 2021.

“We need a representative who can passionately represent all of us down here in south-central Minnesota,” Olson said in a press release. “As a father and someone who grew up in this district, I will bring an urgency to the role of advocating for our district’s interests, as you are not simply constituents to me, but also my family, my friends and my community.”

Olson says he was born in Martin County and raised in Faribault County, where he has been a lifelong resident. After graduating from Blue Earth Area High School, he attended Bethel University in St. Paul, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in history and social studies.

Olson and his wife, Hannah, live with their two young children in Elmore, where Olson is serving his second term as mayor. He teaches middle school history in Blue Earth, and also farms 200 acres.

Olson is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving as a commander of the 150 soldiers who comprise the 353rd Transportation Company.

“Through my experiences as a teacher, a farmer, a soldier and a mayor, I know I can bring strong leadership and representation to our district,” he said. “If you give me your vote, I will work tirelessly for our home as your next state representative.”

Gunther announced in December that he will not run again for the seat he has held for 25 years, making the upcoming legislative session his last. His district — 23A — extends from Jackson in the west to Blue Earth in the east, and includes Fairmont. It stretches north almost to St. James.

Two other candidates previously announced they are running. Like Olson, they are Republicans. Whoever emerges from the Republican field would be considered a favorite to win the seat in the conservative-leaning district. Gunther typically received 60 percent of the vote or better.

The other candidates are Shane Schofield, the chairman of the Watonwan County Republican Party; and Tom Nelson, the economic development director in Jackson. More information on their decisions to run can be found at: https://www.fairmontsentinel.com/news/local-news/2020/ 01/02/pair-seeking-to-replace-gunther/

Those seeking more information about Olson may visit his website at: bjornolsonformn.com

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