Four candidates have applied for the District 6 seat on the St. Croix County Board.
The vacancy opened when second-term supervisor Bob Long moved out of the district. Board members will vote at their Jan. 8 meeting on an interim supervisor who will fill the term through the next board election in April 2020.
Board Chair Roger Larson said he plans to meet informally with each candidate ahead of the Jan. 8 meeting. He said a strong understanding of the role and issues of the entire county are most important in an applicant.
Clarence "Buck" Malick, who previously served 16 years on the county board before losing a 2014 re-election run, and Tim Hall, who ran against Long for the seat last spring and lost by 10 votes, are among the candidates. Hudson Police and Fire Commission members Greg Sarno and Paul Adams also have applied.
Malick, a retired attorney, said he applied because he thought his experience on the board would help him get up to speed the fastest.
"I think I could probably be most useful to the citizens of the district," he said.
He said he would wait until taking office to name priority issues. If elected, he said he would meet with key staff to get informed.
"I dont think it's a good idea to make up one's mind in advance because there's so much that can be learned on the pertinent issues once you get into a position," he said.
In his application, Malick says he volunteers with numerous groups, including the Hudson Urban Forestry Board, Hudson Independent Business Association and the St. Croix Valley Foundation board.
Hall emphasized his proactive approach to solving issues. He said his background in leading engineering projects has given him skills in deciding how to best allocate resources.
"I think preventative maintenance and taking a good look ahead at allocation of resources ahead of time is a wise way to use funds," he said.
He said his priorities include protecting the area's environmental resources, attracting new businesses by ensuring quality amenities such as schools and libraries, and improving resources for residents struggling with opioid abuse and mental health issues.
While the county is limited in its ability to legislate on some environmental issues, he said he thinks the board can work with state administrators and area landowners on protecting groundwater quality and sustainable agriculture practices.
"I want to give back. I'm in a stage in my life where i can devote energy and resources to a community that I have received so much from," he said.
According to his application, Hall volunteers on the Hudson Urban Forestry Board and the Hudson Grocery Cooperative's board. He also tutors adults in math and literacy for West CAP.
Adams, who works as a management assistant for St. Paul Public Schools, said his experience serving in the Marine Corps for 27 years, volunteering for a homeowner association board and holding a seat on the South St. Paul Airport Advisory Commission would help him succeed as a board member.
Adams also serves on the Civil Air Patrol in Minnesota, according to his application.
"I love the area, and I have a desire to maintain its livability and sustainability for my grandchildren," he said.
Aside from keeping taxes low, he said his priorities include ensuring residents have access to health care. He added he would want to look into ways to strengthen services at the county hospital, including seeking support from the state.
He said he also would prioritize fostering a fiscal climate that would attract new businesses.
"I believe I bring planning, fiscal and well thought out ideas that can enhance the livability and sustainability of St. Croix County," he said.
Sarno said he declined to comment until the Jan. 8 meeting.
At a May 2018 Hudson Common Council meeting, Sarno denounced the credibility of the Southern Poverty Law Center and spoke in support of the area group Citizens for the St. Croix Valley. The Hudson Star-Observer had recently reported that the SPLC had designated "Citizens" as an anti-Muslim hate group.
"They're worried about (Sharia Law). I'm worried about it in the United States of America and would wonder why anybody else wouldn't be worried about it as well," he said during public comment.
In his application, Sarno wrote that he volunteered with the Hudson Hockey Association and the Hudson Booster Baseball Program for several years, in addition to volunteering with high school activities when his children were in school. He is also involved with the Knights of Columbus, he said.