PINE ISLAND — There will be at least three new mayors in southeastern Minnesota after November's election, and an empty seat on the Goodhue County Board will get a new commissioner.
With the filing period ending Tuesday, several races will be heading to the primary ballot across the region, including at least one county commissioner seat in six different counties. One of those is Goodhue County where four individuals have filed for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Barney Nesseth.
Rod Steele, the current mayor of Pine Island, is one of those candidates. Steele said he felt it was time to move on from nearly a decade at the helm in Pine Island.
"I do believe periodic turnover is beneficial," Steele said. "I've had my say in Pine Island for eight years now."
With Pine Island being mostly in Goodhue County but partially in Olmsted County, Steele said he feels Pine Island gets a little overlooked when it comes to representation in Goodhue County. In addition to his time as mayor and on the city council and planning commission in Pine Island, Steele said he brings working relationships with state agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Department of Natural Resources to the table.
The other three candidates for the District 3 seat include Cherry Grove Township Supervisor Keith Allen, Roscoe Township Board Supervisor Todd Greseth, and retired Navy Lt. Comm. Phillip Charles Parrish.
Another seat being vacated has drawn a crowd in Wabasha County, where Commission Rich Hall has declined to run for another term. Looking to take his place are Plainview resident Marcella Kahn, Wabasha realtor Paul Kruger Jr., and Robert Walkes, who currently serves on the Wabasha County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments.
Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse will face off against a pair of challengers: Janie Farrar and Mike Wilson.
Dowse said having some opponents on the ballot helps keep everyone sharp. Additionally, seeing more people interested in public service might make the job of whoever is elected in November just that much easier.
"One of the big jobs of the mayor in Red Wing is getting people interested in serving their community, appointing them to boards and commissions," Dowse said. "During my term, I helped found a new board, the Arts and Culture Commission. I’ve always been passionate about getting people to serve the community."
A contested race, he added, is a good excuse to go out and listen to constituents.
"What you do as a municipal official is listen more than you speak," he said. "That's going to be more important with COVID-19 recovery and listening to people as we get the economy back on track."
On the ballot
Here is a look at the candidates in the early filing period; the filing period will be July 28-Aug. 11 for local school boards and other races that do not have primaries. Races noted with * will have a primary.
*Republicans: John L. Berman, Bob Carney Jr., Cynthia Gail, Jason Lewis and James Reibestein
*Democrats: incumbent Tina Smith, Steve Carlson, Ahmad R. Hassan, Paula Overby and Christopher Lovell Seymore Sr.
Legal Marijuana Now: Kevin O'Connor
Grassroots Legalize Cannabis: Oliver Steinberg
House District 2: incumbent Angie Craig, Democrat; Tyler Kisner, Republican; Adam Weeks, Legal Marijuana Now
Senate 21: incumbent Mike Goggin, R-Red Wing and Ralph Kaehler, D-St. Charles
House 21A: incumbent Barb Haley, R-Red Wing and Matt Bruns, D-Red Wing
House 21B: incumbent Steve Drazkowsi, R-Mazeppa and Elisa Diesslin, D-Elgin
District 1: incumbent Linda Flanders and Les Anderson
*District 3: Keith Allen, Todd Greseth, Phillip Charles Parrish and Rod Steele
District 5: incumbent Paul Drotos and Edward Moritz
Soil and Water: Jeff Beckman - District 3, Ed McNamara - District 4 and Christopher Hinck - District 5
*District 1: Marcella Kahn, Paul Kruger Jr. and Robert Walkes
Lake City City Council (elect 3): Jason Devinny, Megan Kramer, Cindy McGrath, Katie Novak and Andru Peters
Lake City mayor: Mark Nicholas and John Redmond
*Red wing mayor: incumbent Sean Dowse, Janie Farrar and Mike Wilson
Red Wing Ward 1: incumbent Kim Beise
Red Wing Ward 2: incumbent John Becker and Andy Klitzke
Red Wing Wards 3 and 4: incumbent Evan Brown and Ernest Stone