RED WING — Brad Anderson knows that to be successful as the County Board chair you need to be patient enough to solve puzzles. Anderson told the Republican Eagle after his election to chair for the second time in three years, “many comment county government is the quiet government, implementing the decisions of the federal and state government. Reality is our challenge is fitting all those puzzle pieces together and delivering the programs for county citizens.”

The puzzle metaphor is also appropriate when looking at commissioners’ work in scheduling their time. Along with careers and family responsibilities, county commissioners serve on multiple boards and commissions that require preparation.

Former Commissioner Barney Nesseth was vice chair in 2020 and was expected to step in as chair in 2021. However, Nesseth did not run for reelection in 2020, citing his demanding full-time job. Anderson reflected about Nesseth, “he represented us all very well.”

With Nesseth's departure, Commissioner Jason Majerus, District 4 was likely to be named chair in 2021, but he told his fellow commissioners that the added responsibility of serving as chair would be difficult for him this year.

“Commissioner Majerus has a demanding personal career and his acknowledgment of the time commitment to take the chair role in his decision to nominate another commissioner is to be commended,” Anderson said. “The demands for quick response and consultation with staff by the chair is critical for the staff at the county to continue the important work of the county and my schedule will be able to meet that demand.”

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Though Anderson was chair two years ago, the priorities of and demands on the board and board chair have changed drastically since 2019. Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic is the main challenge facing the county. Anderson stated:

“There will be a need to shift from safety nets as provided with federal and state funding to longer term recovery strategies. Counties will need to advocate along with local cities as to how and if programs will be developed. We also need to be involved in advocating for the continuation of program changes that have been initiated because of COVID-19 that have improved efficiencies -- like waivers to use telemedicine, in-person meetings and delivery of services. We need to learn from this pandemic and capitalize on the positive changes we can incorporate into day-to-day operations.”

Anderson was unanimously elected chair by his fellow commissioners. Paul Drotos, the previous chair, said to Anderson at the Jan. 5 meeting, “I cannot tell you how much I admire your extreme thoughtfulness and experience in making this county good. Your lifelong understanding and commitment to the county and to its government has made you a teacher, a mentor and a friend to all of the citizens of Goodhue County.”

Anderson ended his interview with the Republican Eagle by stating, “Thank you to the citizens of Goodhue County for the continued safe practices you are doing to protect the most vulnerable and the people who work among them as best we can from the spread of Covid-19. Keep masking and social distancing and stay safe, the Commissioners will continue to work hard for this County and you the citizens.”