Election 2022: Sherburne County Commissioner – District 4
ELK RIVER (WJON News) -- There will be a new face on the Sherburne County Board of Commissioners next year with the retirement of Felix Schmiesing.
Clear Lake Township Board President Gary Gray and former Becker Mayor Jerome "Lefty" Kleis are vying to serve the 4th District on the board.
Gray would like to see more transparency in the county's road construction program and be involved in health and human services...
Health and human services is a big deal for me. I have a special needs child, a grown adult now 26. Caregivers and things of that nature are in very short supply. So for me, the health and human services that are mandated by the state and federal government, I think we have to look at that a little better. And, it's not just for special needs and that type of thing, it's for adults with seniors too.
Kleis wants to try to delay the closing of the Sherco coal-fired power plant and limit where solar arrays can be built. He also wants to help bring down property taxes...
A lot of people I've talked to are living on fixed incomes. Their property taxes are going up, some of them as high as 25%. Now, if we have that energy bill on top of that plus the cost of food and inflation, we're going to drive people out of their homes.
Kleis wants to make sure there is border-to-border broadband in Sherburne County. He would like to be able to lobby lawmakers, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, and Xcel Energy to delay the closing of the Sherco coal-fired power plant...
It's one of the cleanest burning coal plants in the nation, and it produces a ton of energy, a lot of good-paying jobs, and Xcel is the highest taxpayer in the state of Minnesota. So, it gives a lot of money to Becker and Sherburne County. So, when they close down, that's going to be a huge tax revenue loss.
Gray says there's been a lot of talk about the Sherco plant going solar, but he says as a county commissioner, he wouldn't have a say in the matter...
Some of the hot-button issues that are out there that I think are not even related to county government, that we can't regulate. You know, the Sherco issue, solar issue, things of that nature. You know, county commissioners do not make energy policy.
Sherburne County's District 4 covers the northwestern part of the county including Clear Lake, Palmer, and a portion of southeast St. Cloud.
Schmiesing has been the District 4 commissioner for 20 years. He was first elected in 2003 and will step down when his term ends at the end of the year.
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