Farm Bureau holds Special Election forum

Ej Photo/Alex Schmidt

The Mitchell county Farm Bureau sponsored a forum at the Milt Owen Nature Center west of Osage, where Keith Sprung of the Farm Bureau fielded questions to the three candidates for the position of county third district county Supervisor in the upcoming special election:

Rita Dvorak of Riceville, Steve Smolik of New Haven, and Amanda Adams of Stacyville.

The special election was in part prompted by the recent appointment of Shannon Paulus, who had served third district supervisor, to the position of County Treasurer. The board then conducted interviews and approved the recess appointment of Adams, then a member of the Stacyville City Council. Adams, a Republican, was sworn in to serve the remainder of the 11 month term, but a petition was submitted with the requisite amount of signatures to recall the appointment and hold a special election for the seat.
Adams is running as an independent candidate, as she failed to get the Republican nomination.

Smolik, the Republican candidate , is a 32 year employee of Mitchell county secondary roads, planning to retire later this year and says “he would like to continue to serve the county i’m a lifelong resident of.”

Dvorak, who works in IT for Olmsted county, is the Democratic candidate. Dvorak lives in Riceville and currently works for Olmstead County in Rochester, Minnesota, in the field of information technology.

When asked to name some of the positive attributes Mitchell county has to offer, Adams said that she was, “…proud of our seasoned professionals in the county, who set a good, progressive example.”

Dvorak said “family farming, which is the backbone, certainly is at the center of life here in Mitchell county.”

The three candidates were largely in agreement on issues of fiscal responsibility and balancing that with economic development, specifically with questions regarding TIF funding, Adams said that the important funding tool “has been and can continue to be used very effectively.”

Dvorak agreed and aded “I would also like to see more usage of TIF revenue toward the road use fund…” and was in favor of using that and more renewable energy, wind turbines and “getting solar panels more efficient and effective”

Smolik said he would bring a voice with experience that could effectively manage the county’s road system: “because I know it”.

All candidates agreed of the immensely positive economic drive brought by large confined animal feed operations (CAFOs) which have multiplied in size and scope in the last several years in their impact.

Dvorak raised the issue that “with any key income stream, management is the most important thing, so we need to manage our county level positions on these operations,” adding that “(our) water quality is an issue we can care about and work to improve.”

Compliance with the state’s master matrix was something that the candidates also agreed could be addressed in a step towards better management of the county’s watershed, although admittedly Adams said that is an issue that she found in her time as a Supervisor, saying “you’re under fire, but your hands are tied. It’s just something you need to contact your legislator about.”

Early and absentee voting is open at the auditor’s office at the courthouse, and the 3rd district special election will be held April 17.

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