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Bulletin letters to the editor: Candidate endorsements

Lehrke has experience, leadership to be effective

It has been my pleasure to serve you in the Minnesota House of Representatives for the past two years. When I announced my retirement this past spring, I did so with a heavy heart. I made the decision not to seek re-election so I could spend more time with my family. I want you to know that I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to represent this great district at our State Capitol.

When I decided to retire, I wanted to find a candidate who would continue the fight, to speak out against special interests and not be afraid to stand up and do what is right for the people of this district. I know how independent this area is, and an independent-minded legislator is exactly what you expect and deserve. That is why I turned to my good friend and former campaign manager Derrick Lehrke. I asked Lehrke if he would consider running for state representative and thankfully he agreed. You need to look no further than Lehrke's efforts on the Cottage Grove City Council to know that he isn't afraid to stand up and speak out for what is right, even when it is not a popular position.

I fully and strongly endorse Lehrke's candidacy for House of Representatives. I know he has the experience, tools and leadership skills to be an effective voice for you in St. Paul. Like me, you may not agree with Lehrke on every issue, but his work ethic and character make him the right candidate for District 54A. Please join me in voting for Derrick Lehrke on Nov. 6.

John Kriesel

Cottage Grove

Kriesel has served as a Republican member of the Minnesota House the past two years

Sieben, Schoen will focus on real issues

Our state is facing major issues related to job growth, education funding, affordable health care, the cost of higher education and safe communities. Having the leadership skills and experience to address these difficult issues is imperative when casting our votes on Nov. 6.

I had the privilege of serving with Sen. Katie Sieben for four years at the Capitol. Sieben works across the aisle to get things done for our community. She focuses on issues that are important to the voters in our district, such as job creation, education funding and the environment. Sieben led the charge to pay back the shift in education funding used to balance the budget. Sieben is responsive to our needs and a strong advocate on our behalf.

While serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives, I focused on public safety policies that would keep our communities safe. Safe neighborhoods are essential to growing a community. As a Cottage Grove police officer, Dan Schoen has been keeping our community safe for many years. As our state representative, Schoen will continue to promote policies that make our communities safer. This past session, Schoen spent a lot of time at the Capitol helping pass legislation making it illegal to sell synthetic drugs. He has the skills and the passion to move Minnesota forward.

After shutting down the government and focusing on divisive social issues, we need leadership at the Capitol that is going to get back to the basics. Sieben and Schoen understand that people want progress on the real issues: jobs, health care, education, public safety and the environment. They are committed to moving Minnesota forward. Please join me in voting for Katie Sieben and Dan Schoen on Nov. 6.

Karla Bigham

Cottage Grove

Bigham is a former DFL member of the Minnesota House and a past Cottage Grove City Council member

Give Obama, Sieben and Schoen your votes

I am writing because I believe this election to be one of the most important elections in my lifetime. As someone who has been active in the labor movement for almost 40 years, this election will likely determine the future of the labor movement and the middle class for years to come.

President Barack Obama inherited a mess from the previous president and I can't understand why any person in the middle class would think going back to the policies of the previous administration would benefit or help anyone in the middle class. Those policies failed to help the middle class back then, they certainly will not help under Mitt Romney, who is all for helping the rich get richer.

I am equally concerned about my local elections in the Minnesota Legislature. In the past, even though the political parties may not have agreed on how to resolve certain issues, they did agree to compromise. The last Legislature could not agree to compromise on anything. We need to elect candidates who will support the middle class. That's why I believe Katie Sieben has a proven track record; one only has to look at her voting record and see that Sieben has consistently stood with working people. She grew up in Newport, is raising a family in Cottage Grove and understands our communities and the importance of having good jobs.

Candidate Dan Schoen has stated publicly that he is opposed to union-killing policies such as the co-called "right to work" legislation. His opponent, Derrick Lehrke, during a recent League of Women Voters debate gave such wishy-washy answers as to whether he supports this type of union-killing legislation or not. Given his hyper-partisan Republican past, and what little I have seen and heard about him as a Cottage Grove City Council member, I have difficulty trusting anything he says. We must elect people who will represent the interests of the community and the middle class and can compromise when needed to protect the interests of everyone. Please vote for Barack Obama, Katie Sieben and Dan Schoen.

Mary Sansom


Peterson a faithful public servant

Cottage Grove is a prosperous and welcoming community thanks in part to the work of civic-minded people, many of them volunteers, who dedicate their time to make things better. Jen Petersen is one of these selfless individuals who have given back to our city, first and foremost as a volunteer with many worthwhile causes, such as promoting human rights, assisting women and families in crisis, fighting homelessness and helping our returning veterans.

Since her election to the Cottage Grove City Council, she has continued this commitment by actively worked promoting economic growth and the investments in our infrastructure needed to attract businesses and better serve our citizens.

For our community to thrive we must elect pragmatic, consensus-seeking individuals who also have a thorough understanding of complex budgetary, governance and policy issues, and that recognize that ideological extremism is incompatible with good government. Peterson is an independent thinker, well-informed on issues of sound public administration, sustainable economic development and a determined advocate for families, children and the most vulnerable members of our society.

Peterson is a proven leader and faithful public servant, and we need her to continue her work as a member of the City Council.

Francisco J. Gonzalez

Cottage Grove

Proud of our 'kids' Bailey and Olsen

As parents we beam with pride when our kids do well or represent themselves admirably.

As an educator, we extend our family with all the kids that we serve.

When I was on staff at Park High School during the 1980s and 1990s, Justin Olsen and Myron Bailey were busy preparing for their future. As good school citizens, they did well for themselves in development during their tenure with us.

It is so gratifying for educators to see their kids do well and serve even better. I was so proud of these two gentlemen at the recent bridge dedication and the Cottage Grove City Hall dedication ceremony. Here they were after years of hard work, juggling with careers and family and still sharing with the public their enthusiasm for a better city and community.

Giving back to the home front is one of the keys to public education. Olsen and Bailey have given their all.

In support of my kids and their efforts I will vote for Olsen and Bailey to serve another term.

Rod Thorsell

Cottage Grove

City needs Bailey's service

My family and I would like to thank Myron Bailey for his dedication, commitment and development to our city the last four years.

Having lived in the city of Cottage Grove for the last 30 years we have seen many mayors come and go. However, Bailey's progress as mayor the last four years has shown us what he's capable of. The city needs his service for another four years to keep his progress moving in the right direction. The businesses that he's brought to our community and the revenue he's created is just a part of what he's done within his term.

Again, I would like to thank him for everything he's done for this great city and wish him good luck with his re-election as mayor.

Jesse, Carissa, Gabriella and Gavin Umbreit

Cottage Grove

Bailey, Olsen, Peterson deserve re-election

I'm supporting Myron Bailey for mayor along with Justin Olsen and Jen Peterson for Cottage Grove City Council this year. I've known them all personally for many years and it is evident to me that each clearly understands the culture and needs of our community.

As the former chairman for the Cottage Grove Planning Commission, I also had the pleasure of working closely with Olsen, Peterson and Bailey on a number of projects over the last few years. They are very good listeners who examine the facts of a situation closely from all points of view before deciding on a path forward. They seek out the feedback of residents and advisory commission members on a consistent basis to ensure they have all of the necessary information on a given issue before formulating an opinion, yet ask the tough questions to make sure they truly understand each situation fully.

As a career real estate and development professional, I've also seen Olsen and Bailey working hard for the city with both developers and land owners in their roles as president and vice-president of the Economic Development Authority. They are very positive advocates for the city of Cottage Grove while working tirelessly to make things better for our growing business community. The passion each of them has for doing what's best for the residents of our city is clearly evident in everything they do.

We have a wonderful city with great parks and trails, well-maintained roadways and a top-notch public safety team that will now finally have the facilities they need to do their jobs at the highest possible level of quality. We've seen our city's credit rating improve from AA to AA+ in the last few years while the city's property tax levy has stayed completely flat. Plus, we've added many new businesses to our Business Park and available retail space. Pretty impressive work in my view.

If you want continued sound judgment and positive leadership on our City Council for the next four years, please join me in voting for Bailey, Olsen and Peterson this November.

Brian Treber

Cottage Grove

Geraghty, Ingemann and Sumner the right choices for Newport

I have lived in Newport for 49 years and retired from Washington County Library after 27 years. I began my library career when Newport was an independent library, but I always worked one day a week at Newport after joining the county library system.

My husband started a business in 1971 and had to work for years to get a permit to put an addition on the building. We had to hire a lawyer while building costs continued to rise. We finally got the permit after agreeing to add a mansard roof to match the shopping center, even though our business was located on Seventh Avenue, far from Newport Center. It was not welcoming, but we were determined.

We raised our family in Newport and I still manage rental property in the city. I feel I am uniquely qualified to make comparisons with our leaders over the years.

I find this administration with Tim Geraghty as our mayor is one of the best we have ever had in Newport. I have watched the Newport City Council meetings and have been appalled at the nitpicky challenges brought up to discredit our current administration. It is an accomplishment to have a financial surplus. All citizens of Newport need to take pride in our community and give Geraghty some credit. The Ludwig award he receive this year for exemplary public service is only given to those who deserve it and he was honored along with only one other person in the state to get it.

My vote goes to Geraghty, Tom Ingemann and Bill Sumner so they can continue to do an exceptional job with stressful challenges.

Kaye Kraft


Peterson has community in mind

Jen Peterson is a super Cottage Grove City Council member. She's highly informed and involved in our community. She's who I contact when I want to know anything about south Washington County. She's a member of all of the important city and county government and community organizations, such as those dealing with mass transit, human services and human rights.

Her greatest early accomplishment was that, in the early 2000s, she started and led a Twin Cities chapter of a nationwide non-profit organization Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, Inc. It assists custodial parents dealing with challenging child support cases. One of the best things that she has done recently is bringing Fare For All Program to Cottage Grove. Fare For All is a low-cost grocery buying opportunity that is an outreach of the Emergency Foodshelf Network. She pulled together some other community partners and teamed up with All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. Once a month, people can buy their frozen meat and fresh produce at All Saints Lutheran Church.

Peterson is endorsed by St. Paul Building & Construction Trades Council & International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 110. She's a great friend, too. She has tried several times to get me more involved in politics, my true career love. She has also counseled me on several personal issues. Please re-elect my friend Jen Peterson

Christie Thompson

Cottage Grove

Lehrke's message rings true

The slogan "It's not about Left or Right, It's about Right & Wrong" was on the large sign which was resting on Derrick Lehrke's trailer being pulled in the St. Paul Park parade this summer. Since my wife and I had volunteered to walk in the parade holding Lehrke signs, I thought we had the right to know where the slogan came from.

I really liked the sign, because that is exactly what I believe. If we, as a state and a nation, are going to move forward we have to work on both sides of the aisle and do what is right. I asked Derrick, "Where did you get this slogan?" He said, "It's original with me." That's good enough for us. We believe him, we trust him and we are going to support him. Please go to and review his credentials prior to Election Day.

Dave and Lois Halvorson

Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove needs change

Thanks, Dave Thiede, for your Oct. 24 Viewpoint headlined "Interest, teamwork should be weighed for council picks." I have watched you during council meetings, and I don't always agree with you but I see someone who will at least look at another point of view.

You have said you are not going to tell people how to vote during this election, and yet you did vote for the resolution on Oct. 17 which did that exact thing. In a 4-1 decision, you agreed with Jen Peterson, Justin Olsen and Myron Bailey that it was appropriate for our City Council to suggest to people to vote no on the voter photo ID constitutional amendment.

When the 2012 Residential Survey was brought up and included only 400 people you agreed with Derrick Lehrke that it did not seem to make much sense to spend the money on this as the council was going to put the two referendums on the ballot in November anyway. I know this cost the residents at least $12,500.

Nowhere did I hear or see Olsen, Peterson or Bailey concern themselves with the cost of this survey. I would say it had a different purpose to be done right before the election. One of the questions asked, "How much more would you be willing to pay in taxes for these two referendums?" Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said zero while 61 percent said under certain circumstances. If the circumstances show that the council is not up front with people on how they spend money, those certain circumstances could be no, resulting in 88 percent of those surveyed not wanting taxes raised.

I personally don't have an issue with the council saying they disapprove of the voter ID, but to actually suggest people should vote no is overstepping their responsibility.

Thanks, Dave Thiede, they need to be part of a team and I think you will do well with new council members to walk alongside of you. We need a change and I believe Chad Rediske, Michael Fouts and Matthew Kowalski fit that task.

Albert Alden

Cottage Grove

A thank you for returned wallet

On Friday, Oct. 26, I had lost my checkbook/billfold. It flew off the trunk of my car (that's another story). Taylor Carter of Cottage Grove was out for a run on 70th Street and found my checkbook, cards and money. His brother Phil called me Saturday morning and said his brother Taylor had found it. They even offered to bring it to my house. What great people we have in Cottage Grove. A huge thank you to Taylor and Phil Carter for their honesty and thoughtfulness.

Also, thank you to Community Service Officer Scott Shaver of the Cottage Grove Police Department as I had notified police of lost items and on his patrol Shaffer looked on the streets I had traveled. Is Cottage Grove a great place to live? You bet. We have great people and a great police department.

David Mack

Cottage Grove