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Lindblad says local voters need a choice

WILLMAR -- Doug Lindblad's 25 years on the Willmar Fire Department, including a decade spent as fire chief, taught him how to put out fires, both literally and figuratively.

He believes it's a skill that he could put to great use if he's ultimately elected to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.

Lindblad, of Willmar, is challenging Commissioner Dean Shuck for the County Board post from District 3.

Lindblad said he's running for the position because he believes voters should "have a choice" when selecting their local officials.

In the past, it's been rare for the Kandiyohi County Commissioners to even have opponents. Lindblad said he believes some competition in the race was needed.

"Nothing against Dean and what he's done, but voters should have options," said Lindblad.

If elected, he said he would "see things in a different light and bring my experience to the County Board."

A lifelong resident of Kandiyohi County, Lindblad served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and has spent most of his career working as an electrician. He currently owns his own business.

Lindblad said his past experience in business and volunteer entities with the city of Willmar would equip him with the necessary skills for being a county commissioner.

Besides the camaraderie of serving on a volunteer fire department -- from which he's been retired for 15 years -- Lindblad said his time as fire chief gave him experience working with the Willmar city government, preparing budgets and overseeing training of firefighters.

During the last six years he's also served on the Willmar Utilities Commission, of which he is currently chairman, and has been involved with setting policies regarding the future power sources for the town.

When asked to pinpoint an area where Kandiyohi County is successful, Lindblad praised the county's overall financial health.

"The board members have been very active with their budget and controlling the budget," he said. "Financially, I think the county is in pretty good shape. Probably better than a lot of counties."

The area where the county needs improving is the sanitary landfill. He's aware the board is looking at ways to resolve issues there but said it should have been addressed sooner.

Well-aware of the long permitting process that has frustrated efforts by the Willmar Municipal Utilities to burn corn cobs on a continual basis, Lindblad said getting a permit to turn waste to energy at the landfill will take "more time than you think."

When asked to identify ways to streamline county government, Lindblad said, "I don't know if I can reinvent the wheel" and said he would listen to voters and get ideas from them.

He said many people don't know who their county commissioner is and people "are not taking an interest in their own government." He said there needs to be more action to engage the public in the decision-making process.

If elected, Lindblad said the top issues on his agenda would be continuing to find ways to conserve spending and consolidate services to keep a tight budget, the landfill and addressing the County Road 9 project on the east side of Eagle Lake near Willmar.

When asked why people should vote for him instead of his opponent, Lindblad said he hopes he can "bring a new vision and opinion that would be helpful to the majority of the people out there and they'd feel comfortable with me."

He said people "want to see something different" and doing things the same way isn't the way it should be.

"The world won't come to an end if somebody different gets elected," he said.


Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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