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Longtime Kandiyohi County, Minn., commissioners end tenure

Kandiyohi County Commissioners Richard Larson, left, and Dennis Peterson attend their last board meeting Tuesday in Willmar. The veteran commissioners are retiring this year. Larson has served on the County Board for 16 years and Peterson has served for 20 years. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

WILLMAR — Tuesday was the last official board meeting for Kandiyohi County Commissioners Dennis Peterson and Richard Larson.

The two commissioners, who have 36 years of experience between them, are retiring from the County Board.

They were praised by their colleagues for “exemplary” service and for moving the county in a positive direction.

Kandiyohi County has been “well-served” and is “better off today” because of their dedicated service, said Commissioner Harlan Madsen.

“I have the greatest respect for you,” said Madsen, adding that the five commissioners have not always agreed on everything but that Peterson and Larson provided the leadership necessary to make “tough decisions” for the benefit of the entire county.

Peterson, of Spicer, has served District 4 for since 1993. The district includes the northeast corner of the county.

In brief comments at the end of the meeting, Peterson said when he was first elected he had no idea he would hold the position for 20 years.

“I know I’ll miss it,” said Peterson.

Larson has represented District 2, which includes the southeast section of Willmar and Willmar Township, since 1997.

Larson said it’s been a “pleasure and an honor” to serve on the board for the last 16 years. “We’ve seen some good strides to the future.”

Some of the accomplishments Larson listed included building projects, like the construction of the Law Enforcement Center and Rescue Squad facility and expansion of facilities and programs at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.

“We’ve done a lot of good things in the past and there’ll be more in the future,” said Larson, who praised the county’s “wonderful staff.”

The comments were not all maudlin.

“I’m going to miss your wit. I will miss your wisdom and, of course, you won’t get to poke fun of me anymore,” said Madsen.

The community will have a chance to bid Peterson and Larson farewell during an open house from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday in the multi-purpose room on the lower level of the Health and Human Services Building.

Roger Imdieke, a businessman from rural New London, was elected to replace Peterson in District 4.

Doug Reese, who is ending his long tenure on the Willmar City Council, was elected to replace Larson in District 2.

Carolyn Lange

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

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