West Central Tribune Endorsements: Kandiyohi County Board

These are the West Central Tribune Editorial Board's endorsements for the Kandiyohi County Board.


District 2

Kandiyohi County Board’s District 2 has incumbent Steve Ahmann versus challenger Steve Gardner. It is a clear choice of a grumpy politician with a personal agenda versus a candidate interested in serving all the people.

Ahmann’s first four years on the County Board have not been beneficial for Kandiyohi County nor its residents. He seems to have an axe to grind with someone or something at almost every meeting. He seems more interested in a personal agenda at times, rather than what's best for the county. He got into a dustup with a Willmar citizen at a public meeting, which was unprofessional and raised legal concerns. He also continues to hold a narrow view of who should be residents of Kandiyohi County, much like he did during his tenure on the Willmar City Council.

More importantly, Ahmann has a tendency to antagonize many with whom he works — from Willmar and Kandiyohi County officials to other public officials around the state. Ahmann said it is important to maintain good communication with the Association of Minnesota Counties, but he does not practice what he preaches when attending AMC meetings or events. Commissioners from other counties do not like working with him. His various rants do not reflect well upon himself or Kandiyohi County.

Ahmann has not demonstrated that he deserves re-election in 2020 and it would be harmful to our county government if he were re-elected.


Steve Gardner

Gardner believes public service is a resident’s responsibility. He has served nearly a decade on the Willmar City Council and on the Willmar Planning Commission. He has also served as a board member on Vision 2040’s Leadership Committee and the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Counties.

District 2 represents much of Willmar, including the downtown. Gardner has the background and experience to serve all the people and believes in the strength of the diversity of Kandiyohi County. “We are all one Kandiyohi County,” Garder said. How true.

Gardner understands the importance of roads and bridges in this county and its safety and economy, especially for agriculture and industry.

Gardner would be a fresh and positive face on the County Board. He is honest, straightforward and, most importantly, has demonstrated he can work collaboratively with others.

The West Central Tribune endorses Steve Gardner for County Commissioner in District 2.

District 5

The District 5 race has Duane Anderson and John Cunningham seeking to replace longtime Commissioner Harlan Madsen, who is retiring due to medical issues. These two farmers are seeking to represent the district, which comprises much of the southern half of the county.

Anderson is a Kandiyohi County native and farms on the family farm near Lake Lillian. He has served on township and farmer cooperative boards as well as the county’s Water Planning Task Force.

While the County Board plays an important role in public health, Anderson seems not to embrace that role . He believes it is time to reopen the economy more now, despite the recent COVID-19 positive case growth in the county, and that individual businesses and schools should deal with public health. He appears to be running more for his own agenda - such as county ditch policy — as he claims the County Board has been wrong on many past decisions. The county does not need another antagonist on the County Board.


John O. Cunningham

Cunningham has significant experience in public service, including nearly 15 years on the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board, 11 of them as chairman, and currently serves on the Farm Service Agency County Committee.

He believes in communication and collaboration, especially after growing up in a large farm family. He also understands that Kandiyohi County has a diverse population and one has to listen to all segments of the population. Cunningham has stated he will avoid partisanship at the county levels and will seek out “what is best for the county.”

Cunningham is the best choice in this race and would be an excellent replacement for District 5.
The West Central Tribune endorses John Cunningham for County Commissioner in District 5.

This editorial is the opinion of the West Central Tribune Editorial Board, consisting of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan. Readers may respond by sending a letter by Oct. 27 to:

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