Carver County Commissioner District 4
This race features three candidates – Steve Duske, Frank Long and incumbent Tim Lynch. The two candidates that receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election in November.
1) Please tell us about your background and/or experience. (100 words)
Duske: My name is Steve Duske and following two tours in Vietnam, I laid my roots and built my life in this county for the last 38 years. This is where I raised our four children and have seen 10 grandchildren grow up here. I have continuously worked building my reputation as a skilled stonemason. In 2000, I ran for and won a seat on the City Council – truly representing the people of Watertown for 10 years. Each year, I was enthusiastic and determined to help preserve and build upon a community cherished and respected by so many who live there.
Long: I served in the United States Marine Corps during Carter’s administration. Poor morale was widespread because it had little value for our armed forces. As I began working, I saw how much the government took from the fruits of my labor and bloated, inefficient government bureaucracy. When working in environmental cleanup, I faced redundant and burdensome paperwork that had nothing to do with the real work of removing pollutants. As a small business owner, I realized the hoops government made job-makers jump through, always adding, never providing relief to help grow and create jobs.
Lynch: Background – I was born in Watertown, graduated from Watertown-Mayer High School, have been employed for the last 24 years at US Foods, have been married to Deb for 24 years, we have three daughters, Rachel 21, Amanda, 19, and Victoria, 14. I am a Lions Club member, a Knights of Columbus member, a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, a Watertown Rod and Gun Club member, am an avid outdoorsman, a former Hollywood Township Supervisor. My hobbies include fishing, hunting, walks with family, reading, and I am committed to family and community.
2) What are the biggest challenges facing Carver County and what will you do to help the county overcome those challenges? (200 words)
Duske: I feel some of the biggest challenges facing Carver County are creating and maintaining economic growth while maintaining fiscal responsibility, decreasing home values, affordable taxes and practical public transportation. Carver County is a place of boundless opportunity and with the new ideas and hardworking supporter of business owners and citizens we can see desirable benefits to both. I feel that local, county and state government all have a responsibility to our citizens. We need to make taxes affordable in this troubling time. I would like to see the lowering of fees that prevent some from building or expanding and improving their businesses. Affordability and prosperity will go hand in hand! We’ve spent a great deal of money rehabilitating our regional trails. They look great and will see much use. Thirty miles outside of the cities as we are, I would like to see an influx of transportation. Why not use these trails for natural gas or electric transit? The remaining railroad bed is the boneyard of a once existing public transportation system and the key to a practical future. As we work on these and other challenges, I feel our investments will be far reaching to all Carver County Citizens.
Long: This County Board approved federal, state and Metropolitan Council projects, regardless of necessity or cost. It’s irresponsible to build recreational and redundant infrastructure the County cannot fund or maintain. This makes local control difficult. If the Met Council decides to put low income housing in your neighborhood, or decides you can’t parcel your farmland, this Board is unlikely to take our side. I’ll wean the County off extraneous, outside funding and prioritize it’s core role.
We pay for government. It must be accessible. Yet, morning County Board meetings are inaccessible, especially to those who work. Cities meet at night so citizens can participate. But Tim Lynch favored a blackout so county residents couldn’t watch commissioners interact with the public. It took a petition drive to reinstate the airing of the meetings’ public comment portion. Work sessions shouldn’t be hidden from public view, nor should staff "briefings" where one or two Commissioners meet and skirt the legal recording keeping requirement. Questions should recorded. We should see the competency of our commissioner, and whether he can or will ask probing questions. I’ll push to ensure these abuses are corrected.
Lynch: Taxes – The county portion of real estate taxes has been reduced every year since 2005 for the average value home. The proposed budget for 2013 would result in a 2.7 percent reduction in the county’s portion of the property taxes for the average value home. This will mark the eighth straight year that the average value home in the county saw its property taxes amount decline for the county’s portion. I will work hard to make this trend continue.
Regulations – reducing government obstacles, expediting the process by reducing the time and excessive costs associated with building.
3) What differentiates you from your primary opponents? (100 words)
Duske: While on the Watertown City Council I had the opportunity to work and learn in many areas. I was heavily involved in the EDA, Bonding, TIF, Finance Committee, Planning Committee and Personnel Committee. I also spent a lot of time working on the 2030 Comprehensive Plan, the County Rd 20 and Hwy 25 projects as well as working with Townships on Annexation issues. It was my pleasure to also serve on the Senior Commission and the Fire Advisory Board. It is my goal to use all the things I have learned to better the citizens of Carver County.
Long: I’ve dealt with government throughout my life, as a landscaping/shoreline contractor, in working through increasing watershed district regulations, to dealing with state and federal regulations throughout the country cleaning up underground spills during the 1980s. My network of contacts built by involvement in the precinct, commissioner, county and congressional and state levels of the Republican party, will provide access to lawmakers and a partnering with other conservative County Boards to remove some state mandates and restrictions that the current Commissioner Board uses as a straw man. I’ll push to phase out County funded operations that compete with private taxpaying business.
Lynch: I am a lifetime resident and property owner, former township supervisor, have experience on county board, and I believe in a common sense approach. I understand the struggles that families face today; I have friends that struggle every day and I hear their voices and their needs. It keeps me grounded.
4) Why should citizens give you their vote? (100 words)
Duske: There is a direction that will be practical and prosperous as well as sustaining … I want to take us there. I will devote my time and energy to finding ways to save our money, and be a servant to the citizens of the 4th District.
Long: I’m an honest broker, you’ll get a straight answer. I do my "homework" on issues, procedures, regulations and budgets. I’ve independently, investigated government waste, fraud, redundancy. It’s what I do. Government must provide an environment where citizens can prosper. Not a system that focuses on increasing government revenue at the expense of taxpayer’s income. It’s my first run for office, I’ve run private sector businesses for 20 years, I know how to prioritize, meet a budget, and wait for capital expenditures until it makes sense. Wouldn’t it be great if government did that? I will move us in that direction.
Lynch: It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as District 4 County Commissioner, and I have done my best to serve the people’s needs during my tenure as commissi
oner. I regularly meet in the district to be familiar with any issue the county board needs to address. I’m an honest and hardworking person, who believes in family values and will continue to work to improve the lives of the citizens in Carver County. I would appreciate your support on Aug. 14.