District 2 Isanti County Commissioner candidates

With the Aug. 12 Primary Election approaching, the Isanti County News asked all primary candidates to answer the question, “What would be your top priorities if elected Isanti County Commissioner?”

Loren Davis

• My first priority is to work with all residents and townships within the district as well as the city of Braham.

• Responsible Budgeting – I will work toward keeping local government in check. I will work with all departments to use county tax money to the best of their ability and hold them accountable.

• Public Safety – I will work with the city of Braham Police Department and the Isanti County Sheriff’s Department to bring more county resources to District 2. Also, I will work with all fire departments to help maintain service and equipment levels.

• EDA – I believe that it is important to bring more business to the city and rural business district, creating more jobs locally. People shouldn’t have to drive an hour or more each way to make a living.

• Roads – I will work closely with the highway department to maintain and improve our roads and bridges in District 2.

• Accessibility – I will make my office your office at the county level. Some of the concerns that I have already heard are the roads, noxious weeds along the county roads, public safety and county/township clean-up day budgets.

• I value your views and opinions. I will be a trusted, accessible representative and active listener.

Jeff Sandquist

I would like to first thank the paper for asking this important question.

As a politician, I would say “no new taxes,” but as a citizen I understand the cost of maintaining quality county government and services.

I believe after the last 6-7 years with a minimal percent increase, the county now is faced with the grim task of generating more tax dollars to replace or maintain the infrastructure of our county.

With the Board passing the Wheelage Tax, a small percentage of the budget will be offset. Having interviewed the majority of department heads in the county, and learning of undeniable needs to replace equipment and alleviate some staff shortage areas, it becomes clear a small property tax increase is unavoidable. A tax increase is never an easy nor popular decision, and any proposals will need to be looked at hard in 2015 and beyond.

District #2 has five townships and the city of Braham, four of the six county parks in its boundaries, and consists mostly of high-yielding farmland acres. The diversity of this large area makes any type of property tax increase a financial burden. If we could develop usage taxes rather than a property tax, commercial business and property owners would feel less pain. I believe sales taxes would generate tax dollars from more than just our business and property owners.

Family services, road and bridge, sheriff’s department, auditor-treasurer and county attorney take the largest percentage of the budget. In comparison, ag extension, veteran services, parks, Heartland Express, technical support, janitorial-maintenance, recorder and assessor office’s are a drop in the bucket. But, they all have to be there to service the county fairly.

I know the position I have signed up for and understand business owners and property owners concerns. I will work hard to serve everyone equally and fairly, because I am one of you.


Steve Smith

I’d like to thank the Isanti County News for providing me with the opportunity to express my priorities, also the people I’ve visited with, shared ideas with while out stumping (campaigning) for the primary election of Isanti County Commissioner to represent the city of Braham and the Townships of Dalbo, Maple Ridge, Springvale, Stanchfield and Wyanett (District 2).

My priorities as County Commissioner won’t be any different than my life priorities – faith and families come first, a clean, safe environment, education and organizations. Opportunities for all ages. Safe roads for our families to travel on. Taxes that our families can afford. Businesses that our families can own themselves. Local businesses that families can own, shop at, eat at, work and play. Farming, agriculture, conservation, land use families can be proud of. These are not glittering political generalities, these are my priorities.

Fiscally and financially responsible: making sure that the tax dollars are spent in a manner that provides good services at a fair price. Find innovative and fresh ideas to provide those services. Having product knowledge of services that our county purchases and provides with tax dollars to ensure a good product and a fair price. Not glittering generalities, these are my priorities.

As a newly elected commissioner, my priorities would be to work hard with, be positive and have fun with the team of five commissioners that would help us make good decisions for our district and county.

Bonus time, as a newly elected county commissioner, my priority would be to share the input and ideas of my family: Joanie, Josh, Tony, Adam and Amy. I am blessed. I am asking for your vote Aug. 12 and in return you’ll get a strong voice, professional, straight shooting, question asking, get things done, sense of humor, hard-working son of a gun.

Scott Soderman

As county commissioner I would like to interject my experience in running a small business in Isanti County to the operations and decisions made on behalf of the people in my district and Isanti County as a whole.

I understand there will be a very large learning curve, but I am confident that I will be able to adapt. I also think that some common sense is an attribute that can be very useful in decisions being made. I believe that having grown up with my family and in our community, I have that common sense to use for the people of Isanti County.

I would like to thank anyone that is considering voting for me. I have been asked why I have decided not to have signs out. I would like to assure the people in my district this is not due to a lack of interest in the position of county commissioner, but purely a financial decision.

Terry Turnquist

My top priorities as a County Commissioner will be the same as it was during my tenure as mayor and city council for 16 years. Priority one is and will always be representing the voters in District 2 of Isanti County. Items of importance to me are roads, public safety and long range planning.

As a business and homeowner in Isanti County, I very well know all about paying taxes. I will do everything in my power to hold a firm line on taxes making sure you get one dollar of service for every dollar of taxes collected. I won’t forget that I am working for you, the voters. I am approachable, I listen and I make sure I get all the pertinent information to make good decisions. During my campaign and door knocking two years ago, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet many of the voters in District 2. I apologize if I missed you, but I welcome your input and I’m always happy to visit with you.  I can be reached at the Barbershop in Braham, you can call me at 320-396-4134 or send me an email.

Lastly, I would like to clear something up that was brought up at the last election. My opponent stated during my time as mayor of Braham, I significantly raised Braham’s taxes. It was very deceptive and far from the truth.  The tax base grew because of the large growth in the city of Braham; therefore, the city collected more taxes. The residents of Braham didn’t see any significant tax increase during my time as mayor and actually, the county portion of my property taxes saw a bigger increase during the same time period in question. I humbly ask for your vote in the upcoming Primary Aug. 12.