Six Anoka County Board seats are up for grabs on Nov. 6, thanks to redistricting. Jim Kordiak is the only incumbent who will not have to run for reelection. Districts 2, 3 and 5 feature some familiar names and fascinating races.
Carol LeDoux vs. Scott Bromley
Carol LeDoux knew she had a tough act to follow. Two years ago she was elected to the county board seat vacated by her late husband, one-time heavyweight boxing contender Scott LeDoux, one of the most popular figures in county history. LeDoux's campaign slogan then was "continue the fight."
"Authentic leaders welcome good ideas and recognize they come from a diverse set of perspectives," she says. "Successful businesses, CEOs and leaders recognize that collaboration is necessary to meet common goals.
"This, briefly, is what is missing in government today. Partisanship has polarized the political process so citizens can no longer expect their officials to accomplish the work they have been elected to do. Our citizens deserve better," she says.
Scott Bromley, owner of Bromley Printing and founder of Anoka County Farms in Ham Lake, says it is vital that Anoka County attract new businesses, in addition to protecting the county's existing businesses.
"Making smart investments and maintaining business-friendly tax policies will help improve the economic climate here in the county, with more robust businesses, better business prospects, more jobs," he says.
Last year, Bromley was appointed to serve as a manager on the Coon Creek Watershed District.
He had violated a wetland-conservation cease-and-desist order seven years before, but had since complied with "restoration orders," according to a letter from the Army Corp of Engineers.
Bromley says he has served on the boards of several foundations. He also says he grew up in Anoka County and hopes "voters are excited by my candidacy, because I am excited to have the opportunity to serve them."
LeDoux says she holds a degree in Management Ethics and started her first business when she was 15.
She says she has worked for small businesses and Fortune 100 companies and has "learned how to meet the challenges we face today."
Andy Westerberg vs. Julie Braastad
Julie Braastad, a Ham Lake council member, says she feels the county board "is moving in the right direction." But she says the county "must begin to aggressively decrease" its debt of $210 million. She wants commissioners to become more active as lobbyists and wants the county to "stop wasting money on losing efforts like the Northstar commuter rail."
Braastad would like to see the county and its cities share assets -- including equipment, services, even employees.
Among her proudest accomplishments: She says she stopped Met Council's efforts to bring city sewer and water to Ham Lake, "which would have compromised the city's financial stability." She claims to have implemented a paperless process for City Council agenda items, saving expense and time. And she takes credit for bringing the reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to Ham Lake City Council meetings.
Incumbent Andy Westerberg has been on the County Board for less than two years. But he was a state legislator for eight years and also served on the Metropolitan Airports Commission and as a Minnesota Amateur Sports Commissioner.
He lists among his greatest accomplishments "an ability to work with people from all walks of life by listening to them and helping us find solutions to complicated problems."
He considers himself a fiscal conservative, wanting to reduce spending and lower taxes. Public safety and transportation issues are among his priorities.
He wants the county to take "the direction that benefits everyone -- moving forward without leaving some behind."
"I enjoy the job," he said of serving on the County Board. "I am happy with the accomplishments we have achieved."
Robyn West vs. Dan Sanders
Dan Sanders, owner of Best Steel Erectors, says he works with owners, engineers, designers and general contractors to ensure that projects are run well.
"I hold a unique skill of bringing people together, which is missing in the present County Board," he says.
Sanders' company installs steel on bridges and parking ramps and he wants to be the bridge between the County Board and the working class.
He says the present board, "however well intended, is on a path of eliminating jobs they deem not needed." But those are the jobs, Sanders says, that put food on the table.
He said if jobs are cut, the county must find ways to provide other jobs.
"I campaign on the future, not the status quo," he said. "I believe in solar, wind and bio tech. This is the future. If we are to ensure our children and grandchildren of caring for their families, we must not just look at today, but tomorrow.
"There is a lot of pain out there and people are confused," he said. "I intend to change this."
West, the board's vice chairwoman, was a political unknown when she was first elected in 2006. But, she says, they know her now. She's proud of the relationship she's forged with her constituents.
"In this time of economic malaise, it gives [constituents] confidence to hear that their county representative is proactive in trying to keep the costs of doing business low," West said.
She would like to see the county "stay the course" and says that all levels of government should cut spending.
"My greatest regret is that at this stage of my life, when my children are having their children and retirement is in the near future, we are in the very worst economic situation in our lifetime," West said.
"As an elected official, I need to constantly remember how the dynamics of government affect families during this time."
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419