Washington County primary features 2 key races

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2012 - 6:26 PM

Voters will pare the field for a County Board seat representing Oakdale and for a Stillwater City Council ward.

Voters will narrow the fields in two high-profile local government races in Washington County in this month's primary election.

A three-way contest for county commissioner in District 2, representing about 46,700 residents in Oakdale and five smaller communities, pits incumbent Bill Pulkrabek against challengers Ted Bearth and Joseph Delaney.

"I will continue my unwavering advocacy for lower taxes, smaller government and respect for personal liberties at the local level," Pulkrabek said.

The challenge to Pulkrabek's seat comes after a turbulent year for the three-term commissioner and former Oakdale mayor. In January he agreed to an Alford plea in a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct in connection with a well-publicized scuffle with a girlfriend in Woodbury. The Alford plea means that he maintained his innocence but recognized that sufficient evidence might exist for a jury to find him guilty.

Bearth said he challenged the incumbent because of Pulkrabek's belief that serving on the county commission is a part-time job. "There are a lot of people who don't make that amount of money in a year, working 40 hours a week," Bearth said.

County commissioners will earn $52,713 this year. They manage a $166.9 million expense budget that pays for services such as roads, libraries and law enforcement.

Delaney said he's running on a platform to promote jobs and economic development.

The Washington County Board also has two other contested races, but they won't appear on the Aug. 14 primary ballot because each has two candidates -- and a primary election requires three or more.

Here are the County Board candidates who go before voters Aug. 14 in District 2. The commissioner represents Oakdale, Willernie, Pine Springs, Landfall, Birchwood Village and the corner of White Bear Lake that juts into Washington County:

Bill Pulkrabek seeks a fifth consecutive term. He is a past president of the Oakdale Business and Professional Association and a past vice president of Co-Action Academic Resources. He has a master's degree in public finance and a bachelor's degree in economics and political science. Pulkrabek, 42, who is single, lives in Oakdale.

Ted Bearth was a member of the Oakdale City Council and then mayor over 26 years. He's also a former Marine and a member of the Oakdale Veterans Memorial Committee. He lives in Oakdale, is a founding member of the Oakdale Athletic Association, and is a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. Bearth, 74, is married with seven children.

Joseph Delaney came out of retirement to continue his career as a high school physics and science teacher in Minneapolis. He also developed a 34-lot housing development, Pines of White Bear. Delaney, 72, has degrees from the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota. He is the son of former St. Paul Mayor Edward K. Delaney Sr. He is married with four children and lives in Oakdale.

Stillwater City Council

In Stillwater, where debates over City Council spending for a new St. Croix River bridge in neighboring Oak Park Heights hit the headlines last year, three candidates seek to replace Micky Cook in Ward 2. She has decided to leave the council when her term expires Jan. 1. Adam Frederick dropped out of the race.

Tom Corbett, 37, is an attorney for Target Corp. who advises on commercial transactions. He has lived in Stillwater since 2005. He served on the Stillwater Charter Commission from 2006 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been a member of the Stillwater Public Library board. The North Hill resident points to experience managing public money and knowledge of municipal law. He is married with three children.

Ted Kozlowski, 35, is the face behind the Stillwater Minnesota page on Facebook, which now has 14,000 fans. He is president of DemandQuest, a Google-certified training institute. He is board vice chairman for Valley Outreach, a Stillwater food and clothing charity. He is a graduate of Edgewood University in Madison, Wis., has worked for start-up companies in Silicon Valley, Calif., and is an ambassador for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is a Stillwater native and married with two children.

Cassie McLemore, 30, managed Northern Vineyards Winery in downtown Stillwater for nine years and serves on the board for the downtown nonprofit Summer Tuesdays, Inc. The Hugo native also has experience with the Main Street Independent Business Alliance. She is married with two children.

Voters won't decide a second contested race for the Stillwater City Council until November. Jim Roush, representing Ward 3, has filed for re-election. He has one opponent, Tom Weidner.

The other city with a primary election -- the small portion of Hastings that falls within Washington County -- has three candidates for a Ward 1 seat. They are Anthony Alongi, Michael Grady and Justin Westman.

The top two winners in each Aug. 14 primary race will compete in the general election. The filing period for several other city races that don't have primary elections began July 31. Those races will appear on the ballot in November.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles

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