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Zylstra and Stubbe vie for Nobles County Commissioner District 1 seat

October 11, 2012

Incumbant Marvin Zylstra and candidate Keith R. Stubbe.
Nobles County District 1 encompasses Elk Township, Graham Lakes Township, Hersey Township, Indian Lake Township, Lorain Township, Seward Township, Summit Lake Township, the City of Brewster, the City of Dundee, the City of Kinbrae, the City of Round Lake, and City of Worthington – Ward 1, Precinct 5.

Two candidates are vying to fill the Nobles County Commissioner District 1 seat in the November 6th election. They are incumbant Marvin Zylstra and candidate Keith R. Stubbe.

These men were sent questionnaires regarding their candidacy and their answers are printed below.

Marvin Zylstra - Nobles County Commissioner, District 1

Please give a brief personal sketch of your life -- education, family, occupation, interests, organizational involvement, etc.

I am currently serving my 10th year as Nobles County Commissioner. I also have a farming operation in Hersey and Elk Townships, consisting of corn, soybeans and a 50 sow farrow-to-finish hog operation.

My education is an AA degree from Worthington Community College, BS from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall in Business Administration/Ag Business. I worked nine years as an Ag Educator with the University of Minnesota. During that time frame, I completed a Masters Degree with the University of Minnesota, with course work was in Agricultural Education/Extension Education.

I am a member of numerous committees representing the county. I was also a member of MARL (Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership) program, Class One.

My interests include reading, playing cards, community plays (as an actor or member of the audience), and getting together with friends.

What are your major goals for this office?

To work with my fellow commissioners to provide vision for the future, and provide a positive work environment for the employer.

What do you feel can be done to help increase revenues, control spending and cut expenses?

Balance between increasing revenues and cutting expenses. With less money coming from the state, the county needs to promote the county for business opportunities, which in turn increases the revenues to the county. The wind production tax has helped the county with $660,000 dollars in revenue, which represents a 6% decrease in the levy.

I believe the county has done a good job in controlling expenses and spending.

Employees and department heads do a good job with presenting department budgets to the county board. Staffing (employees) is at a level which provides for the services that the public comes to expect of the county.

What do you see as major issues faced at present?

The hiring of a new county administrator, and to continue the efforts for a new Nobles County Library. Balance the budget with less money from the state, keep taxes low and control spending.

Additional comments you wish to share?

Be sure to vote on November 6th and I would appreciate your vote. I will continue to work hard and provide leadership to the office that you can depend on.

Thank you!

Keith R. Stubbe - Nobles County Commissioner, District 1

Please give a brief personal sketch of your life -- education, family, occupation, interests, organizational involvement, etc.

I was born and raised in Worthington and spent many hours on my grandfather’s (Ed Krick) farm in Lorain Township. I attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from Worthington High School. I received a marketing degree from Minnesota West CTC, Worthington and Pipestone campuses. Nine years of financial experience: First seven years with I.T.T. Financial in many management positions and two years for the Farmer’s State Bank and United Prairie Bank in Round Lake as a Commercial and Consumer Loan Officer. Currently, I am owner/operator of Elite Audio in Worthington for 28 years with my partner in life, Kris.

Presently serving the City of Round Lake as Mayor. Also, at present, I am the Chairman of the Board for Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS). SMBS is a consortium of eight communities (Round Lake, Brewster, Lakefield, Heron Lake, Okabena, Wilder, Bingham Lake and Jackson) which, united with, brings high speed fiber optics to the homes and businesses in these communities. Fiber optics provides high speed internet, voice and cable television services to these communities and the surrounding area.

What are your major goals for this office?

Bring better communication between County Commissioners, County Department Heads and Employees, City Officials, Township Boards, and Citizens of Nobles County. One way to achieve this is by the possibility of having some of the commissioner meetings held in the evening. This should help engage in open and in-depth conversation with all of Nobles County.

I also feel now is the time for the commissioners of Nobles County to explore the opportunity of working with surrounding counties, which has not been done well in recent years. There are numerous ways this can be done for the betterment of all involved.

What do you feel can be done to help increase revenues, control spending and cut expenses?

The best way to increase revenue is through working to bring more business into our county with aggressive economic development policies. One big potential area is to bring a new business into the Sather building in Round Lake. The agricultural character of our county has numerous possibilities for this economic development, as well.

As for controlling spending and cutting expenses, this will be achieved through the open, honest and in-depth conversation with all the departments in the county and the commissioners.

Part of being a good county commissioner is not only being able to say “Yes” to good projects, but also being able to say “No” to wasteful spending.

What do you see as major issues faced at present?

One of the major issues facing the community at this time is hiring a new County Administrator/Coordinator. If this matter has not been resolved, it would be a top priority.

A new Nobles County Library is another major issue. The current commissioners are pursuing the building of a new library in Worthington. My personal feelings are this is not the time for this project. The current library is fifty years old and could use a good facelift. The building would have more than enough room if the Historical Society and/or the Arts Society would be relocated out of the library basement where they are presently located. A possible relocation could be the old Fire Hall. This relocation could be the start of a historic section of Worthington consisting of the Dayton House, Memorial Auditorium, Nobles County Library and the old Fire Hall. This could be a good beginning for cooperation between Nobles County Commissioners and the City of Worthington officials.

Additional comments you wish to share.

Along with the issues I have already pointed out, I feel one of the most important projects for the county would be to bring high speed internet to the rest of the county. We have a good start with the fiber-to-the-premise in the communities of Brewster and Round Lake, but feel the need for this infrastructure to be completed in rural areas and other communities in our county is very important.

My current position as Mayor of Round Lake and Chairman of the Board for SMBS have allowed me to build many good working relationships with the commissioners of Jackson and Cottonwood Counties and City Officials in these counties and throughout the state of Minnesota.

In closing, you have heard my thoughts and positions on several topics. Now I invite yours. If you have any concerns and/or ideas, feel free to contact me at home (507) 945-8292, work (507) 372-2235, and/or cell (507) 360-8437.

I feel I would be a strong voice for the communities and rural areas of District 1. I look forward to working with the constituents of my district, with an open door policy to solve the upcoming challenges facing our county, and the opportunity of serving Nobles County as your County Commissioner.

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