Meet the local candidates: David BensonName: David Benson Commissioner District: 3 City or Township in which you reside: Ransom Township, Section 26
Name: David Benson
Commissioner District: 3
City or Township in which you reside: Ransom Township, Section 26
Occupation: Livestock/grain farmer and mechanic since 1971
What qualifications do you have for seeking a county board seat? My history includes 4-H membership for 10 years, attending Bethel University and San Francisco State University, and serving as Ransom Township treasurer. As a county commissioner, I have been eager to understand and to work very hard in areas that are important to the people of Nobles County, especially transportation, law enforcement/mental health, and energy. I have been willing to look into and confront difficult situations. I’ve had the privilege of working with other members of the community and region on many issues. Among these: Founding member of the Rural Minnesota Energy Board from 1997 to present – Chair from 1999-2003. Achieved reimbursement to counties hosting wind energy development. Originally formed by 4 counties — now 18 counties participating; Representative for 8 counties on District 7 Area Transportation Partnership, planning and implementing transportation projects with the MN Department of Transportation; Nobles County member on the SW Mental Health Board supporting a new Unity House and construction of a new Mental Health Center; Long-term member of the Nobles/Rock Public Health and Rock/Nobles Community Corrections Boards; University of Minnesota Lamberton Research and Outreach Center Advisory Committee member, chair 2010-2012; and board member of the Nobles County Historical Society and Nobles County Art Center.
What is your top priority in county government? My top priority is to develop a management team to rebuild trust among all county elected officials, department heads and staff, by establishing open communication and transparency. This openness needs to extend to our partnerships with cities, townships, and our regional county neighbors.
Explain ideas you have to address your top priority: I support the new team approach to county management. A group consisting of all department heads and county elected officials has been meeting and will continue on a regularly structured basis. I believe this approach will serve our community well as we plan for the future.
Partnering with neighboring counties in providing health and human services saves costs and increases efficiencies. As an example, I opposed the recent dissolution of a 30+ year partnership in public health services with Rock County. We need to be visioning with our neighboring counties especially in the health and human services areas toward re-establishing balanced and respectful partnerships in these types of costly mandated services.
What would you like to see accomplished in the county in the next four years? One very important issue is the continuation of the Wind Energy Production Tax, under threat of elimination by the MN legislature ($827,000 to the county in 2012), this revenue is needed to maintain our road system and other infrastructure without resorting to an increase in property taxes. Another is the extreme dependence of county activities on the local property tax system that is out of balance and in dire need of change. We must stay active in working with our state legislators in a non-partisan manner on these issues as well as many others.
Additional comments: Please feel comfortable in calling me to discuss these or any other concerns that you may have. Home 507-683-2853; cell 507-370-2196.