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On the ballot 2012: Jeff Carlson

Name: Jeff Carlson

Occupation: In 2006, together with my wife of 26 years, Dee Carlson, we returned to our roots, and became business owners of Carlson Corner, a gas and convenience store at the corner of U.S. 59 and Valhalla Road.

What prompted you to run for county commissioner? The main reason I chose to run for County Commissioner is to be more involved in and to make a difference in the community I grew up in and now reside in as a business owner. Being raised on a family farm, I learned the value of hard work and appreciation of the people in this community. Moving away when I was 21 to pursue a career in construction, I worked for 20 years for the same company in the development and construction field for new residential and commercial property, I worked myself up in the company through increased responsibilities.

In the past two years, I have become more and more aware of the issues and concerns from my neighbors. I began attending planning and zoning meetings, participating in council meetings, voicing concerns in county decisions and growing relationships with fellow neighbors. I learned from listening to surrounding area neighbors that I possess a leadership trait that enables me bring together the concerns of the constituents in this district including the "less heard folks" and put my problem solving skills into action. Being the type of business owner I am, I feel blessed with the exposure and accessibility of the local residents, allowing them to express their concerns, ask questions, or just touch base in a daily, relaxed environment, like stopping by for a mere cup of coffee in the morning.

During my 20 years working closely with government agencies and now being a local business owner, I strongly feel a responsibility to contribute to our community and to represent the constituents in this district. I plan to make decisions based upon understanding the concerns and issues, improve upon what we all have now, and encourage growth in the future.

Do you have experience in leadership or local government? The qualities I possess begin with my family roots, which taught me the value of hard work, looking out and helping my neighbors in need, and a strong desire for fairness and what is best and beneficial for our community.

My most significant education, which contributes to my experience, comes from working in the metropolitan area and surrounding communities for a developer. I learned the ends and outs of government agencies and the bureaucratic process of local agencies. There is great value in understanding the due diligence process which includes zoning, planning, environmental controls, roles of our governmental leaders and administrators and the regulatory aspects that make our community safe and enjoyable to live in. Additional experience can be contributed to the strong family ties in the farming industry and small business. More importantly, as a business owner, growing a business (or strengthen our community as a whole.

What do you think is the most important issue in your county? I feel the most important issue is overspending.

Did the recent redistricting influence your decision to run? The redistricting had no impact on my decision to run for commissioner.