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Election 2022: Meet the Nobles County commissioner candidates

Both incumbent Gene Metz and Chris Dybevick are running unopposed in their respective races.

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WORTHINGTON — Two elections will take place regarding the Nobles County Board of Commissioners on Nov. 8.

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Long-time commissioner Gene Metz will be running unopposed in the District 2 race, while newcomer Chris Dybevick, also unopposed, has thrown his hat in the ring for the fifth district seat.

The Globe sent out questions to both candidates to get their responses about their priorities as commissioners, and how they would handle issues regarding Nobles County.

Why are you seeking office?

Metz: I will be entering my eleventh year as Nobles County Commissioner in 2023. I feel I can make the hard decisions when they may not be the most popular with my constituents. I have achieved a high leadership role on many of my extra committees and would like to continue to serve to offer my expertise.

Dybevick: Over the last eight years I have worked with every department in the county along with administration and the board of commissioners and I am very excited to continue to work with them and the residents of Nobles County. I want to have a positive effect on the lives of the people of Nobles County.

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What should the county's role be in addressing current workforce shortages in the area?

Metz: I believe every business entity must look outside of every box to find ways to keep our local citizens here and in the workforce. We have looked at creating scholarships, internships, growing our own models, (and) alleviating the daycare shortage so family members can work. Nobles County has just instituted a telecommunicating policy to possibly attract outside employees. Nobles County must also look at its employees as an important cog in the infrastructure that makes our communities run.

Dybevick: Workforce shortages are (a) nationwide concern and as a commissioner, our focus has to start with employees of Nobles County and making sure we are attentive to our employees and our staffing needs. We also need to work together with local and state governments in finding a solution to getting people back into the workforce.

What is your philosophy on county infrastructure in terms of maintenance and investment?

Metz: When I became commissioner 10 years ago our board realized we had neglected many of our facilities. A 10-year capital improvement plan was built, and projects were bonded for to make the improvements with low-interest costs and to avoid future inflation. A substantial road improvement plan was also developed a few years later. We have been able the get the county’s facilities and roads in pretty good shape for the future. With the high-cost environment we are now facing, every project will now have to prove itself to be a good investment.

Dybevick: County infrastructure is very important and Public Works Director Aaron Holmbeck has been doing a great job. The entire county depends on our infrastructure every day and it should be deemed as (a) very important part of the operations of Nobles County

How would you address the needs of public facilities, particularly in regard to the Nobles County Library and Nobles County Art Center?

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Metz: Any new or updated facility will have to be a benefit to a majority of Nobles County citizens. We also need to look at whether there are alternate methods to provide the same service.

Dybevick: The needs of public facilities, in general, would be a learning process as a new county commissioner. I have been involved in the Law Enforcement Center/Prairie Justice Center committee to address safety issues, building maintenance and plans for the long-term viability of the facility.

How do you intend to reach and serve the diverse constituency of Nobles County?

Metz: That has been my biggest struggle since I have been a commissioner. With our percentage of a diverse population, we should be seeing a larger number of different cultures on our boards and workforce. I can see the change coming, but it is slow. I am always open to any suggestions of how to communicate with these groups.

Dybevick: I think it important to reach out to everyone in Nobles County. We need to make our local government operate as efficiently as possible and offer the best service we can to all the people of Nobles County.

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What investments in the future would you make for the county?

Metz: I am a no-frills kind of guy. I will continue to seek ways to keep our infrastructure in adequate shape without jeopardizing it in the future. We need to also look at additional ways to build our tax base so the levy doesn't have such a bite in the future.

Dybevick: I think we need to invest in the people and employees of Nobles County. I would like to improve the service to our county residents and decrease the cost and expense of employee turnover. I think the best investment we can make is in serving our people.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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