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Salminen, Bristlin to seek re-election

Becker County commissioners Harry Salminen and Bob Bristlin both plan to run for another four-year term this year.

They are the only two on the five-member county board up for re-election.

Several other county offices are also up for election this year, and all incumbents say they plan for file for re-election when filing opens July 5. The general election is Nov. 7.

Auditor and Treasurer Ryan-Tangen plans to run for the auditor-treasurer position.

County Attorney Joe Evans says he will seek re-election, as will county recorder Darlene Maneval.

Sheriff Tim Gordon's name will also be on the ballot.

So far only Gordon has an announced opponent: Becker County Deputy Jay Nelson says he is gunning for the sheriff's job.

Also on the ballot will be the position of county coroner, now held by Dr. Knute Thorsgard, and county surveyor, held by Roy Smith. They are considered part-time positions: The county spends just under $4,000 a year on the coroner's salary and Smith's only county compensation is an insurance package worth about $10,500.

Two seats on the Becker Soil and Water Conservation District board will also be on the ballot. They are currently held by Jerry Flottemesch and Don Lefebvre. The position pays $75 per diem for each monthly meeting, plus mileage.

Salminen represents District 2 on the county board, which includes wards 2 and 3 in Detroit Lakes and Lake View Township.

Bristlin represents District 4, which includes Audubon Township, Detroit Township, the city of Audubon, and ward 1 in Detroit Lakes.

Filing opens 8 a.m. July 5 and closes at 5 p.m. July 18, at the courthouse.

The fee is $50 for county offices and $20 for Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor.

Both Salminen and Bristlin say they'd like to stay and see county construction projects through, notably the courthouse north addition.

And both say they would like to continue the needs-based budgeting system that has helped keep levy increases low the past several years.

"With all the different issues and all the different budgets, it's a learning process," Salminen said. "I'm feeling more comfortable in understanding the issues, and I think the board in general has done an excellent job of controlling costs."

Serving on the board "is challenging, and I enjoy it," said Salminen, who lives in Lake View Township.

Bristlin, who lives in Detroit Township, says he plans to run on his record.

"I want to continue as we have been, thinking out of the box, as we have the last four years, even if they (the ideas) are controversial."

He pointed to the minimum security jail as an example of innovative thinking, and he said the board was successful in re-thinking its budgeting process.

"The last three years the levy increases have been less than probably ever," he said. "We went from 8-9-10 percent increases every year to 1-2-3 percent, so that's my goal (to continue that)."

Tangen promised to draw on his nine years experience in county government to create an efficient and effective new office of auditor-treasurer -- a position created earlier this year by the county board when longtime auditor Keith Brekken announced his retirement.

"I will continue to look for ways to streamline government and maintain fiscal responsibility," Tangen said.

Evans, a lifelong resident of Becker County, has been practicing law for nearly 30 years and was first elected county attorney in 1994.

"During my time in office, I have had the opportunity to handle a wide variety of challenging cases. The experience has been invaluable," he said. "I've also been blessed with a dedicated and professional staff. We've tried very hard to provide top notch legal services. It's been a joy to come to work every day. I look forward to continuing to serve the interests of the people of Becker County."