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Primary election is Tuesday: Mark Hagedorn points to financial experience

Mark Hagedorn has been an officer at two banks and a mortgage company in Detroit Lakes and now he wants to put his financial background to work as a county commissioner. The primary election is Tuesday.

Hagedorn, 60, lives on the 1200 block of Lake Avenue. He worked for 10 years at State Bank & Trust in Detroit Lakes, where he served as vice president, and for 10 years after that at First Security Bank, where he served as president.

Both were essentially lending officer positions, he said. Since Feb. 1 he has been a mortgage lender at Principle Mortgage Group in Detroit Lakes.

Hagedorn is a member of the Kiwanis and has served as treasurer of the high school athletics Booster Club since 1990.

"That's why I'm making brats every Friday night (after football season starts)," he joked.

He is a member of First Lutheran Church and served for nine years on the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission.

Hagedorn said he will bring his fiscally conservative background to the county board on a day-to-day basis, "just being responsible for what's going on in the county," he said.

He graduated from Mankato State University with a bachelor's degree in finance.

He enjoys fishing, family and friends.

He has three grown children, Nick, who lives in Coon Rapids with his wife and two children, Anna, a registered nurse with the Becker County Public Health Service in Detroit Lakes, and Alex, a bank examiner in Duluth.

Anna and her husband, Josh have a 20-month old boy, Hoyt, and are expecting a baby girl soon. The family is living with Hagedorn, who is divorced, while Josh, a builder, finishes their new house.

"I enjoyed being on the (city) planning committee and this is just one more way to serve the community again," Hagedorn said.

The County Board has been doing a good job, he said, but with a new city-based commissioner district "there should be better representation than there has been in the past ... it's a chance to be more focused on the city proper."

He said Detroit Lakes residents he has talked to "like the fact that they will be represented more closely than they have been -- they were happy to see me run -- that goes back to the conservative approach I take. One said, 'Oh, thank goodness there'll be some age and wisdom.' I think my name will be recognized in the community."

The candidates were asked if they agreed with the county's strict enforcement of zoning laws, which have resulted in decks, retaining walls and other structures -- built without the proper permits -- being torn down.

"I agree with what they're trying to do," Hagedorn said. "In order to preserve what we have here (the zoning regulations are necessary). If they didn't go through the proper rules, they should be held accountable. The county is not too tough -- we all live here and need to preserve the quality of life."

The issue also came up when he served on the Detroit Lakes Planning Committee, he said. Planners need to stick to the rules and not be swayed by a squeaky wheel.

"You're probably making one person upset and 10 or 12 other people happy that you're protecting the quality of life," Hagedorn said.

Candidates were also asked if they believe any county departments are under-funded or over-funded and if so, what changes they would make.

"I think the commissioners have done a nice job of making sure that, if they supply an employee with a vehicle for work, it stays on county property during off-hours. They've cleaned that up quite a bit," Hagedorn said.

"I might look into how much overtime goes to county employees. I'm not privy to the records -- it could be a loose cannon if no one's watching it."

Asked what he believes are the top issues facing the county, Hagedorn said:

"Water quality of the lakes. That gets back to zoning, and making sure that's appropriate."

Two, he said, is improving traffic flow in the Highway 10 West and Highway 59 South area.

He likes the current plan to build a Highway 59 underpass and system of frontage roads similar to the Highway 10 project through central Detroit Lakes.

"I'm thankful there aren't more accidents on Highway 10 West," he said. "That area will continue to grow."

He supports moving the airport. That would allow for a longer runway and would open up both sides of Highway 10 for growth -- both the airport land and the land on the other side of the highway are now off-limits because of flight path safety regulations.

He discounts a study that states there are no suitable airport sites within 5 miles of the city as "political."

All in all, he said, "I think the county's doing well. My focus will be on fiscal responsibility ... while still providing service to the people, we need to make sure we're spending wisely and there's not any waste."

Hagedorn said he is looking forward to the challenges and thanked county residents for their support.