Crow Wing County Commissioner Paul Thiede announced his intention to file for re-election in 2014.
He represents District 2, which includes Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Crosslake, Jenkins, Nisswa and Ideal, Gail Lake, Timothy, Jenkins, Pelican and Mission townships.
“I have worked hard to reduce the county tax levy in each of the last four years,” Thiede said in a news release. “With this historic run of four successive years of reducing the tax levy I have found the challenges of this job are indeed rewarding. We have accomplished what few other counties, states or the federal government have been able to achieve, and I am hopeful that the taxpayers of District 2 will give me a chance to continue the work.
“Not only have we brought the pattern of growth in county government under control,” Thiede said, “we have streamlined and made more efficient many of the services we provide to our constituents; and there is more to do. From finding ways to cooperate with other local units of government, such as our efforts with Cass County and the city of Crosslake to make zoning laws consistent and effective, to award-winning highway projects that have utilized an open and transparent hearing process, which maximizes public input, our accomplishments are many.”
At a time when the level of public discourse seems to have coarsened and many express skepticism that government is serving the people, Thiede insists that there is not apathy among voters.
“While all ages of voters are trying to be more informed,” he said in the news release, “they are just unsure what sources of information can be trusted as accurate. The work of governing is made more difficult by conflicting evaluations of what makes government operate best. At Crow Wing County, we have tried hard to make our actions transparent and visible to the public.
“I think we are succeeding, with the use of the electronic tools at our disposal, but we can always do more to keep the public informed of our actions. I am continuously surprised at the number of people on the street who appreciate the broadcasts of our board meetings and that get their information directly from those broadcasts or the many stories on our website,” he said.
Citing the recent assessment of the county’s community services programs as fertile ground for reform, Thiede said one of the challenges yet to be resolved is breaking the cycle of dependency that seems to be perpetuated by our welfare programs.
“We want to help the truly needy,” he said, “but in order to contain costs we must be efficient and effective in identifying the real needs and make ourselves accountable for the return on investment when we spend the dollars to solve a problem.
“I look forward to the task of asking the voters for another term in office,” Thiede said.
A veteran of four terms of service in the Minnesota House of Representatives prior to his service on the Crow Wing County Board, Thiede and his wife, Dee, raised their eight children to adulthood while living the past 30-plus years in Jenkins Township.