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Paynesville Press - Oct. 27, 2010

Stearns County District 5
Don Otte

Don Otte, 65, of Sauk Centre has represented District 5 -- including Paynesville -- on the Stearns County Commission-ers for 12 years. He farms near Sauk Centre.

Why are you running for county commissioner? I want to continue working for the people of Stearns County and especially the people of District 5, which covers about 60 percent of the land mass of Stearns County. It includes 20 townships and 17 cities. Ninety percent of all the ordinances enacted in Stearns County affect all the people that live outside of incorporated city limits. Basically, most of the ordinances are written because 5-10 percent of the population do things that 90-95 percent of the population doesn't agree with. I feel my job is to be vigilant and protect the 90-95 percent of the people so ordinances don't go too far.

What accomplishments would you cite for your re-election as commissioner? I have worked on countless rules and ordinances to provide equity to all the citizens of Stearns County. I recently got involved in the design of the parking lot for the new west side service center. I worked on persuading city officials (the ones who had to issue the permit) that there was a better way of getting rid of rain water other than the curb, gutter, and storm sewer approach. I am proud of one of the first parking lots in Stearns County using rain gardens to use up and hold excess rain water. There are no curbs, gutters, or storm sewers. This approach has saved Stearns County taxpayers thousands of dollars; plus it made for a more attractive parking lot.

What is your vision for Stearns County? Counties were formed as an arm of the state. Eighty to ninety percent of what goes on in Stearns County is mandated by the state. The other 10-20 percent are based on citizen needs. I want to see Stearns County deliver the needs and carry out those mandates in a fair, respectful, and professional manner based on human and economical resources. I see this happening through innovative leadership from the commissioners, officials, employers, and the involvement of the citizens of Stearns County.

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