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|Paynesville Press - March 19, 2003|
Thielen elected in Paynesville Township
H. Harry Thielen defeated incumbent John Atwood 195-146 at the polls last week, earning a three-year term as supervisor for Paynesville Township.|
Township elections were held on Tuesday, March 11. The only other contested race in the area was in Roseville Township, where write-in candidate Vernon Soine defeated incumbent Foster Hudson.
Thielen, a seasonal resident on Lake Koronis for 21 years who started to live in Paynesville Township full time six years ago, said he was happy with the election results and that he thinks the people have spoken. He said he has already started getting acquainted with the job of running a township, in learning how the township gets its money, how it keeps it, and how it spends it.
H. Harry Thielen was elected to a three-year term on the board of supervisors for Paynesville Township last week, defeating incumbent supervisor John Atwood 195-146.
One of his first major votes could be on the proposed construction project along NW Koronis Road, Crestridge Road, and Breezewood Road, which includes another segment of pedestrian trail. Thielen, who supports the trail, said he would need to familiarize himself with the project and look at the bids that come in before committing to the project.
Likewise, Thielen said he needs to study the proposed routes of Highway 23 before supporting one. "I've got an open mind," he said. "If I go to a meeting, I'm going to listen. Sometimes you can learn more by listening than by speaking."
He urged any township resident with questions to give him a call. "I'm here to serve the people," he explained, "and the only way to serve the people is to listen to their opinions."
Atwood, who served nine years (nonconsecutively) on the township board, said he was disappointed with the results. "I think I could have added some benefits to the people," he said.
Atwood said that he planned to remain informed about township politics, including attending board meetings. If asked and able to serve, he said he would consider running for township office again.
In Roseville Township, Soine received 31 votes as a write-in candidate to defeat Hudson, who got 25 votes. Soine, a 38-year township resident who ran against Hudson and lost 59-35 in 1997, said he had been interested in serving on the township board since then.
His priorities, he said, will be improving the township roads, by putting more gravel on them, rebuilding ones that need it, like 175th Street NE, and doing a better job of snowplowing. "We need some upkeep on the roads, and I feel we haven't been getting it," he said.
Like Thielen, Soine said he needs to familiarize himself with township government. "I don't think I know everything," he said. "I've got to learn." One way to do that, he said, is to drive more of the township roads.
Hudson has served on the township board for 21 years and also has served on the county board for the association of township boards for 18 years. "I've always said that write-in is a dirty deal," he said, adding that he preferred the fair competition of a declared race.
He was thinking about retiring anyway but wanted to serve another term to see the 9-1-1 project through. If the township would have bought signs themselves, rather than participate in the county program they could have saved $3 to $4 per sign, said Hudson, a considerable amount when multiplied by the 300 or so residences in Roseville Township.
In leaving the township board, Hudson said he will always be proud of getting the town hall built in 1987. "That was my baby," he said. "I drew the plans for and watched it all the way through."
Supervisors will serve three-year terms on their respective boards. Treasurers serve two-year terms.
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