Pulkrabek, Weik look forward to new terms on County BoardTwo Washington County commissioners representing Woodbury have earned another term.
Two Washington County commissioners representing Woodbury have earned another term. Lisa Weik and Bill Pulkrabek defeated their challengers with comfortable margins of victory on Nov. 2 and both said they are ready to focus on the challenges ahead.
Just more than 68 percent of the voters for District 5, which encompasses 11 of 15 precincts in Woodbury, cast their ballots for Weik. Her challenger, businessman Kelly Monkman received just more than 31 percent of the vote. Weik, first elected to office during a special election in 2008, said she considered this most recent Election Day her “performance review.”
“I do feel like I have had my finger on the pulse of the community,” Weik said, “And the outcome of this election shows that I do understand where this community is coming from and where it wants to go.”
Finishing out the county’s budget this December is Weik’s first priority, but said in 2011 she plans to work with her fellow commissioners to focus on how to improve economic conditions for businesses throughout Washington County.
Pulkrabek, who earned his fourth term as a county commissioner for District 2 with his victory over challenger Dean Johnston, said he is ready to focus on the likely possibility that the county will be faced with more cuts to its state aid.
“No matter which party is in power at the Legislature, it’s probably not going to be good news for the counties,” Pulkrabek said, referring to a deficit the Legislature may try to alleviate by cutting its local government aid to cities and counties across the state. “It’s challenging especially for a very fiscally responsible county. If we are going to hold the line on taxes it’s a situation that could force us to make even deeper cuts. But you don’t want to see people’s property taxes raised.”
Stepping up to fill void
Pulkrabek and Weik’s victories means Washington County Board of Commissioners will retain four of its five current commissioners moving into 2011. But come Jan. 1 the County Board will have one new face in Autumn Lehrke, who defeated five-term incumbent Myra Peterson.
Pulkrabek and Weik expressed confidence in Lehrke’s transition into her new role, but acknowledged the remaining veteran leadership on the board will have to step up and fill the void that will be left by Peterson’s departure.
“I can’t say enough good things about Myra,” Pulkrabek said. “She’s been an exceptional commissioner for many years and a great person. And she was extremely knowledgeable about every issue the county was involved in.”
Weik said she has learned much about leadership from Peterson.
“She has a wealth of knowledge that spans more than two decades and just has been a valuable resource to the county over the years,” Weik said, adding that Peterson’s departure from the County Board is somewhat analogous to Congressman Jim Oberstar’s departure from the U.S. House of Representatives. Oberstar, who was defeated in the 8th District election by newcomer Chip Cravaack, was known as a “transportation hawk,” and much like Myra Peterson, became an expert on the issue during his long tenure, Weik said.
“In her corner of the world, Myra had a level of expertise and influence on transportation issues, that whether you agreed with her or not, were something that commanded a lot of respect,” Weik said. “The loss of so much institutional knowledge means the rest of us commissioners are going to have to step up our game.”