Candidate profile: Bearth looks to return to public officePublic service is nothing new to Ted Bearth.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
Public service is nothing new to Ted Bearth.
He spent 24 years at Oakdale City Hall serving as a longtime City Council member and six years as the city’s mayor.
Now Bearth has his sights set on another public office: Washington County Board’s District 2 seat.
He faces incumbent Washington County Board Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek in the district, which comprises eastern Woodbury, Oakdale and Lake Elmo.
Bearth said he had been asked by community members to run for the seat each year Pulkrabek has been up for re-election.
“Now I said, ‘Hey, maybe I should,’” Bearth said.
He said he’s running because Pulkrabek “doesn’t do the job,” he said, citing Pulkrabek’s absence from meetings and votes.
“It’s an honor and a privilege and you don’t treat it that way,” Bearth said.
He said his years in public office taught him the value of the Golden Rule: “Treating people properly – like you would want to, especially listened to.
“Public service should have a bigger heart than it does.”
Bearth spent 34 years at American Can in St. Paul, where he worked his way up from the factory floor to the main office. He is now completing a job with the Landfall Housing and Redevelopment Authority that ends Nov. 2.
If elected, Bearth said he would like to re-establish a partnership between Washington and Dakota counties that performed training for emergencies and crises.
“It’s a real good training exercise,” he said of the former program. “We probably need that now as much as we did then.”
He named taxes as another top priority. Bearth said County Board “definitely can’t raise taxes” moving ahead.
“There’s too many people hurting,” he said.
When it comes to finding savings in the budget, Bearth said he would first look to commissioners’ travel budgets. While some travel is necessary, he suspected more can be accomplished via communication technology.
“Maybe there’s some wiggle room there,” he said.
He supports transit efforts, but not light-rail options, saying it is too expensive. Rather, the bus rapid-transit option (BRT) that was advanced earlier this month by a key transit panel, has his support.
“I am definitely a bus person,” he said. “That’s smart. That’s good planning.”