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County Board candidates face off

Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek responds to a question during a Thursday candidate forum sponsored by the Woodbury Bulletin. Also pictured is Lake Elmo Mayor Dean Johnston, who is challenging Pulkrabek for the District 2 seat.1 / 3
Washington County Commissioner Lisa Weik of Woodbury takes part in a Thursday candidate forum sponsored by the Woodbury Bulletin.2 / 3
Woodbury businessman Kelly Monkman of answers a question during a Thursday election forum for Washington County Board candidates. Monkman is challenging incumbent Lisa Weik for the District 5 seat.3 / 3

Incumbent Washington County commissioners defended their records of achievement while their opponents said it's time for new perspectives on the County Board.

The six candidates vying for three county commissioner seats squared off in a forum Thursday co-sponsored by the Woodbury Bulletin and the South Washington County Bulletin.

Commissioner Lisa Weik, who represents most of Woodbury, said in her two years on the County Board she has been open with residents about her responsibilities and uses social media tools to inform them of her work.

"I bring transparency and accountability to my job and to taxpayers," she said.

Weik's opponent, Kelly Monkman of Woodbury, said he would bring a business and civic background to the job. Monkman is a small business owner. That, along with his civic involvement and military veteran status, would be valuable as a commissioner, he said.

"I would bring a very unique perspective to county government," Monkman said.

They are competing for the District 5 seat.

In District 2, which includes northeast Woodbury, incumbent Bill Pulkrabek touted his involvement in Woodbury-specific projects during his time on the County Board, including construction of the R.H. Stafford Library and the county Environmental Center.

Dean Johnston, Pulkrabek's opponent and the current Lake Elmo mayor, said he believes commissioners should work behind the scenes to develop relationships within Washington County and other officials in the region. Johnston said he has done that as mayor.

"I think there's a need for more accountability and I think we need to work together better," he said. Johnston took thinly veiled shots at Pulkrabek throughout the forum, criticizing his level of engagement in the job.

Commissioner Myra Peterson of Cottage Grove and her opponent, Cottage Grove resident Autumn Lehrke, also took part in the forum.

The forum was broadcast live on Channel 18 by the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission. It will be rebroadcast Mondays at 10 a.m., Wednesdays at 4 p.m., Fridays at 8 a.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. until Nov. 2.

See the upcoming print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin for more on the forum.