For the first time in more than 15 years, there will be a new commissioner for Sibley County’s fourth district.
Incumbent Charlie Woehler is not seeking reelection. He has served the sprawling district since 1994. District 4 includes most of the northern area of the county including the Cities of Green Isle and New Auburn. Townships in District 4 include Green Isle, New Auburn, Transit, Bismarck, Moltke and Grafton.
Commissioner candidates responded to a questionnaire distributed by The Gaylord Hub, in July, before the Primary Election. Below is a summary of their responses.
Road maintenance and the budget are two issues facing Sibley County and District 4, according to commissioner candidate Joy Cohrs.
A resident of Sibley County for 37 years, Cohrs decided it was time to run for county commissioner. “I have been interested and thought about this for many years and decided now is the time.”
Cohrs believes all of the districts are faced with similar issues, mainly road maintenance. With the federal mandates for signage and lack of funding, the townships will have to provide the funds, Cohrs explained.
Familiar with the departments and general operations of the county, Cohrs stated she would have more to learn and would be dedicated to do her best to serve the people of her district and Sibley County.
“The major issue is the budget because it seems everything else comes back to whether there are monies to keep programs and departments operating,” said Cohrs.
Cohrs lives and farms near New Auburn and works at Franklin Printing in Glencoe. She has two children and seven grandchildren. She has been a member of the Sibley County Fairboard since 1990 and has been involved with Sibley County 4-H for over 20 years. Other activities of Cohrs include member of the Sibley County Historical Society and member of the First Lutheran Church in Glencoe.
Gillaspie said his reasons for running for Commissioner have not changed since the last time he ran in 2006.
Accountability continues to be a concern as Gillaspie says without it, “nothing will ever change.” He believes decisions made by commissioners with little or no information have to stop. Commissioners need to assume the leadership role of their position and demand accountability from everyone, Gillaspie explained. He feels an accountable organization leads to a healthier and happier environment, a hike in productivity, fewer mistakes, and cost savings.
Along with lack of accountability, Gillaspie believes other major issues facing the county include: lost revenues from the devaluation of property values; reductions in State aid; providing for the rising senior citizen population; and deteriorating roads. Gillaspie said budgeting will be tested at great lengths in upcoming years. There needs to be concern about real needs, not wants, he explained.
Because it encompasses a large volume of land, Gillaspie sees deteriorating roads with little funding available as a challenge facing District 4. He also says there is a need to work together with all cities and townships to come up with workable policies that are in the best interest of all concerned.
Gillaspie has a long business background explaining that he opened his first business at age 16. He said he has acquired a vast knowledge which he wants to share with Sibley County.
An Iowa native, Gillaspie served as an Army Ranger in the Vietnam War. He is a member of the American Legion, VFW, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Gillaspie lives in Green Isle Township. He has been married to his wife Jean for 33 years. They have one son.
Comments supporting candidates are encouraged. Comments criticizing a particular candidate will be held until a rebuttal is available from the candidate.