Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, July 3, 2000

Two commissioners prepare to file for reelection

By John Holler

Being a county commissioner isn't a glamorous profession. You're paid less than the department heads you oversee, there are no set hours and, when a citizen has a complaint, it's your phone that rings.

Yet, it's a job that most commissioners want to keep and one that, following the June 27 meeting of the Wright County Board, two said they would seek again.

Commissioners Ken Jude and Jack Russek, whose terms expire at the end of this year, both said they will file for reelection when the filing period opens July 5. Both have served on the county board for eight years and are looking forward the chance to serve another term.

"I'm looking forward to running again, because I think I've served this county well in my years on the board," Jude said. "I'm not afraid to step on somebody's toes when I believe something is wrong. I've always voted my conscience and let people know exactly where I stand on issues and it seems like more issues are coming up every year."

Russek shared those sentiments, saying that he has served his district well and stands on his own merits.

"I feel I can run on my voting record," Russek said. "I've always been someone who lets the people know why I vote a certain way and I've always been willing to listen to people's opinions and let them factor into my decisions."

The two commissioners election histories have been very different. Jude came onto the board after defeating incumbent board chair Wes Wittkowski in 1992 and easily won reelection in 1996.

Russek had to win two elections to get on the board when former Commissioner Michelle Bogenrief opted not to run for reelection in 1992. He was one of two candidates to emerge from a four-person primary election and won the board seat in November, 1992.

In 1996, he won reelection running essentially unopposed - an 11th-hour write-in candidate challenged, but Russek won by a landslide.

As for the competition this year, neither commissioner is sure of any specific opponents that they may face, but neither is confident that he will get an unopposed race to retain his seat.

"I've heard a couple of rumors about people who may run against me, but, beyond that, it's only rumors," Russek said. "You never know what you'll face until the filing time comes, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if others step up to run against me."

"I expect somebody will oppose me," Jude said. "The board's involvement with the compost site has always been a political issue. It was the last time I ran and I doubt if that will change this time. It will always be an issue as long as the county still owns it, so I expect that I will have face those questions again."

Both said they will file early on in the filing process, which opens July 5 and ends July 18. All any other prospective candidates need to do to challenge them is live in the boundaries of their commissioner district and pay the $50 filing fee.

"It will be interesting to see how many people plan to run against Jack or I," Jude said. "You never know until the filing time is done. But I know that I will campaign hard and stay out in touch with the people in my district to let them know why I want to remain their commissioner and then we'll both have to wait and see what the people decide in November."

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