Differences in Dist. 5 St. Louis Co. Commissioner Candidates are Clear

By KBJR News 1

October 24, 2012 Updated Oct 24, 2012 at 6:59 PM CDT

Hermantown, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - During Wednesday's Candidate Forum, both Peg Sweeney and Pete Stauber went head–to–head, and the arguments ensued.

Road construction on Lavaque Road was a hot topic.
Stauber claimed the County Board had promised adding a sidewalk, complete with a curb and sewer drain, but didn't deliver.

"And I know had I been on the County Commission, I would have ensured that our county residents and our children that are walking along that 40–mile–an–hour stretch would have a safe road with sidewalks," said Stauber.

Sweeney defended the board's decision, saying it was a decision left to Lavaque Road residents who voted against the construction project after discovering installing the utilities would cost them.

"We can't put curb and gutter in without storm sewers, and the people along that route were not willing to pay for that," said Sweeney.

The County Board's role in voting on social issues, like the controversial Marriage and Voter I.D. Amendment—which the Current Board voted against—was also a heated issue, and the differences were black and white.

"This wasn't about the issue itself, as much as it was about legislating through constitutional amendments. I think that's the position that we as a County Board have taken on both of these," said Sweeney.

"We as Minnesotans are going to be voting on that on November 6th. Commissioner, I'm running to be a commissioner, not a legislator. That was a waste in my mind that should not have been brought to the County Board," rebutted Stauber.

For Stauber, arguably the biggest point of contention was the County Board's vote against a resolution to support PolyMet's proposed sulfide mining on the Iron Range, which supporters say could bring in hundreds of new jobs.

"I am 100% percent for mining—I am not against it. The only thing I want to see is that these jobs come here, and that we do it right in Minnesota," said Sweeney, who voted against the proposal.

"I think it's disingenuous that during an election you now say you're for it," rebutted Stauber, after reading the County Board resolution on the issue.

...arguments these candidates hope will ensure their seat on the County Board.

Both candidates did agree, however, on the issue of methadone, saying that for–profit clinics aren't working, and that non–profit recovery programs--Like Minnesota Teen and Adult Challenge--need to be utilized more.