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County board will have three new faces

There will be three new faces on the Hubbard County Board in January.

Challenger David De La Hunt was elected county commissioner for District 1 with 1,098 votes (54 percent) over incumbent Vern Massie, who took 942 votes (46 percent).

"I believe the voters of District 1 were looking for someone with a diverse background and a variety of experience," De La Hunt said. "I'm humbled that the voters have put their trust in me and will do my very best to represent all Hubbard County taxpayers."

De La Hunt said his top priorities when he takes office will be "to listen to the taxpayers, department heads and employees of Hubbard County. Together, we will work to solve problems, support law enforcement and create an environment that allows for economic growth and the protection of our environment. At the forefront of every decision will be a cost/benefit analysis for the taxpayer," he said.

Tom Krueger prevailed in the District 3 commissioner race 3 with 1,153 votes (57 percent) over incumbent Ed Smith's 851 votes (43 percent).

He credited his success with going door-to-door and meeting people. "Just about everybody wanted to take time to talk," Krueger said. His top priorities are "transparency of public meetings and getting the county board meetings recorded." He'll also "get up to speed with the budget and needs of department heads."

Ted Van Kempen won 1,670 votes (99 percent) as County Commissioner District 5. He will take over the seat currently held by Cal Johannsen, who did not seek re-election.

"I was fortunate enough to run unopposed. I still feel I was prepared," Van Kempen said, noting his 15 years of experience as a township supervisor in Schoolcraft Township, four years on the Hubbard County Board of Adjustment/Planning Commission and service on the Bemidji Rural Fire Association Board.

Van Kempen said the county board is supposed to be a representative form of government. "I want to represent the people of Hubbard County and District 5," he said, adding that likely top issues are roads, taxes and social services. He urges constituents to contact him with their concerns.

Also running uncontested, incumbent Jonathan Frieden received 7,755 votes (99 percent) as county attorney.

County sheriff

Cory Aukes won a third term as Hubbard County Sheriff on Nov. 6 with 7,116 votes (73 percent) over Minnesota State Trooper Dion Pederson's 2,659 votes (27 percent).

A 28-year veteran of the sheriff's office, Aukes was first elected sheriff in 2010, defeating then-interim Sheriff Frank Homer. He ran unopposed for re-election in 2014.

"I'm very honored to be able to serve Hubbard County for another four years," said Aukes, describing his win as a victory shared by his department.

"Having a great staff, and a staff that performs, is why we won this election," he said. "Getting 73 percent of the vote and winning in every precinct in Hubbard County says a lot, and is very humbling to me."

Regarding to the term ahead, Aukes said, "I look forward to continuing our efforts in fighting drugs and making improvements in the sheriff's office each and every day."

"It was a little disappointing," Pederson said Wednesday about his defeat. "I thought it should have been a closer race. I felt that I ran a good, clean campaign. I have no regrets."

Adding that he wishes Aukes well during the next four years, Pederson said, "Hopefully, he can take some of the issues that were brought up during the campaign and address them and work on them."

Asked whether issues raised during the campaign will affect how he runs the sheriff's office during the next four years, Aukes said, "I don't know that there is much that I would do differently. The staff that I have, we're all on the same page. They do a great job. If there were improvements that I would have seen, we would have done them previously to this. I'm always open to make improvements, but I truly don't see much need for changes."

SWCD board

In elections for the Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors, Marcel Noyes received 7,693 votes in a special election for District 2. Donald Sells won 7,824 votes for District 4, and Lynn Goodrich won 7,700 votes for District 5. All three were incumbents and unchallenged.

The election results in this story are based on unofficial vote counts provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State's office.