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Schmidt files for Brainerd at-large seat

Denny Schmidt, a longtime Oak Lawn Township supervisor, filed Tuesday for an at-large seat on the Brainerd City Council.

The northeast Brainerd resident has lived in Brainerd for three years but has lived in the Brainerd area for about 40 years. He served 18 years on the Oak Lawn Township Board.

He wants to use his professional background in sales and marketing in the manufacturing industry to help attract businesses to Brainerd. Schmidt, 65, also said he would be careful with the taxpayers’ money, stating that “Pinch a penny; Vote for Denny” was his campaign slogan. He described himself as frugal by nature.

“I’m even more frugal with other people’s money,” he said.

Schmidt said he wants to see the city be more generous in providing land and utilities for new businesses with more than 20 employees. He would help with recruiting incubator businesses which might be offered low rent and low utility rates until they grow and the rent and rates revert back to market value.

He said it made him uncomfortable that city council members’ emails aren’t available on the city’s website. Schmidt said that as a retiree he would have time to spend on city issues.

He described the incumbent candidates, Bob Olson and Mary Koep, as cronies and said it was time for new blood.

“The seats in the chamber are actually molded to their butts,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt has served on the Kinship Partners Board, is currently serving as a Kinship Partners mentor and is currently serving on the Crossing Arts Alliance and on Essentia Health Hospital Auxiliary Board.

Filing earlier for the two at-large seats were incumbents Olson, Koep and Chip Borkenhagen.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860