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Candidates for Crow Wing County Board ask voters for support


Crow Wing County candidates with state legislative experience participated in what may have one of the shortest debates on record Thursday at Central Lakes College.


Kris Hasskamp, former state representative and candidate for the District 5 seat, is running against incumbent Doug Houge. Paul Koering, former state senator and candidate for District 1, is running against incumbent Phil Trusty.

Trusty and Houge chose not to participate in the candidate forum. Write-in candidates for District 1, Marv Begin and Monty Jensen, were not part of the debate.

Hasskamp and Koering said they were encouraged to run by friends.

Hasskamp said after 40 years of a political life she would be able to leverage those relationships developed at the state capital to benefit Crow Wing County to get the deserved support.

Hasskamp was a state representative for 12 years. She said she wants to work with local governments that are facing difficult times with reduced funding.

“I’m running because I want to be a positive voice,” Hasskamp said, adding she believes county government should be a representative government where she speaks for the residents.

Hasskamp said she was running because people have told her she has the expertise, knowledge and passion needed for District 5.

Koering served eight years in the state senate and said he considered himself done with politics and was content with just watching it on TV.

After friends in District 1 encouraged him to run, Koering said campaigning for the primary brought back the good and bad of his senate political experience. He didn’t go door-to-door for the primary but after coming in second in that contest he found people were behind him and that reinvigorated him. He said he’s been campaigning door-to-door for the election.

People are concerned about property taxes and the ability to hang on to their property, Koering said.

Spending $15 million to $18 million for a new law enforcement center isn’t something Koering supports.

“If you vote for me I’m going to be voting no on that,” he said, adding the county has to get its debt down before it thinks about building new buildings.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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