Crow Wing County Board District 2: Lubke defeats Sylvester to join County Board

Lubke will be a first-time commissioner, taking the place of Commissioner Bill Brekken to represent northern Crow Wing County.

Jon Lubke headshot
Jon Lubke, candidate for Crow Wing County Board District 2.

BRAINERD — Jenkins Mayor Jon Lubke earned the most support Tuesday, Nov. 8, among District 2 voters in the race for Crow Wing County Board, besting opponent Robin Sylvester.

Lubke earned 4,010 votes, or 56.65%, to Sylvester’s 3,060 votes, or 43.23%. District 2 includes the cities of Crosslake, Breezy Point, Pequot Lakes, Jenkins and Nisswa.

Lubke said shortly after midnight he hadn’t checked election results at all while busy retrieving his campaign signs and learned of his victory when called by the Dispatch.

“I am like overtired, my feet are froze because it’s raining out, but I’m pretty grateful and I’m very humbled,” Lubke said. “ … The one thing that I really — pretty much my whole campaign was ‘Stronger Together’ and working together between the smaller communities and the county. Like I told people when I was door-knocking, I don’t have an ax to grind with the county, I just want to keep the knife sharp. We have had a lot of growth that we’ve had in the last two or three years and I just want to show how it all comes together.”

Lubke and Sylvester, a financial leader in the state’s transportation department, battled to replace departing Commissioner Bill Brekken, who announced earlier this year he would not seek a second term on the board.


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Lubke said he’s lived in Crow Wing County for 49 years, three decades of which he operated a group of automotive parts stores before retiring in 2003 and being elected mayor of Jenkins in 2007. He’s since become involved in a number of nonprofit and governmental organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the Region Five Development Commission, League of Minnesota Cities and One Watershed One Plan.

Before becoming part of the Jenkins City Council, Lubke served on the planning commission in Jenkins as a way to learn more about the community, he said. Taking part in city government helped him shift from the boss mindset of a small business owner to a more collaborative approach, he noted.

Robin Sylvester, left, running in District 2 for Crow Wing County Board, and Ben Davis, running for Minnesota House District 6A, check results as they come in Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Northern Pacific Center in Brainerd.
Robin Sylvester, left, running in District 2 for Crow Wing County Board, and Ben Davis, running for Minnesota House District 6A, check results as they come in Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Northern Pacific Center in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“I’ve always been a lifelong learner and I really want to learn how the county all works. We have a really good county with a lot of nice people,” Lubke said. “And I’ll tell you my door-knocking I thought would be a real challenge. I found it refreshing. It was tiring, but it was phenomenally refreshing. There is a lot of neat people that live in this county that love it here, and I want to be there and do everything I can to make this the finest county in Minnesota to live in.”

Robin Sylvester headshot
Robin Sylvester, candidate for Crow Wing County Board District 2.

Sylvester, a Jenkins Township resident, is the transportation finance management director for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, overseeing a plethora of revenue and expense streams adding up to a $4 billion budget, along with a team of about 120 employees.

Before leading the financial office at MnDOT, Sylvester worked for the Department of Human Services in Brainerd as well as the Department of Corrections, part of her 25-year career with the state. Previous employers also include Camp Ripley and Bemidji State University, and Sylvester said she’s been a small business owner and currently assists with a family business.

Sylvester provided a written statement via email Wednesday.

“It has been a wonderful journey meeting and visiting with so many people,” she wrote. “This district has a lot of diverse needs and I look forward to continuing to be a voice and making a difference right here at home. Thank you to everyone for the amazing Election Day turnout! Blessings!”

CHELSEY PERKINS, community editor, may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow on Twitter at

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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