Paul Koering, an eight-year veteran of the Minnesota Senate, filed Thursday for the District 1 seat on the Crow Wing County board. He’ll face incumbent Phil Trusty, who also filed for re-election Thursday.
“I’m still interested in public policy and still believe in my heart I can make a difference in an area I’ve lived in all my life.” he said.
Koering, 47, lives in the same home his father was born in. The former dairy farmer said his family has owned that St. Mathias Township property for about 75 years.
After considering another run for the Senate, Koering heeded the pleas of neighbors who asked him to run for the county board.
“I’m friends with Phil Trusty and I have no ax to grind at all,” he said. “It’s not going to be a negative campaign. I still think I have a lot to give to my community and that’s what I’d like to do.”
He served in the Legislature from January of 2003 until January of 2011. He lost to current Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, in the 2010 primary and then lost again when he ran as an independent write-in candidate in the general election.
Hoping to bring insight from his legislative experience to the county board post, Koering wants the county to focus on the basics of roads, bridges and road maintenance rather than peripheral issues such as county parks.
“I think we need to start looking at ways to streamline government,” he said. “One of the main things I’d like to accomplish is ... when I was in the Legislature I prided myself on constituent services.”
The county board, Koering said, deals with funded and unfunded mandates from the state and has many interactions with state lawmakers.
If elected he would like to serve on the Crow Wing County Fair Board, a panel on which he served several years ago.
Koering owns the Baxter Liquor Mart on Highway 371 and Koering Livery Service, which provides transportation services to area funeral homes.
“I think we need to start focusing on what we want government to do,” he said. “I think we’re looking to have government do every single thing for us. The point, I think, is to get back to the basics.”