Montgomery “Monty” Jensen, 30, filed for the District 1 post on the Crow Wing County Board late Friday, emphasizing leadership, fiscal responsibility, accountability and solutions.
His entry into the race means there will be an Aug. 14 primary race to narrow that contest down to two candidates. Filing earlier for the post were incumbent Commissioner Phil Trusty and Paul Koering.
Jensen filed a complaint in November of 2010, requesting an investigation into what he termed voter fraud which he witnessed while voters with mental health issues were absentee voting at the Historic Crow Wing County Courthouse. Jensen said staff members from the facility where the voters lived crossed the line of proper voter assistance and amounted to the manipulation and undue influence of vulnerable adults.
In December of 2010, County Attorney Don Ryan said his office did not find evidence to substantiate Jensen’s complaint. Ryan said in December of 2010 that while Jensen’s concerns were appropriate to bring forth to the county attorney’s attention there was no evidence that anyone committed a crime.
Jensen said he and the county attorney disagreed regarding whether charges should have been filed in the case.
“It’s just a matter of opinion,” he said. “It doesn’t have anything to do with me running.”
A veteran of the Minnesota National Guard and the U.S. Army, Jensen works as a financial specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While in the Army he served in southwest Asia. He said while working at Camp Ripley and for other entities, he had experience in auditing, fiscal law, budgeting, human resources, employee training and development, strategic planning and management positions. He formerly was a work force supervisor at Ascensus in the Brainerd area.
Jensen said no money was being allocated by the county for economic growth. He said he’s talked to people who were considering opening a business but hesitated when they learned how much they would have to pay in property taxes. He said the county should cut or stabilize property taxes.
“It’s a core interest to find out how we can spur the economy in Crow Wing County,” Jensen said, suggesting that a committee be formed on this topic.
He called for all Crow Wing County employment positions to be announced publicly, allowing all county residents adequate opportunity to apply, interview and be considered for the posts. He said past elected officials seem to get appointed to county jobs.
“It seems like an awful easy coincidence,” he said.
The candidate also said he didn’t think county officials were going through itemized expenditures.
“I don’t think they’re being looked at individually,” he said.
Jensen is a member of the VFW and joined the Gordon Rosenmeier Center board last month. He said he’s lived all of his adult life in Crow Wing County, with the exception of time he spent in the military.
This is Jensen’s first bid for public office.
“I know it’s going to be a hard race,” he said. “I think I represent the common person.”