Four veteran Crow Wing County Department heads and one incumbent commissioner were first-day filers for political office in Crow Wing County today.
Filing this morning were Crow Wing County Auditor Roy Luukkonen, Sheriff Dick Ross, County Treasurer Laureen Borden, County Recorder Kathy Ludenia and District 3 Commissioner Terry Sluss.
Today's filing marked the first official word of candidacies for Luukkonen, Borden and Ludenia. Ross, first elected in 1990, and Sluss, first elected in 1996, announced their intent to file earlier.
Luukkonen, 57, was appointed to the auditor's post in 1988 and was elected in 1990, 1994 and 2000.
He said today his office is an important one, with both administrative and financial responsibilities. He said he contends the office needs to be run efficiently with information provided to government officials and citizens in a timely manner.
Luukkonen, a 29-year resident of Crow Wing Township, noted his office has responsibility in the areas of preparing tax rolls for all taxing authorities; executing contracts for services and materials; issuing licenses; collecting delinquent taxes; administering forfeiture of property, accounts payable and receivable and elections; and maintaining a voter registration system.
Borden, 58, announced today she will seek her fifth four-year term.
"I enjoy the daily challenge of the job," she said.
She has been the county's treasurer since being elected in 1986. She said the number of citizens the treasurer's office serves has increased in the last 16 years and the challenge has been to continue to provide quality service in the areas of tax collection and vital records with a limited budget.
"I have an excellent and hard-working staff," she said. "The county collection accounts are balanced daily with money being banked promptly into interest-bearing accounts.
"I want to continue to serve all of the residents of the county with that same quality service for the next four years."
Borden is certified by the Department of Revenue, State of Minnesota. She earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.
She is a member of the Ossipee Community Church, Gideon Auxiliary, Brainerd Area Business and Professional Women, Zonta International, Heartland Investment Partners, Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce, Nokasippi Farmers Union, Minnesota Association of County Treasurers, Minnesota Association of County Officers and the National Association of Finance Officers.
Borden was selected as the 2000 County Treasurer of the Year by the Minnesota Association of County Treasurers.
Also seeking her fifth full term is Ludenia, the county recorder and registrar of titles. She said the volume of business her office conducts has grown considerably in the years she's been in office. She said Crow Wing County's population and development are better compared to that of a metropolitan area county rather than a rural one.
"It's gotten extremely hectic in the last few years," she said, adding that "It's a wonderful problem to have."
Ludenia, 50, who has lived in Brainerd for 20 years, was first elected in 1986. In those days, she said, much of the work in the office was done manually with handwritten indexes and duplication done by copy machines.
"I feel my biggest accomplishment during my tenure as county recorder is that not one of your tax dollars has gone to operate the county recorder's office," she said in a statement. "Every salary, every piece of equipment and every pencil and pen has been purchased by the fees collected for the services we provide. It has been run like a business, with a handsome profit returned to Crow Wing County general fund to offset the expenses of other departments."
Ludenia is a licensed abstractor and is a member of the National Association of County Recorders and Clerks, the Minnesota County Recorders Association and the Minnesota Association of County Officers. She also is a member of the Zonta Club of Brainerd and the Women of the Moose.
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