BLUE EARTH - Paul Bach of Wells is challenging incumbent Tom Warmka of Easton for the District 5 seat on the Faribault County Commission.
Running for the board
Warmka has served on the board since 2000 and is seeking re-election "because I want to continue to be a public servant, to serve the people of Faribault County and District 5," he said. "I understand how the county board functions, understand drainage and budgeting in the county. I bring a lot of experience and leadership, I hope. I don't need the job, I want it."
He believes being a farmer helps him be a commissioner.
"Farming is the backbone of this county, the economic driver in the county," he said. "This job is a lot like being a farmer: A lot of days you don't know what's going to happen, challenges and interesting things going on."
Bach farms about 100 acres and delivers new trucks to vehicle dealers all over the United States.
"I have a lot of experience with water," said Bach, who formerly worked for Weber Construction on the county mains. "It's farm country, all agriculture. I see a lot of stuff that's got to be changed, because the mandates are coming from the federal government.
"I think I can save the county a lot of money by taking care of this stuff before it gets out of control," Bach said. "I see what's going on in other states. And some of those states are just ahead of us, so I know what's coming down the pike."
Bach is commander of American Legion Post 210 in Wells and has been on the board. He was also on the board of the Wells Historical Society, and was involved in Legion baseball and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Bach has been married to his wife, Denise, since 1985, and has two daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson.
Warmka has been married to wife Cheryl for 43 years, has four sons and six grandchildren.
"A product of the area," Warmka is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans; corn growers and soybean growers organizations, and "very active in my church, Lady of Mt. Carmel" as a lay minister and usher.
Looking to the future
Warmka couldn't pick just one important issue facing the board.
"One goal for the next four years is get economic development going in Faribault County," he said. "If Jackson and Martin counties can attract businesses, we can too, but we have to work together to do it."
Part of his economic plan is to encourage businesses to help take pressure off rural land owners who are "paying too much of the load," Warmka said. "Seventy-seven cents or more out of every dollar comes from rural real estate taxes. We need to spur new businesses and support the businesses we already have."
He also is concerned about demographics.
"Another issue is the aging population, being able to provide services for the aging population," Warmka said. "And we need to have young people back here taking the jobs some of these people are retiring from. We need to get our young people to have jobs so they can stay here, keep our schools and churches full. That's really important."
Bach believes taxes should be a priority.
"Taxes are gonna be No. 1," he said. "How much can you make everybody afford to pay? That's it, right there. Raise the rates, keep up with inflation. Not as many raises, not as many entitlements, if you can't afford to pay them.
"I see a lot of opportunities in this county and they're not being utilized," Bach said.