Mark Willems

Address: 9310 150th St, Cologne (Dahlgren Township)

Age: 54

Family: Wife Theresa of 31 years

Employment: Self-employed all-natural produce farmer

Education: 1984 graduate of Norwood Young America High School

Hobbies/Interests: Fishing, boating, playing cards, hunting, woodworking

Previous experience that would prove helpful in position: 12 years serving on the Dahlgren Township Board, Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, many years of running a successful drywall business, other boards/volunteer positions.

Contact info: 952-797-6451; contact@mark4carvercounty.com; www.mark4carvercounty.com Why are you running for this position?

I have always had a strong desire to serve my community and I would like to continue to serve on a broader county level. Carver County was a great place to grow up and I want to do my part to make sure it continues to be a great place to live and work.

I also want to make sure to preserve our strong agricultural heritage while balancing that with the growth of our cities. There has always been a strong sense of community in Carver County and I want to promote and protect this for future generations.

What are the top three issues you would face during your term?Transportation — The county has been working diligently to procure the needed funding for Highway 212 and other road projects throughout the county. With today’s funding mechanisms, local governments need to take an active role in project funding. Property taxes — I will always keep taxpayers in mind when making taxation decisions and will make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently.Public safety is a primary concern considering the events of the last few months. It is the county board’s job to make sure the sheriff’s department is funded properly so the department can operate properly.

How will you involve, and communicate with, residents during your term?

If I am elected to serve Carver County as a commissioner, this will be my full-time job. I plan on staying connected to the residents by face-to-face communication, visiting with residents at community events, social media posts, emails and my phone will be available to all to call with their comments and concerns.

What areas would you adjust in the budget?

I don’t mean to avoid this question, but I don’t think it is fair to choose one or two items now without seeing the big picture. I feel the overall budget needs to looked at, and only then can one determine areas of adjustment. I will be a strong steward of our taxpayer dollars and ensure there is a fair and honest assessment of our needs at the county.

What role should the county have in assisting people and businesses in the pandemic?

The state and federal government have provided the financial assistance to the residents and businesses. The county should be taking a support role in helping people apply for the assistance which is available. In these trying times, the county needs to make sure our mental health support systems are meeting the needs of our residents. The pandemic has been challenging to the county employees to provide the services which are normally routine. My hope and desire is to return to doing business in person very soon.

What is your long-range vision for Carver County?

As stated before, it is extremely important to preserve our agricultural heritage in the county. A strong ag base benefits all of us, including those who live and own businesses in our cities. I want to make sure we have a modern and efficient road system to move goods to market and to entice economic development.

Carver County continues to rank as one of the best places to live and raise a family — my goal will be to continue this high standard for future generations.

What is your favorite part of living in Carver County?

It’s the people. Even though Carver County has grown immensely over the last decades, we still know our neighbors. The community is there to help when someone is in need, most of the time without asking. There is a strong sense of community. You see this in all the town celebrations where people work very hard to put on their annual events to bring the community together.

Carver County also has great recreational opportunities like Baylor Park, Lake Waconia Regional Park, and many biking and walking trails.

Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?

No.

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