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Q&A: Jeff Quinnell, Candidate for Rice County Commissioner—District 2

Jeff Quinnell faces Galen Malecha.

Two candidates are vying for your support to be the next Rice County District 2 commissioner, which represents all but two Northfield precincts in Rice County (see attached map).

The two candidates are:

  • Galen Malecha
  • Jeff Quinnell

Patch asked candidates to respond to a series of questions. Below, you will find responses from Quinnell. You can also read responses from incumbent Malecha here. Responses are written by the candidates and have not been edited by Patch.

In the coming weeks we'll run video interviews for candidates who are on Nov. 6's ballot in Northfield-related races. You can also find out more information about the candidates by checking out our election guide for all election-related stories.


Jeff Quinnell

Age: 50
Family: Late father “Hunts,” mother Bette, brothers Mark and Joel 
Education: B.A. Speech/Communications (Human Relations Emphasis); Minors: Sociology and Psychology, from Augsburg College in Minneapolis 
Occupation: Sales/Marketing and Training (Communications Industry)
Political experience: Current member of the Northfield School Board (term ends 12-31-12)


Why are you running for a seat on the Rice County Board of Commissioners?

We need more stable and good paying jobs in Northfield and all of Rice County! Let’s make Northfield more of a “Hub City” where people can live, learn, and earn with more jobs in education, healthcare, manufacturing, distribution and technology. As Northfield’s Rice County Commissioner for District 2, I will not only be a good manager for the budgets and departments of the county, I will also promote local jobs and business growth. 


What’s the most pressing issue facing Rice County Board of Commissioners?

Jobs! With a down economy, continued cuts from federal and state funding for Minnesota counties, along with high fuel, food, and healthcare costs, families are struggling to meet their basic needs. Business development, innovation, educational and training programs that develop skill sets for jobs in the 21st century is our pathway towards prosperity for Northfield and Rice County. 


What is something you think the current board has done well?

The current board is moving toward helping entrepreneurs and business builders find a home in Rice County. Aggressive and well organized strategic plans for economic development and implementation need to be pursued. 


What is something you think the current board hasn’t done well?

I have only encouragement for the current board with the following comments. Of Minnesota’s 87 counties, Rice County ranks number one in the area of lowest taxed county per-capita, in the state. (And yes, low taxes are important). However, as funding cuts continue to counties on the state and federal levels, with no current forecast for the return of a robust economy, in the near future. I would encourage the current board to be “laser-focused on best practices” for creating short and long term solutions for sustainability. Including, but not limited to bonding for county roads and prepared contingency plans that can be quickly implemented when the challenges of unfunded state mandates and staffing challenges present themselves.


What would you have tried to do differently?

I would just encourage the Rice County Commissioner’s and county staff to continue to ask questions and share ideas. Be positive and professional. Stay engaged and be open to new ideas. Reach out to state and other county leaders, constituents, cities, and townships within Rice County and find creative ways to deliver services effectively at efficient costs, allowing taxpayers to receive a very good value for their tax dollars. 


Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?

My campaign theme and mission is: “Bold Leadership.” One is too small of number to achieve greatness. We need to be “bold leaders” together, in humility, and not with anger or arrogance, finding common-sense solutions that promote the common good, helping all people, and especially Rice County residents in need. I will promote local jobs and business growth. I will work tirelessly to see that county budgets and departments are run efficiently, and that taxpayers receive a very good value for their tax dollars. 


Anything else you would like to add?

Yes! Please, feel free to visit my website at: www.jeffquinnell.com

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