Minnesota county government is boring by design. National politics are making it less so

Minnesota county government is boring by design. National politics are making it less so

Community members listen during the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners meeting held Jan. 7, 2020, as the topic of allowing resettlement of refugees into the county is discussed. Forum News Service file photo BEMIDJI, Minn. — Mike Bredon never had political aspirations. He wanted to be in movies — and he has the look. Clark Gable mustache. Cary Grant chin. He was, very briefly, the face of a Minnesota tourism ad campaign. He wore plaid. He may have swung an ax, but who can remember? But a few months ago, Bredon submitted the paperwork to get his name on the ballot in a race for a seat on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners in north-central Minnesota. Bredon’s candidacy for the decidedly uncinematic job of county commissioner can be traced back to a single night in January. Months earlier, President Donald Trump had signed an executive order giving counties the right to refuse or remain open to refugees. The Beltrami board voted to refuse them — the first in the state, and one of the first in the nation to do so. “That vote was a black eye for this town,” Bredon said. “That was a global news story. I started thinking, we can’t let this continue.” So he tossed his hat in the ring. And he wasn’t the only one. County government was never designed to be partisan. It’s road work and zoning laws. It’s boring. It’s supposed to be boring. But for the last year, county government […]

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