Carlton County board candidate: Alex French
August 7, 2020
Q What in your personal background, characteristics and qualifications makes you good for this job?
A Working as an accountant at Alaspa and Murray provides the opportunity to work with a variety of county residents, each with unique circumstances. Being approachable, relatable and trustworthy are essential qualities. Clients and constituents must feel comfortable before expressing their frustrations, ideas and concerns openly. The listening and interviewing skills I have developed enable me to identify the real concerns and address them with quality solutions. These tools will serve me well as commissioner.
Q What motivated you to run for commissioner?
A After nearly a decade in Fargo, Omaha and Duluth, I moved back. I realized the people around me matter more than the buildings. This was, is and will be home. That said, Carlton County has incredible opportunity for improvement. I would like to be a driving force behind positive change.
Q What do you think are the top two issues facing Carlton County and how would you go about tackling those?
A The first issue is the new jail. A large portion of the preliminary work has been done by the current board but there is an increasing sense of urgency given the July 31, 2023 sunset date while seeking funding through a local option sales tax in lieu of property tax increases.
The second issue is slowing the "talent drain." While I support those that want the college experience and want to move away, we need to do a better job of retaining homegrown or attracting new talent. Providing modern convenience, economic opportunity and entertainment options are essential to that. One major step is fully connecting our residents to the world. The COVID19 pandemic we are in should be eye opening. An internet connection is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. People should not have to drive miles to a school parking lot to send in an assignment or order diapers off Amazon or target.com. There must be fast, reliable internet in all corners of the county.
Inviting and cultivating economic development and providing top-notch public safety will help increase our population and tax base as well.
Q Name something you think the county board has handled well over the past two years.
A Reversing the ban on flavored tobacco. When the age to buy tobacco was raised to 21, there was no need for that part of the ordinance. It also would have been an overreach on the board's part. Local government cannot be expected to protect someone from their own unhealthy decisions.
Q What is one thing you want voters to know about you?
A I share many of the same values as my opponents, living in Carlton County instilled those. Being from a younger generation, my perspective and vision would add a unique voice to the board. That voice would be beneficial as the county and world experiences dramatic changes in 2021 and beyond.