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BELTRAMI COUNTY COMMISSION: Olson defeats incumbent county commissioner Vene

BEMIDJI--Bemidji City Council member Reed Olson narrowly defeated incumbent Beltrami County Commissioner Joe Vene in the county's District 2 race Wednesday morning by just 77 votes.

BEMIDJI-Bemidji City Council member Reed Olson narrowly defeated incumbent Beltrami County Commissioner Joe Vene in the county's District 2 race Wednesday morning by just 77 votes.
Race results trickled in late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Early results put Vene in the lead, but once all of the district's five precincts reported voting outcomes at 12:55 a.m., Olson had secured the seat. "I was somewhat shocked," Olson told the Pioneer on Wednesday afternoon. "I saw I was down after three precincts were reporting and so I knew I needed to do really well in Ward 1...I was very pleasantly surprised, because I was about ready to fall asleep with the understanding that I was just going to be a few votes short." Olson received a total of 1,845 votes; Vene earned 1,768. Both candidates named health services as a top priority throughout the campaign. Olson said his first step as a county commissioner will be to learn as much as he can about what needs to be done. "What I'm going to hopefully be able to do is reach out to various agencies in the department and meet with people and get an understanding of what's going on on the ground," Olson said. "See what I can do to help make things run better, I guess that's my first goal." Olson also hopes to help promote diversion programs that would keep those with substance abuse issues or mental illnesses out of the Beltrami County Jail. Once Olson takes over the commissioner position in January, he will resign from his seat on the City Council, which will then be declared vacant. Potential candidates will be able to file to run before a special election, likely in early spring. Olson has not yet talked with Vene, but spoke highly of him. "Joe is a great guy, and he will continue to do great things for the community," Olson said. "In a lot of ways, I really wish that I didn't have to run against him because I do really think the world of him."BEMIDJI-Bemidji City Council member Reed Olson narrowly defeated incumbent Beltrami County Commissioner Joe Vene in the county's District 2 race Wednesday morning by just 77 votes.
Race results trickled in late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Early results put Vene in the lead, but once all of the district's five precincts reported voting outcomes at 12:55 a.m., Olson had secured the seat."I was somewhat shocked," Olson told the Pioneer on Wednesday afternoon. "I saw I was down after three precincts were reporting and so I knew I needed to do really well in Ward 1...I was very pleasantly surprised, because I was about ready to fall asleep with the understanding that I was just going to be a few votes short."Olson received a total of 1,845 votes; Vene earned 1,768.Both candidates named health services as a top priority throughout the campaign. Olson said his first step as a county commissioner will be to learn as much as he can about what needs to be done."What I'm going to hopefully be able to do is reach out to various agencies in the department and meet with people and get an understanding of what's going on on the ground," Olson said. "See what I can do to help make things run better, I guess that's my first goal."Olson also hopes to help promote diversion programs that would keep those with substance abuse issues or mental illnesses out of the Beltrami County Jail.Once Olson takes over the commissioner position in January, he will resign from his seat on the City Council, which will then be declared vacant. Potential candidates will be able to file to run before a special election, likely in early spring.Olson has not yet talked with Vene, but spoke highly of him."Joe is a great guy, and he will continue to do great things for the community," Olson said. "In a lot of ways, I really wish that I didn't have to run against him because I do really think the world of him."

Related Topics: Beltrami County
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