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John Carlson, Sandy Hennum seek District 5 seat on Beltrami County Board

Two candidates are running to represent District 5 on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners, Sandy Hennum and John Carlson.

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John Carlson and Sandy Hennum are both running for the District 5 seat.
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BEMIDJI — All five districts of the Beltrami County Board are up for election in November and, now that the filing period has ended, the list of candidates has been finalized.

In District 5 two candidates are running against each other, John Carlson and Sandy Hennum.

Jim Lucachick, the current District 5 commissioner, is no longer eligible to run for his seat following redistricting.

John Carlson

John Carlson is a former Minnesota Senator who served from 2011 to 2013 representing Congressional District 4.

Carlson is a Bemidji State University graduate who has lived in the city since 1971 with his family. He has worked as an accountant and insurance agent and is currently semi-retired.


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John Carlson

“I believe my understanding of how our state government works, my accounting background and my ability to build consensus will be valuable assets to our county board,” Carlson said.

During his time as a senator, he helped pass 28 pieces of legislation and worked to build agreement and cooperation with other legislators.

Carlson also hopes to bring his knowledge of finance to the commissioner’s seat to help ensure fiscal responsibility at the county level.

“I have the time to devote my energies to making sure that our county practices sound fiscal policies,” he said. “How those needs are prioritized with limited resources will be the key to good governance.”

Carlson remarked that the county was losing a financial watchdog following Jim Lucachick being redistricted out of his seat.

“As a county commissioner, I would be responsive to my constituents and be a good steward of the tax dollars collected,” Carlson said.

Sandy Hennum

Sandy Hennum is the executive director for Village of Hope, an emergency shelter for families in Bemidji. Hennum has lived in Bemidji for 32 years with her family and has two adult children.

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Sandy Hennum

“Amazing people in Bemidji do such amazing work, and I just want to support that,” Hennum said. “I just know that working together we can make Bemidji better for everybody.”


Hennum has spent much of her life involved in service to the community. Along with her work at Village of Hope, Hennum is also a Rotary Club member and chair of the Rotary Ridgeway Neighborhood Initiative.

“I’ve lived my life working toward collective impact,” Hennum said. “I have worked extensively with statewide organizations, advocacy groups and different legislative groups to bring more resources to this part of Greater Minnesota.”

As the director of an emergency shelter, Hennum is passionate about housing and related issues and hopes to bring her experience working in those fields to the county board.

“I really want to work on the housing supply and the mental health services,” Hennum said. “I just think I bring that experience and collaborative spirit to give some help to these issues that really make it hard sometimes for people to move forward.”

More Beltrami County Board election coverage

Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
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