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Candidate's View: Look closely at facts, not just a familiar name, when voting for St. Louis County sheriff

From the column: "We need to keep looking at challenges and issues differently, being creative in our problem-solving efforts. As your sheriff, I’ll work closely with you."

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Contributed photo / St. Louis County Sheriff's candidate Jason Lukovsky (wearing the cap) waves to paradegoers at Hoghead Festival in August in Proctor.
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Throughout my career — and currently as St. Louis County undersheriff — I have looked closely at all available information before making decisions. I encourage you to take the same approach in the race this fall for county sheriff. Look closely at what each of us has to offer in terms of experience, vision, and candor.

During my 24 years with the sheriff’s office, I have served in all areas of our organization: patrol, investigations, court services, 911 communications, the Emergency Response Team, and now undersheriff. I have always preferred authentic, honest, and factual communication, which has sometimes meant telling you things you may not have wanted to hear. But I believe the people of St. Louis County deserve the truth.

From the column: "With 29 years of experience and a track record of success, I know we can turn these trends around."

My opponent, Gordon Ramsay, left our area for the Wichita Police Department in Kansas in 2016, and under his leadership there, person-crime offenses increased 18% from 2017 to 2021, according to the Wichita Police Department website. Yes, that’s a startling and telling statistic. Then, in 2021, he applied to be police chief in Austin, Texas. Ramsay’s desire to keep climbing his career ladder isn’t the issue, it’s his spin on what happened. It was upon denial of that chief position that he decided to hurry back to Duluth and run for sheriff here, claiming in a News Tribune column that “home is where the heart is, and my family and I missed northern Minnesota.”

My wife of 24 years — Tami, a longtime Duluth schoolteacher — and I live just outside of Duluth with our two teenage kids. We enjoy outdoor activities, sports, and the welcoming aspects of the county that has always been my home.

There are a few other areas where a closer look at the two candidates is important.

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The 17 labor organizations which have publicly endorsed my candidacy include two Duluth police union groups. These groups are comprised of women and men Ramsay worked with when he was there; why aren’t they supporting their former chief and co-worker?

In contrast, I’ve built relationships and mutual trust with criminal-justice partners and public-safety personnel over the years, including the 280 dedicated professionals in the Sheriff’s Office. Together, we’ve done a pretty good job. In the 2022 St. Louis County Citizens Survey, a national research firm wrote that “public safety services (911 dispatch and sheriff patrol) were the most favorably rated individual services in 2022.” In fact, sheriff patrol received a 75% good to excellent rating, while 911 dispatch received an 88% good to excellent rating.

Can we do better? Absolutely. We need to keep looking at challenges and issues differently, being creative in our problem-solving efforts. As your sheriff, I’ll work closely with you to further evaluate what is working, what is not, and what should be done to enhance our service to you.

Keeping you and your family safe is a serious responsibility, requiring an honest assessment of challenges and opportunities and having the experience to effectively act on them. Do you want to put your trust in a leader who is proven and respected in these areas or a candidate you don’t know much about beyond his familiar name?

Before you vote, visit LukovskyForSheriff.com to learn more about how I will serve you. In fact, look at all the news stories and other information about both of us online as you’re making up your mind. If you have questions, please contact me. I would be honored to earn your vote on Nov. 8.

Jason Lukovsky of Fredenberg Township is a candidate for St. Louis County sheriff. Election Day is Nov. 8. He wrote this for the News Tribune at the invitation of the Opinion page.

Jason Lukovsky
Jason Lukovsky

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