I agreed with St. Louis County Commissioner Beth Olson that our County Board should have better female representation ("Gender imbalance: Tuesday's County Board primary lacks female candidates," May 11).
Probably very few remember that I filed for the County Board seat in 2016 in the Third District, which Olson represents. I became a candidate mostly because I believe local governments need administrative change. I visited eastern, southern, and western states (at my expense) to find out how counties, cities, and townships elsewhere operate. I found that local governmental units that consolidate their departments save millions of dollars without laying off staff, except administrators. They especially save by having one regional purchasing department. Duluth could not even agree on a joint purchasing department with the county.
I withdrew from the race because Olson told me she fully agreed with my proposal and had experience with it in her previous two administrative jobs. After the election, however, she did contact me. I ran into her in a church recreation hall about a year later. We toasted, but she did not seem to remember what she agreed to do.
I also asked most of our County Board members and candidates to consider the proposal but did not hear from most of them.
Olson would be less "lonely" if she worked on this and other problems, because local governments are not receiving enough financial help from St. Paul or Washington, D.C., to fix bridges, roads, and streets. Vehicles are jumping over potholes, causing head injuries.
County government was originally created mostly for transportation needs. I am disappointed federal and state transportation formulas have not been changed nor gasoline taxes increased to help us.
I am grateful, however, for the hands-free cell phone legislation Gov. Tim Walz signed this session. I tried to it when cell phones first emerged.
The writer served in the Minnesota House of Representatives 1973 to 1981 and 1985 to 2009.