Longest-serving commissioner has more to accomplishPublished 9:34am Saturday, June 9, 2012
Candidate profile: Ray Tucker, for county commissioner
After nearly 16 years representing District 2, Ray Tucker thought about retiring. But, the four-term commissioner decided to continue his work with the county and the various committees to which he is assigned.
“I really enjoy those committees, and I think I do a good job, so I want to stick with it,” he said.
The makeup of the board has changed quite a bit in recent years. Commissioners Tucker worked with and learned from like Dave Tollefson, David Hillier and Dick Cummings are no longer on the board.
In fact, Tucker, 60, is currently the only commissioner not serving his first term. As the veteran on the board, Tucker said he has taken on a different role in helping newer commissioners understand past decisions and practices.
“They look at me for the historical data of where the board has been on different agreements,” he said.
But Tucker noted each commissioner has his role, and the new board is working together well.
The upcoming term doesn’t look to have the big issues of recent elections, according to Tucker. He said the biggest focus will be on the Southern Minnesota Redesign Project to merge up to 12 counties’ Human Services departments. Tucker said the board needs to look for ways to be more efficient in Human Services, which makes up a significant portion of the county’s budget.
But for the first time in a few years, Tucker said, there aren’t any new, added costs to the county’s budget on the horizon to the scale of the Mower County Jail and Justice Center project, which Tucker admitted was a big hit.
“It’s getting back to manageable,” he said of the expenses.
That’s not to say the budget won’t be an issue in the next term, as Tucker said the board is still working to keep taxes under control, which is an ongoing challenge.
Tucker, who owns Tucker Tiling and farm land, said he has enjoyed working for the county. He said he is proud of the board’s work to expand wind energy in the county, which he said has been a boost.