Bellrichard files for commissioner in District 3

Loren Bellrichard, who was convicted of sending threatening mail to judges more than a decade ago, filed to run for commissioner in the 3rd District Wednesday.

In 1991, Bellrichard was convicted of sending threatening mail to public officials, including District Judge William J. Nierengarten and District Judge James L. Mork. He was also acquitted of charges of bombing of Mork’s home in Blooming Prairie in 1989 and Nierengarten’s home in Austin in 1988.

While in prison on the original charges, he sent more threatening letters to other public officials and seven years were added to his sentence.

Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh said Bellrichard is able to run, despite his criminal history.

Bellrichard said he wants to run to protect peoples’ taxes and because of concerns of how the jail and justice center project was handled.

Bellrichard lives about six miles outside Austin near the family farm where he grew up. He is currently working on a large garden, and he hopes to eventually sell the food produced at farmers’ markets. He also works to recycle metal.

Bellrichard said his simple lifestyle would be beneficial as a county commissioner, because he said he lives on a small income and would be able to tighten his belt.

“I’ve learned to live with less,” he said.

While he’s never been elected to public office, Bellrichard ran for commissioner in the 5th District in 2006 but lost in the primary to Gary Ellingson and eventual winner Dave Tollefson. He’s ran for a number of other positions, including mayor and city council in Winona.

However, being elected isn’t Bellrichard’s only goal, as he said he files for office as an educational tool to inspire other people to file.

Bellrichard is a former Pacelli High School valedictorian and a decorated veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War.

After 11 candidates filed for Mower County office on Tuesday, only Bellrichard filed on Wednesday.