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Dunn County Board Chair Rasmussen says “farewell”

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  — After 28 years on the Dunn County Board — 12 of them as chair — Steve Rasmussen has said “farewell.”

“I could not have asked for a better chair,” said Paul Miller, county manager, at Rasmussen’s final Dunn County Board meeting March 21.

Rasmussen, county board representative for District 4 from Boyceville, decided not to run for re-election this spring.

In the April 3 election, two candidates from Boyceville are on the ballot for the District 4 position: Pamela Powers and Ronald Score.

Miller, who has been county manager for a year and a half, said Rasmussen showed kindness, patience and is “always available.”

“He took me under his wing,” Miller said, referring to his first days, weeks and months in Dunn County as the county manager.

Rasmussen has a “thorough grasp” of the workings of county government, Miller noted before turning the floor over to Rasmussen.

“It’s bittersweet,” Rasmussen said, his voice choking with emotion as he began his remarks.

Serving on the county board has provided intellectual stimulation and contact with a variety of people, he said.

“This has been my family away from home … I have learned so much,” Rasmussen said, noting that he had decided to adopt Mayor Stokke’s idea and “quit while I am ahead.”

Rasmussen said the supervisors serving on the county board are “a great board.”

The county board is functioning under a “consensus driven” philosophy and there is “no drama,” which allows county board members to be free to express their opinions, he said.

While some county boards have decided to operate with fewer board members, the Dunn County Board has remained at 29 supervisors.

A large county board “is a strength.” The diversity and number of board members allows the Dunn County Board to be closer and more available to the constituents they serve, Rasmussen said.

Dunn County Board members can truly represent the community and govern from the middle. They represent everyone, no matter whether constituents voted for a particular supervisor, or perhaps did not even vote at all, he said.

The Dunn County Board has been able to manage change while maintaining a focus on good work, listening to other board members, and empowering and respecting each other, Rasmussen said.

“What a blast. It’s been a great ride,” he said.

His voice once again choking with emotion, Rasmussen said he wanted to use an old sailor’s saying to send the county board forward.

“Fair winds, and following seas,” he said.

Rasmussen’s wife, Mary, also addressed the county board and said she wanted to commend the supervisors for being “a terrific board” and wanted them to know she and her husband had appreciated all of their support over the years.

At the conclusion of the county board meeting, Gary Stene, District 5 representative from Colfax who serves as vice chair of the county board and as village president in Colfax, said he wanted Rasmussen to know how much he also had appreciated Rasmussen’s service as a supervisor and as chair of the county board.