It was a packed house at the Albert Lea City Council Chambers Monday night, as people gathered to listen and ask questions to the city’s three mayoral candidates in a public forum.
Current mayor, Vern Rasmussen Jr. is seeking re-election, running against former city council members George Marin, and John Severtson.
The mayoral race is the only race in Albert Lea that will have a primary election.
Monday night the three candidates came together to talk about their ideas and platforms, as well as learn more from the public about their concerns.
"You never get used to these types of interviews, you know, you just never know for sure what the questions are going to be, so you really gotta prepare yourself to make sure you’re prepared to answer those questions. I think the continued growth of our community is always an issue, so we’ll see what kind of ideas people have," said Albert Lea Mayor, Vern Rasmussen Jr.
Rasmussen Jr. has served as the Albert Lea mayor since 2010, which might be enough to scare off some prospective candidates, but Marin says he’s defeated a long term incumbent before and believes in his message.
"We have to prioritize, which means we have to focus on the right needs at the right time. We have to preserve, we need to appreciate or it’s important to appreciate what we already have and then thirdly, we need to progress," said Albert Lea Mayoral Candidate, George Marin.
While Severtson believes his blue collar work ethic and approach will resonate with the people.
"As a blue collar worker, I feel we gotta make our presence known. I’ve been a steel worker, a retired steel worker, and I see now we’ve lost our last factory. I think it’s important that our voice is out there," said Albert Lea Mayoral Candidate John Severtson.
All three candidates are running with different approaches, but each agrees now is a very important time for Albert Lea and will shape the city’s direction for years to come.