Our View: We endorse Podulke-Smith for Olmsted County Board

Opinion by Post Bulletin Editorial Board October 29, 2022 08:30 AM


ROCHESTER - We speculate with some degree of confidence that the roughly 46,000 Olmsted County residents who live outside of Rochester are more likely to know their Olmsted County commissioner than are Rochester's 117,000 residents, who probably are more familiar with their city council member. So, in the spirit of a Minnesota Twins marketing scheme from the early 2000s, we urge Olmsted County residents to “Get to Know 'Em” before casting a vote for your next county commissioner. Our editorial board has already done that, and we offer these endorsements in five races for the Olmsted County Board.

District 1

This contest pits Loring Stead against Laurel Podulke-Smith. They are vying to replace Stephanie Podulke, who is retiring after serving on the board since 2011. The district encompasses much of the city core of Rochester.


Podulke-Smith, a JM graduate and the daughter of the retiring Podulke, has a master's degree in organizational leadership and cites her 20 years of experience in education, health care and small business as good training for the county board.


The nearly lifelong Kutzky Park resident chose her words deliberately during the League of Women Voters candidate forum. She strikes us as someone who isn't eager to weigh in on a topic until she's done her homework, but she also came across as deeply concerned for the welfare of others.


Stead, who spent 35 years as a doctor at Olmsted Medical Center, is a relentless optimist who exuded energy and enthusiasm as he repeated truisms like “No money, no mission.” He clearly loves Rochester and Olmsted County, and his extensive experience on local task forces and committees would serve the county well.


There is no bad choice in this race, but the Post Bulletin endorses Podulke-Smith. She already is building upon the network of contacts and expertise that she inherited from her parents, each of which served on the board.


She told the forum audience that she spent the past several years preparing to run for this office, and we have no doubt that she is deeply familiar with the needs and opportunities that exist in District 1.