Podulke-Smith runs for Olmsted County commissioner, following in her family's footsteps


ROCHESTER, Minn. KIMT3 News - A Med City local is running for a seat on the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, following in her family's footsteps.
Just last week, district one's Stephanie Podulke announced she would not seek re-election after 11 years on the board of commissioners. Podulke earned the seat in 2011 following the death of her husband, Mike Podulke, who was also a long-time commissioner.
Now, their daughter Laurel Podulke-Smith is looking to continue the family's local legislative legacy by filling the vacancy left by the woman who raised her.
"I'm running for county commissioner because I love my community, and I am ready to put my values into action," Podulke-Smith told KIMT. "I'm really a leader with optimistic thinking, and I'm continuously orienting toward finding an optimal pathway forward."
Podulke-Smith is a Kutzky Park resident with two decades of experience as an educator, healthcare professional, and small business owner, which she says will prove valuable in finding solutions with her colleagues on the board.
"Those experiences have taught me a lot about listening, about communication, about building consensus, about finding common ground, even if we disagree on the issues, or even disagree on the facts. There's always a way that we can discover what we have in common, to find where our beliefs, and our values, and our priorities intersect, and move forward from there," Podulke-Smith said.
The newly-announced candidate plans to focus on affordable housing, public safety, and strong social services throughout her campaign. Podulke-Smith shares she grew up in a family that values service, and her run is all about following her heart's calling to make a difference.
"I saw for myself, firsthand, the impact of perseverance and optimism in community leadership, and how that translates directly into improvement in quality of life, a safer community, and a healthier community. I saw that cause and effect firsthand, and that's what I want to be a part of."
While she's been studying up on issues facing the county over the past few years, Podulke-Smith says she aims to reflect the values, concerns, and interests of community members if elected. The district one candidate plans to host a number of listening sessions throughout election season to hear what's on the minds of local voters.
"One of my values is a true spirit of service, including the voice of the community, including unheard stories, and building them right into the solutions. I'm very interested in listening and learning, and including the interests, concerns, and ideas of constituents in all of the policy that I direct, and all of the advocacy that I do for programs and services."
Podulke-Smith will formally launch her campaign with a public kick-off event at the Soldiers Field Picnic Shelter on Saturday, May 14th at 2:00 P.M.

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