By Angie Baldelomar
After working for the city for over 10 years, Karen Larson said that experience helped her decide to run for a county commission seat in the Aug. 8 primary elections.
Mrs. Larson was city treasurer, city clerk and then city administrator for more than five years, and her experience with city government has prepared her for the county- commission seat. A Republican, she is running in District 2 for a seat now held by her opponent, Sid Metcalf.
“I just love the county and living in the county that I want to keep helping,” she said. “I’ve been doing budgets for 11 years. I think there’s a lot of things going on that would require the expertise that I have.”
Originally from Wheatland, Wyo., she moved in 1993 to Oberlin, where she met farmer Craig Larson and married him. She said she is aware of the importance of what the commissioners do for the county and for the city of Oberlin.
“All the decisions that the county commissioners make affect the people in the city,” she said.
One of the topics discussed the most in recent commission’s meetings is the recycling program. The price per capita could increase from $4 to $10 per capita this month, which has caused the present commissioners to look for alternatives.
“I’d hate to see recycling stop,” she said, “but the reality is that if we can’t afford it, we can’t afford it.”
All options need to be explored before making any decisions, she said, adding that she understands the importance of recycling for the community.
“It’s a way for people to get rid of things while feeling like they’re doing something positive,” she said.
For Mrs. Larson, the key is to do what people would vote for, no matter whether the commissioners agree or not.
“We need to listen to what people say,” she said.
The relationship between the city and the county is one of the things she wants to maintain if elected, the candidate said. Both the city and the county have worked well together to improve the quality of life here.
Mrs. Larson said officials today have less wiggle room to act, which is why the county needs people who know what they are talking about. She said county officials should understand that their decisions affect the city as well.
“I think we are a community that shines,” she said, “and I would like to keep that going.”
This story was published on page 3A (County Primary) on The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 13, 2016.