To the Editor:
I was Rick Olseen’s eighth grade math teacher. I remember him as a bright young student, with loads of energy. I was pleasantly surprised around twenty years later to meet up with Rick on a Task Force for School Facilities for North Branch School in the 1980s. I got to know Rick as a caring parent who wanted the best for our school children. Many of the Task Force members became the Vote Yes committee and the community passed the bond referendum that allowed construction of the Middle School and High School Auditorium.
I quickly realized Rick hadn’t lost any of that eighth grade energy. I watched him help form the Parent Teacher Organization in North Branch, serve on the Community Education Advisory Board, and eventually run and serve ten years on the North Branch School Board. North Branch Schools were thriving then, with a growing population and the passage of building bonds for the additions to the Middle and High Schools, along with an operating levy for technology.
In 2002, Rick was elected to the Chisago County Board of Commissioners. On the board, Rick worked for road improvements like rebuilding and repaving county roads and the new bridge and ramps at CR 17 and I-35. He also authored the resolution to build three new libraries and to purchase the Rush City Library building and expand it. As a commissioner he voted for Job-Z projects including Anderson Window’s plant in North Branch and the Polaris Research and Development Facility in Wyoming where they just did a ground breaking to double the facility and workforce.
Then in 2006 Rick was elected to the Minnesota State Senate. He told me he was most proud of the school bus safety laws he authored, along with authoring legislation that exempts disabled veterans from property taxes.
Rick has worked hard to move our area forward for over 20 years and I’m proud to support him as he runs for the House of Representatives in 32B! I hope you will too.
Diane Spychalla, Stacy