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Vern Rasmussen Jr.: Reach out to city councilors with concerns and questions

Guest Column by Vern Rasmussen Jr.

Vern Rasmussen Jr.


This is a trying time for many, for both public health and economic reasons. My heart goes out to those grieving and caring for loved ones in a trying time. Those who lost jobs or have taken pay cuts are in the front of my mind. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to navigate because the situation is evolving. Decisions are being made with the best data possible, but the virus is novel. The data keep changing. As more time passes, however, we learn how to improve public health, but it is a challenge

The efforts you have made to social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, cover your cough and stay at home are paying dividends. They benefit Albert Lea in the short- and long-term. Call the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 helpline at 507-293-9525 to get direction if you feel sick. 

The city of Albert Lea has decided to allow the state and federal governments to guide the way with the appropriate line of action. The state and federal governments have the resources to give us a path to navigate through this pandemic, as the city does not have a public health department. We have continued to support and follow Freeborn County with our decision making, as they provide us with more knowledge and understanding of the pandemic.

I know right now many of us are concerned about the future of our economy and some of the rules may seem unfair. However, the governor’s office is attempting to rewrite the rules for the entire economy while managing a pandemic.  There are things that we can do during this time that fall within the guidelines that keep our local economy pumping — curbside service, gift cards, deliveries and even writing reviews of our businesses. As a city, we will work with the governor to promote the lessening of restrictions on businesses, but we understand the partnership that Albert Lea counts on with the state of Minnesota. 

And we need your help as citizens. It is difficult to connect with people when you can’t meet them. So please, call your councilors. Call me at City Hall at 507-377-4330. I want to be more accessible, too, so I’ve begun to use Facebook live on the city’s page as a way to stay engaged and answer your questions.

Vern Rasmussen Jr. is Albert Lea’s mayor.