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Former Sheriff Fletcher files for Ramsey County board seat against stadium advocate Bennett

Bob Fletcher, the longtime Ramsey County sheriff who lost his re-election bid two years ago, will run for Ramsey County commissioner against incumbent Tony Bennett.

Bob Fletcher, the longtime Ramsey County sheriff who lost his re-election bid two years ago after 16 years in office, is challenging Ramsey County commissionerTony Bennett.

Fletcher, who is setting up a website, filed Tuesday, the last day for filing.

Fletcher, who also served on the St. Paul City Council in the 1980s and ran unsuccessfully there for mayor, has returned to his old job as a St. Paul police commander since losing the 2010 election to Matt Bostrom. Last week, he was named head of the department’s property crimes unit.

Bennett, also a former St. Paul police officer, was the major supporter of the unsuccessful effort to locate a new Vikings stadium in Arden Hills. He’s a former state legislator and served as U.S. marshal for Minnesota. He was first elected to the county board in 1996.

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Also filed to run in the race are: Blake C. Huffman and Frank T. Mabley, both from Shoreview.

Fletcher was in the news earlier this year when he turned his Vadnais Heights home over to the bank, in lieu of foreclosure. He said at the time that he wasn’t in danger of being foreclosed upon, but that the house was underwater. He said his income was reduced after his election loss, and his wife’s real estate business had suffered from the recession.

In a statement about his county board candidacy, Fletcher said the county must show some fiscal restraint:

“County government must collaborate, consolidate and downsize to live within the means of the Ramsey County Tax payers.  Especially during these tough — ‘recession like’ — economic times.

“A 33% increase in residential property taxes over the past 5 years while home values have plummeted 40% is clearly unacceptable.  Unfortunately, rather than reduce taxes and spending, the current commissioner in district one has supported increasing county property taxes and county sales taxes.
What’s worse, when Ramsey County citizens objected, he opposed giving them a chance to vote against a sales tax increase.” 

Fletcher also criticized Bennett for voting to increase commissioners’ salary by 25 percent five years ago. Fletcher said his first official act in office would be to sponsor a resolution to rescind that increase.

And Fletcher said Fletcher he wants to county efforts with Homeland Security, particularly on “the growing threat of Al Shabaab – Al Qaeda’s
new partner in terror.”