Thomson Township holds interviews for vacant board seat

Three candidates for the vacant township board of supervisors seat answered questions from board members about their qualifications and why they chose to apply.

The Thomson Township Hall Izabel Johnson / 2021 File / Pine Journal
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ESKO — The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors interviewed three candidates to fill the vacant seat on the board during a meeting Thursday, Nov. 17.

Board Chair Ruth Janke led the interviews asking each candidate questions about their background, why they chose to run and what challenges they thought faced the district.

The candidates included Eric Rish, Gary Bonneville and David Sunnarborg for the seat that was vacated after previous Supervisor Jason Paulson resigned in August.

After Paulson's resignation in August, the township accepted applications for the position until Sept. 1, and the board received six applications, according to meeting minutes.

During a Sept. 8 closed board meeting, the board chose three candidates to interview — Bonneville, Rish and Sunnarborg — according to the meeting minutes.


Candidates shared a lot of the same ideas when it came to issues that face the township, including improving infrastructure, and the relationship between the township and the Cloquet Area Fire District.

Each candidate had previous experience as part of a board, with Rish having served on the fire district board for the township; Bonneville having served on the township's planning and zoning committee, as well as board of adjustment; and Sunnarborg had previously served on the township board for over 18 years.

When asked if the candidates had any questions for the board, Rish said he wanted to know what the board was looking for in a candidate to fill the position.

Supervisors Tony Compo and Bill Gerard said they were looking for someone to fill the seat for the long term, with Gerard adding that it is important to have a full board.

"I know a lot of people think turnover is great ... but sometimes it is good to have a full board that sticks together, works good together," Compo said.

Janke and the other supervisors thanked the candidates for their answers and for submitting an application for the position.

"We do have three very good candidates, and it is not an easy decision to make," she said.

The board will now take time to digest the answers from the candidates before making a decision at its next meeting.


Janke said she would like supervisors to rank the candidates before the next meeting as a way for them to determine who should fill the seat.

Charges in Carlton County, where the man was arrested with 11 pounds of methamphetamine, were dropped after federal charges were filed.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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