Six file to run for Board of Commissioners

Only one race will require a primary in August.

The Carlton County Community Services Center. (File / Pine Journal)

Three seats on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners will be decided by voters in the coming months, and six people filed paperwork to fill them by the county's deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 2.

However, only one of the races will require a primary on Aug. 11. In District 5, Commissioner Gary Peterson and newcomers Alex French and Marci Moreland are vying for the seat.

District 1 Commissioner Dick Benner will face Erik Blesener, but because there are only two candidates pursuing the seat, there will be no primary in August.

District 3 Commissioner Tom Proulx will run unopposed.

District 1


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Dick Brenner

Dick Brenner, 81, has served on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners for 28 years. He has also served on the Cloquet School Board for 17 years.

Brenner retired as the Chief Financial Officer of Potlatch after 27 years. He holds a degree in accounting economics.

Brenner is married to Liz Franklin and has six adult children.

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Erik Blesener

Erik Blesener, 50, is seeking a seat on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners. He served on the Cloquet City Council for one term.

Blesener works as a tutor for the American Indian Education Program at Cloquet High School. Prior to that, he spent 28 years on the Cloquet Police Department before he retired.


He holds an associate's degree in law enforcement from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

Blesener lives with his wife, Sherri. They have two children.

District 3

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Tom Proulx

Thomas Proulx, 55, is seeking his fourth term on the Carlton County Board of Commissioners.

In addition to three terms on the county board, Proulx served one term on the Cloquet City Council.

He works as a probation officer and has a degree in criminal justice and political science.

He has six godchildren.


District 5

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Gary Peterson

Gary Peterson, 67, is seeking reelection to the Carlton County Board of Commissioners, where he has served for eight years.

Peterson is a retired teacher and basketball coach.

He has degrees in political science, criminal justice, education and coaching. He also holds a master's degree in school counseling.

Peterson and his wife, Barb, have three children, one grandchild and another grandchild on the way.

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Alex French


Alex French, 37, is among the challengers Peterson will face.

French has no prior experience in public service, but said he is running to give back to the community.

He works as an accountant at Alaspa & Murray in Cloquet. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and management. He is currently studying for the CPA exam.

French is single.

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Marci Moreland

Marci Moreland, 62, is also vying for the seat in District 5.

Like French, it is her first time running for elected office.


Moreland works as a realtor with Welcome Home Realty in Cloquet. Prior to that, she worked for Carlton County for 39 years before she retired from the assessor's office.

She attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth for one year and continued her education during her time with Carlton County.

Moreland and her husband, Gary, have two adult children and five grandchildren.

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