ST. CLOUD -- Three candidates for Stearns County Commissioner are set to square-off in an August primary after District 1 Commissioner DeWayne Mareck announced he wouldn't be seeking re-election.

Today, WJON News is featuring candidate Steve Gottwalt. Gottwalt is a former St. Cloud City Councilman and State Representative. He looks forward to running for a seat that isn't based in partisan politics...

What I've always loved about local government is it's non-partisan.  You run as yourself. If you're coming as a common-sense person, providing leadership, new ideas and experiences, then you're judged based on that and not based on one party or another.

As for his platform, Gottwalt says unfunded state mandates have always been a concern for him...

I do think the state lawmakers need to be responsible and I think we need to constantly advocate for that on behalf of the county.  To say, if you're going to make a decision and it's going to have a direct impact on counties and they have to raise taxes to pay for that, it seems responsible of the state decision-makers to make sure they are also making the funding available to the counties.

Gottwalt is a former chair of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee. He is also campaigning for health and human services reform because approximately 40% of the county's annual budget is spent on health and human services.

Gottwalt, Craig Bomgaars and Tarryl Clark will face each other in the August 14th primary election. The top two will advance to the general election in November.