Featured photo, from left: Joe Vene and Reed Olson. Graphic courtesy of Eric Callagan. Olson photo credit to Monika Lawrence.
Two candidates have filed to represent Beltrami County’s District 2 on the Board of Commissioners, which includes three wards in the City of Bemidji as well as Eckles Township. Incumbent Reed Olson is facing a challenge from Joe Vene, who held the seat from 2004 to 2016.
Reed Olson has represented District 2 since 2016, and before that, represented Ward 4 for the City of Bemidji. Olson, co-owner of the Wild Hare Bistro & Coffeehouse, is also on the board for the Nameless Coalition for the Homeless, which operates the Wolfe, a nighttime shelter for homeless chronic inebriates during the cold months.
Joe Vene is a longtime resident of the county, and has run several political campaigns, most recently an unsuccessful bid for City of Bemidji Mayor in 2018. Vene holds leadership positions in the local chapters of Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion, and formed the Veterans Home Task Force in 2007.