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Rosenmeier forum: 'Koep and Samuelson: Parallel Political Lives'

Don Samuelson and Mary Koep will discuss their political careers and philosophies at the next Rosenmeier forum at the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.1 / 3
Mary Koep2 / 3
Don Samuelson3 / 3

Two of Crow Wing County's most durable and successful politicians—Mary Koep and Don Samuelson—will discuss their political careers and philosophies at the next Rosenmeier forum at the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.

The forum, titled "Koep and Samuelson: Parallel Political Lives," will be 7 p.m. Monday in the Dryden Theatre at the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College.

The two Brainerd residents, one a Democrat (Samuelson) and the other a Republican (Koep), won dozens of elections in careers that spanned more than 30 years.

Koep was the first woman to serve on both the Brainerd City Council and the Crow Wing County Board. She served on the council from November of 1970 until 1980. Koep then served 16 years on the county board from January of 1981 through 1996.

She returned to serve on the city council from December of 2003 until 2016 with a two-year gap during that period brought about by health concerns. Koep, a fiscal conservative who was never reluctant to dig deep into government budgets, also served on the State Board of Aging and currently serves on the State Council on Independent Living.

Samuelson, who was elected as president of the Minnesota Senate in his final legislative term, was first elected to the Minnesota House in 1968. He lost a bid for re-election in 1978, but returned to the House after the 1980 election.

In November of 1982, he was elected to the Senate where he served until losing a bid for re-election in 2002. He currently serves on the Minnesota Board of Aging.

The forum will feature a conversation between Koep and Samuelson. Mike O'Rourke, a former journalist with the Brainerd Dispatch, will serve as moderator. A question-and-answer session will follow the meeting.

The Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State and Local Government is a non-partisan organization which strives to educate and encourage participation of citizens in effective government and the political process.

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