AUDUBON - Doug Sorensen was raised in Douglas Township, on a farm operated by his parents, George and Joann Sorensen. He attended Gray Elementary, and graduated from Audubon High School, then Iowa State University.
Afterwards he returned home to farm alongside his dad, and continued to operate the family farm. From 2004-2009, "I worked a successful five year stint as a representative for Thrivent Financial in Audubon," he said, but returned to the farm full time "as that was truly where my heart was." He launched a new company called Furrow Brow LLC in 2017. The company produces and sells his own invention, a small blade that cleans planter gauge wheels in sticky soils. The business, he said, "continues to grow and thrive alongside my current farming operation."
He's been interested in becoming a supervisor since he was on the Audubon County Farm Bureau back in the 1990's. The county Farm Bureau held an annual meeting with the supervisors to go over the county budget. "And I remember thinking at that time that I would be good at that job. Sometimes the challenges you face from day to day push or pull you into life changes, business changes, career changes. It's honest to day that a lot of forces have combined to bring me to the conclusion that now is the right time to take on this new responsibility and shed some others."
Sorensen said his wife Lisa will take on a greater role in the farm and Furrow Brow businesses to allow him the time to do his job as a supervisor.
"Together we have concluded that this is the best way forward for our family," he said.
He says he's a good candidate for a number of reasons. "I could speak at length about what I think would make a good county supervisor, but to be brief, I would start by saying that good government starts with a single, overriding philosophy: Elected people must see themselves as servants of their constituents, guardians of the public trust, and overseers of the public interests. I believe I am an excellent listener and really slow to prejudge a situation," he said. He talked about his years of experience in business, having started and operated three different businesses, each with a different skill set. He's lived in Audubon all of his life, knows the places and has seen the "growing pains," as the county endured titanic shifts in farm size and ethanol production, livestock concentration and now manufacturing and wind energy.
"I understand each of these changes has caused issues which pit the need for infrastructure and services against the need for funding in our small county. I enjoy talking to people and consider myself a lifelong learner... learning new things every day," he said, adding that his service in the Audubon County Farm Bureau, and various other boards has given him leadership experience vital to conducting organized meetings and making policy with people who are often of divergent opinions.
Sorensen first ran for supervisor in 2016, but failed by a narrow margin in the June primary. If elected, this would be his first elected office.
What issues does he think are most important for the county?
"In the front of my mind are three issues, but of course, there are others.
First is simply the way that Audubon County government operate, how decisions are made, and how policies are established and administered. I have seen in recent years how some decisions at the county level are made with little thought, investigation, adherence to established policy, or consideration of the impact on the public. I would like to bring a higher level of management to county government for the benefit of all county residents, not just a select few."
"The condition of Audubon County's roads and bridges is an issue that I have been very interested in for a long time. In this regard, I do think we are in a much better position than we were 20 years ago, but a lot of work remains to be done.
Last but not least is the relationship between county government and wind energy producers. There is an opportunity for the county to benefit from wind energy installations, but there are also issues and challenges with it, also. There needs to be a balance drawn between the benefits and the adverse impacts. This starts with an open dialogue, and a reckoning with all of the negative impacts so as to treat people fairly and our land and soil with utmost care."
Doug Sorensen will be on the ballot, running as a “no party candidate,” facing incumbents who are running for relection: Two seats are open: Todd M. Nelsen, Republican; Rick Thompson, Republican.