Rasmussen retiring as mayor of Albert Lea

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(ABC 6 News) – 12 years ago, Vern Rasmussen walked the mayor’s office for the first time. Now over a decade later he has decided it’s time for a new chapter in life.

“You just have that feeling inside yourself, it’s time to move on and let someone else take those reigns and move the community forward,” said Rasmussen.

As mayor, Rasmussen wraps up his last days as mayor of Albert Lea he reflects on his nearly two decades of leadership.

“You know it’s been a great opportunity for me, and I really have enjoyed every minute of it. You know there’s been a lot of challenging things that have come down over the last 18 years, but I feel as a group we’ve really tackled those and moved forward as a team and that’s really made me happy,” said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen has overseen major city improvement projects. Like the new water tower, a new fire station, and improvements to Fountain lake. He’s most proud of helping to revitalize the downtown area.

“You know when I first came to the office that area was not really utilized well, and I think at this time now people are identifying the downtown as Albert Lea. And I think it’s very important for communities to have that heart,” said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen’s replacement has worked with him closely. Rich Murray has served six years on Abert Lea’s city council. He says Rasmussen is a leader who listens and gets involved.

“I think Vern has always been a great promoter of the city, so as we had events going on you always found him at the events interacting, not just showing up,” said Mayor-Elect Murray.

Rasmussen says he’s ready to take a step back. Closing the door on a successful career leading the city he grew up in.

“I’m just going to step back for a while and just kind of evaluate what I want to do. I think the biggest thing for me is I’m going to take more time for me,” said Rasmussen.

Even though he’s no longer mayor he says he still be around in capacity to help out the city of Albert Lea.