Current Canton City Council members Ross Duckett and Henry Selden will both be on the ballot Tuesday seeking to retain their council seats, but will face competition by Jason Magnuson, Nicholas Prestby and Charlie Warner.
Duckett works in agronomy sales and service at Preston Dairy and Farm and is married to Cindy Duckett.
Selden and his wife, Rita, have two grown sons, Pat and Mike, and five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He farmed for 40 years before retiring and opening The Clock Shop in Canton where he builds and repairs clocks. Prior to moving to town, he served on the Canton Township board and served as an officer as well. He has been on the Canton council since 1999 and is a member and volunteer at Canton Assumption Catholic Church.
Magnuson and his wife, Dawn, have three children, Jordan, 18, Nathan, 14, and Brianna, 11. He has been employed with Harmony Enterprises for the past eight years. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Canton Fire Department and has been involved with the local Cub Scouts as Cub Master in the past. He has also been an active member of the Mabel-Canton Trailbusters Snowmobile Club.
Prestby and his wife, Rene, have three grown daughters, Nicole, Samantha and Rachael. He is a part-time truck driver for farmers and has been active in the community through the Canton Area Historical Society and is the “oldest rookie” on the Canton Fire Department. He adds that he’s willing to volunteer to anybody who needs help.
Warner and his wife, Karla, have a grown daughter, Megan. He is a journalist, graphic artist, musician and carpenter. He was a 25-year-member of the Canton Volunteer Fire Department and a former four-year member of the Canton City Council. He is a member of the Canton-Scotland Presbyterian Church, where he has also served on the church council for six years.
Four of the five candidates answered a set of questions provided by the News-Record designed to provide voters with an insight into their qualifications and priorities for the Canton City Council. Their responses are listed in alphabetical order.
1. What has motivated you to file for this office?
Magnuson: I just think it's good to add some fresh ideas, opinions and perspectives.
Prestby: I love to live in Canton.
Selden: I want to work on continuing to improve the town. Now that we have the city clerk’s office fixed up we need to focus on replacing water meters. We pump x-amount of water and what we recoup from the customers only covers half of that. We want to keep taxes down and this will be an expensive thing to do, but we have to improve the way we meter water usage in the city.
Warner: I have had a number of Canton residents ask me to run for city council. They appreciated what I did for the community when I served on the council back in the 1990s and encouraged me to run again.
2. Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office. Please explain.
Magnuson: I think that one thing I can bring to this office would be the ability to break down an issue, and try to see what impact it would make to the community.
Prestby: I am somewhat of a visionary. I can see things in my mind and how these things could play out in the future.
Warner: An extensive knowledge of how local government works. During the 25 years I covered city and county councils, commissions and boards while owning or managing weekly newspapers in Fillmore and Houston counties, I attended more than 500 meetings. To accurately report on these meetings, one has to understand the “wheres, whats and whys” of the official actions being conducted. I also feel I am a good listener and would bring the concerns, wants and needs of Canton residents to the city council.
3. In these difficult economic times, how would you prioritize the needs for the city?
Magnuson: I think remaining financially stable while taking care of business is important. Maintaining our water supply, sewer and wastewater treatment facility, and streets would be at the top of my list.
Prestby: We need to promote economic development to be able to draw in more businesses.
Selden: We have to focus on one thing at a time. We’ve improved the streetlights, insulated the fire hall, have a new wastewater treatment plant and renovated the old town hall. Little by little we get things done.
Warner: Economic development. In the past 12 months two downtown retail businesses have closed their doors and with their closures, at least eight part-time jobs were terminated as well. Working to try to somehow attract additional businesses in Canton and supporting our existing businesses is of paramount importance to me.
4. Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the city?
Magnuson: None that I am currently aware of.
Prestby: There are plenty of issues that need to be addressed.
Selden: The water meters are number one right now. But we have a lot of older people in town, so we are also concerned about keeping taxes down. Little by little we can keep improving.
Warner: Striving to continue providing the services we do for the taxpayers of Canton while not raising taxes. We have many residents who are on fixed incomes and need to find ways of keeping our property taxes in line.