Tuesday is Election Day and all over the country, American citizens will be heading to the polls to cast their votes for officials to represent them in all levels of government, from federal down to local.
In Lanesboro, the two terms open on the city council are currently held by Ceil Allen and Keith Eide. Neither is seeking reelection. Residents will be deciding on the two new council members from a field of four candidates.
Robin W. Krom is running unopposed for the office of mayor. Current mayor, Steven Rahn did not file for reelection.
In order to introduce all four of them to the public, they provided some personal background and answered the following questions:
1. What has motivated you to file for this office?
2. Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office.
3. In these difficult economic times, how would you prioritize the needs for the city?
4. Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the city?
Doug Baker resides in Lanesboro with his wife, Jan Baker. He has two adult children, Chris and Jenny, and an adult step-son, Cole.
Baker is currently employed as a sales representative and he has a great deal of experience being involved with the community. In the past, he has been the president of the Lanesboro Lions for three years; he has also been a member of the Lanesboro Public School Advisory Board, the Lanesboro City Parking Committee, the Fillmore County Corrections Task Force and the D.F.O. County Corrections Task Force. In addition, he was the Sons of the Legion financial officer for 13 years, a Sunday school teacher and a part of the Root River Community Church governing board, financial officer and vice chair. In addition, he is also involved in the Lanesboro Golf Course.
1. Rising utility rates and store closings. My past experience with budgets and my community involvement speaks for itself.
2. Honesty. Strong work ethic. Trustworthy. And I know how to say no.
3. Prioritize spending and make sure public safety and the infrastructure are a priority.
4. To get spending and utility rates under control. The dam needs to get totally funded for repair.
Marge Drake is retired with many years of experience in the city government. Her husband is the late David R. Drake. The couple had three sons and one daughter. Each of them attended and graduated from Lanesboro High School and continued on into the four branches of military. Their daughter, Deborah, went into the United States Air Force, their late son, Robin, entered the United States Navy, their son, Kevin, became a United States Marine and their son, Andy, went into the United States Army.
Drake has been involved in the community in numerous ways including being on the Lanesboro Park Board, the Root River Recreation Committee and the Bethlehem Lutheran Church Council. She has also worked with the Lanesboro Arts Center, the Lanesboro Booster Club and is an election judge.
1. Because I CARE — having been born and raised here, I have very deep feelings for our community. I have seen Lanesboro when it was jokingly called a "ghost-town" and have been delighted to see it become a main tourism destination and an area center for the arts. I also see some of the problems evolving which could jeopardize these positives. My main motivation is very simple — I love my community and want to see it keep its vitality. Since I am retired, I would have the time to do what's necessary for a city we can remain proud of.
2. My 12 years as deputy city clerk was like earning a degree on how city government works — the importance of obeying the laws, abiding by city ordinances, preserving our wonderful history, attending city council meetings. I could go on and on about the experiences I had over those years, learning to work with all the departments of our city government and at the same time doing what had to be done in the best interest of our community and its citizens. It's very important we work together or we will undo all that we have become.
3. Our immediate and most serious need is partially done. The new well has been dug and the treatment plant is in the process. Having clean water is vital for the health and well-being of our citizens and I know the cost is of concern to those who live here, myself included. The next project (to me) is the repair of our historical power dam. Since we did not get included in the State Bonding Bill this year, our administrator requested and received a year extension from the DNR and State Historical Society grants. Our state representatives have promised we will be included in the 2015 Bonding Bill. We need to stay on top of this and make sure they come through as promised.
4. How I wish there was only one! First, it's essential to continue maintaining our infrastructure: our streets and utilities, which includes in a few years the need for a new wastewater treatment plant. Some may say filling the vacant stores on Main Street, jobs and affordable housing and they ARE important, but will business owners or individual families want to move or reside here if our infrastructure is deteriorating or crumbling? As I am only one person, I can't make any hard, fast promises. If elected I can only guarantee thoughtfulness and common sense when casting my votes.
Jason Resseman owns Landscape Artisans in Lanesboro. He and his spouse, Elizabeth Biel, have one 15-month-old daughter named Ruby.
Ever since moving to Lanesboro, he has become involved in the community in several ways. He is a member of the Lanesboro Planning and Zoning Commission, the Lanesboro EDA Commission and the Beautification Committee for the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers at the Lanesboro Public Schools as an instructor in the horticulture department.
1. My decision to seek a position on the city council has been influenced by the admiration I have for this community. Having moved here seven years ago, I have come to realize how truly special Lanesboro and its residents are. Lanesboro can be best described by one word: beauty — of the people, of the community and of our surroundings. As a member of the council, I look forward to the opportunity of being a steward of the past and an advocate for Lanesboro’s prosperity.
2. As the owner of Landscape Artisans, I have spent the last 16 years dealing with many issues similar to Lanesboro. As an owner of a seasonal business, I am familiar with challenges faced by many of our local businesses that have a short window for operations. The fiscal responsibilities of owning a business compares well to that of a municipality. For example, good leadership is required to balance sustainability and the pragmatics of growth. The experiences I have acquired in my career with the designing, installation and maintenance of housing developments would also be a benefit to Lanesboro.
3. This is a great question. First, I would suggest that through the EDA, Lanesboro should have a stronger, more independent role in the promotion of our town. Secondly, we should look for ways to lighten the burdens of our city employees. Thirdly, we need to find ways to attract business to town that are non-tourism based. Businesses that can improve the quality of life for the people who live here. Businesses that can provide opportunities and careers for our youth. Next, we need to have a stronger presence with the DMC (Destination Medical Center) expansion in Rochester. The prospect of this expansion could have huge benefits to Lanesboro and we need to have a stronger representation.
4. Technology is the catalyst of growth, we would all benefit from an improved technology infrastructure. Technology is what will give our children the opportunities they deserve. Improved technology can help in the recruitment of more diverse businesses to downtown. As more and more businesses are allowing their employees to telecommute, technology will allow families to move here and benefit from our school and enjoy the beauty of Lanesboro.
The final city council candidate is Autumn Johnson. She is a title analyst working from Lanesboro. Since returning to Lanesboro, she supports the community as a volunteer EMT, Park Board member and a Girl Scout troop co-leader. She also serves as a Sunday school teacher, a Junior Olympic volleyball coach and a Saturday basketball coach.
1. Quite a few people approached me, telling me I should run for city council. We need people on the council with the best interest of the town in mind. I was born and raised here, and my family still resides in and around Lanesboro. I want what is best for this town and the people in it.
2. I am motivated. I have three degrees, including a business management and law degree. After moving back home two years ago, I became an EMT. I helped the city obtain a grant and loan from the USDA for the purchase of a new ambulance. It was a year-long process and I worked with many city employees in order to secure the funding. I also helped the city get a grant from the American Heart Association, for a new heart monitor. The two grants combined equal a little over $46,000. As a member of the Park Board, I would love to see hiking trails incorporated into our city. Our great park employees brought up the idea of restoring the Bunny Trail. I spoke to a few people in the community and there has been nothing but excitement, support and offers to help. I realize it is not in the budget to take on such a large project, so I did some research and found a few grants that apply. I am also looking into fundraising and welcome any ideas anyone has to help add another outdoor recreation to our great town.
3. We are in the process of getting a new well online, which is very important, seeing as we all need safe drinking water. We will need a wastewater treatment plant in the next five to seven years, followed by subsequent infrastructure relating to that. I would like to be able incorporate renewable energy at some point. This all takes a great deal of time and money, so it is important to start planning now and realize what is actually feasible for our community. We also need to bring more businesses to town, which will create jobs, increase our tax base and decrease the shared cost of new infrastructure. That, of course, leads to the need for affordable housing.
4. I addressed (upcoming issues to be addressed by the city) in (the previous statement). We need to work together to do what is best for our citizens, our visitors and the future of the town.