Address: 7952 Palmgren Avenue NE, Otsego, MN 55330
Family: Family: Kristy (Wife), Wes (Son), Jacob (Son), Jessa (Daughter) & Moe Bailey (Beagle)
Education: Business and public administration, Liberty University; Member of the National Honor Society of Collegiate Scholars; Energy technology, Bismarck State College; Architectural, civil drafting and design, Herzing University.
1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
My family and I have been a part of the Otsego community for fourteen years, living near Martin Farms until 2010 and then we moved to Pheasant Ridge. I currently serve on City Council, as the Liaison for both the Public Works Department and our Heritage Preservation Commission as well as Vice-Chairperson for our Economic Development Authority (EDA). In addition, I was appointed by Wright County to represent Otsego on an EDA Task Force; furthermore, I am an advocate for Elder Voice Family Advocates. I have been with Great River Energy in transmission line design for 17 years.
2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?
Since 2016, I supported 12+ new businesses that have brought over 750 new jobs in Otsego, 2 new schools, 3 new parks and over 9 miles of trails. I am very proud of working with Guardian Angels by bringing senior housing to our community. I testified to the Senate as a voice for my Mother and others who have suffered neglect and abuse in nursing homes to stop abuse and neglect; in addition, I worked side by side with Senators Housley and Kiffmeyer to fight for our seniors. In 2019 we changed history with passing the H90 Bill.
3. What prompted you to run for Otsego City Council?
I love being a part of the community and leadership in the city, working with our great staff, learning about history from our long-time residents. My engineering background has certainly helped me learn the job, but it takes a lot of hard work and homework to learn everything such as planning, budgeting, public utilities and so on. I have worked very hard, listened and found my voice as a leader. I have loved being on council so much that I went back to school for Business and Public Administration at Liberty University where I am a scholar.
4. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
Build the Fire Station. We completed our Fire study, purchased land for our first Fire Department and now we need to build it. Second, guided by our Comprehensive Plan, develop our retail and develop a business outreach program. Finally, work with our County to lower taxes. I was appointed by the Wright County to serve on a task force to study if Wright County needs an EDA. County taxes have increased in recent years, which hits our property taxes; though our city has stayed level on city taxes, it can lead to the assumption that the city has high taxes.
5. What decision of the Otsego City Council have you liked most and why? What decision of the Otsego City Council have you liked least and why?
Bringing senior living to Otsego and I am excited to welcome Coborn’s with 145 new jobs.
In 2017, we hired Adam Flaherty as our City Administrator and Adam and his staff have been great; furthermore, neighboring cities often comment what a good leader we chose and how good staff is to work with. I’ve been with GRE for 17 years and I often I say, “if you could only work here a couple of weeks, you would see how great it is.” I share that same sentiment with the City; maybe that’s why I love it, the cooperative culture reminds me of GRE.
6. How would you rate the level of collaboration and partnership with the Elk River Area School District and or Wright County? What do you see as opportunities for increased collaboration between either of the two or both?
Our collaboration with the Elk River School District is wonderful; especially with Dr. Dan Bittman coming on; we really like working with him. The partnership has been great and I see a lot more collaboration in the next 10 years. I will be seeing him and staff in a week when we have the groundbreaking for Prairie View Middle School. Regarding our Public Safety, Otsego has a very good relationship with Wright County Sheriff Deringer and his staff in the protection they provide for Otsego. Last year, we increased the budget for extra patrols and I fully support that.
7. What experience do you have working with large budgets? What would be your approach to budgeting for the city? What city services would you consider reducing to balance a budget or cover new expenditures deemed necessary or important?
As Council Member-Elect Tanner in the fall of 2016, I attended City workshops to learn our budgeting process. The most beneficial aspect of my job was learning the budget process, and I have completed 4 cycles now. Regarding reductions, our city, as well as many others, had to make tough decisions this year with COVID-19, but luckily, we were prepared. In 2019, Mayor Jessica Stockamp had the foresight to direct staff to plan for such an event like this; so, when COVID came, we staggered staffing, reduced services to parks, shut down advisory commissions and reduced seasonal staff.
8. What do you see as the most significant changes to Otsego in the last 10 years, and what do you hope could be said about Otsego in another 10 years?
I’m finishing my first term on Council. I’m a guy who wants to serve; there isn’t an agenda, I just really like it.“ Otsego” is Mohawk, meaning “Friendly Meeting Place,” and I want it to stay that way; rural enough to see farms, travel dirt roads, but offer convenience with retail and restaurants. In 10 years, we expect 30,000 residents. The plans, leadership and right staff are in place making these decisions and I’m here to tell you, “this is a good group we have working to protect, plan and serve our city, we do not want to lose that.”