Three candidates have filed for Ward  2 of the Elk River City Council. In order to prepare for general election, these three candidate must be pared to two. Voters in Ward 2 of Elk River make that decision in a Aug. 11 primary. See the answers below to questions posed to the candidates by the Star News.

Christopher E. Imig

 Age: 61

 Address: 14320 Ranch Road NW

 Family: Wife, married 30+ years, with two grown children and two grandchildren.

Occupation: Small-business owner

Education: Associate degree in Fluid Power.

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications for this position on the Elk River City Council.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn Center.  I moved to Omaha, Nebraska for 22 years and came back to Minnesota when I moved to Elk River in 2012.  I have been employed as an outside sales engineer for most of my career traveling the western United States. Travel has helped me to understand a large cross section of people and how we all look at certain situations differently.  As a small-business owner, I have to budget money, maximize my time and work with people to satisfy their needs.  I will be the first to say I need to learn and grow into the position of City Council member and I am willing to work for and with the people of Elk River.  

1. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?

We as a group need to understand what businesses need to grow and flourish in Elk River.

We need to bring new businesses into Elk River to keep our growth moving forward.

We need to listen to what the people of Elk River want us to do, and to help them.

2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?

I have never been in public life as a politician.  However, as a Shriner I have had many heartwarming experiences with the children taken care of by the Shrine Hospitals.  I have volunteered at many of the Shrine Circus performances as a pirate interacting with children and adults.  I am proud to be a Shriner.   

3. What prompted you to run for Elk River City Council?

I chose to run because it’s easy to complain about what is happening around you and another to get involved and make a difference.  I choose to make a difference.  

4 and 5. What decision of the Elk River City Council have you liked most and least and why?

Decisions have to be made whether they are popular or not.  To say that I like or dislike any of the decisions that were made by the council is not for me criticize, but to understand why they were made and to move on to the next issue.  If there was a poor decision made, it should be brought up at the next meeting and see if the issue can be resolved.  It’s all about working together for the Elk River population.

Mary McDevitt Kraljic

Age: 68

Address: 10159 201st Ave. NW

Family: 22-year-old twins Malie and Rafael and married for the past 25 years to husband Raphael McDevitt Kraljic

 Occupation: Speech Language Pathologist

 Education: Master of Science in Speech and Hearing Science and Specialist Certification in Education Administration

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications for this position on the Elk River City Council.  

As a 30+ year resident of Elk River and educator, I have a strong commitment to making the world a better place.  I have served the community as President of the American Legion Auxiliary, Fairview Health System Board and was elected for multiple terms as a school board member and Chair during the phase of rapid community growth during the period of 1990-2000.  I know first-hand how important it is to get community input and to listen to that input when shaping the future.

 1. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?

If elected, I would work to foster Elk River’s unique spirit of community by partnering with neighborhoods to manage development responsibly and encourage further civic participation to advance the health and livability of our communities. We can do this by reaching out to the Elk River community and engaging them in the decision-making process from the beginning. That means building strong neighborhoods, parks, roads, and public safety systems.  I would also work hard to promote our local businesses and to attract new businesses and industry.  In each of these priorities I commit to efficient use of our tax monies for the education of our youth and activities for our increasing aging population.  This could include developing a format that would allow our elderly to share their life experiences with our youth.

2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?

School Board Member and Chair, American Legion Auxiliary President, Minnesota State Academies and Fairview Health Systems Corporate Board.  I spent almost a decade working with community members to pass multiple bond referendums to build equitable schools in our various communities.  I believe this provides me with the necessary experience and skills to work with community members in continuing the work of our city leaders and to develop a robust new achievable comprehensive plan.

3. What prompted you to run for Elk River City Council?  

The City Council is an important governing group.  Between 2000 and 2010 our city population grew by 40 % according to our Comprehensive Plan.  Given the increase in crime and unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul, I believe we need to be prepared for another wave of growth.  It is important to be proactive not reactive. We, as a community, elect a core group of people who are hopefully representative of our community.  Currently, there is only one female on the Council. It is my belief that men and women hear things differently and it takes both genders to balance each other.  Since most households have multiple women, it seems logical to me that our city leaders be comprised of a more balanced group like our community demographics.

4. What decision of the Elk River City Council have you liked most and why?  

The prevalence of mental illness means all of us have a stake in ensuring that treatment is not only available but close to home.  The recent decision by the City Council to grant the permit for the creation of a 16-bed transition program for people who were recently hospitalized for mental health needs transition back to independent living was a courageous decision in my opinion.  Services include treatment staff on site 24 hours a day, nursing services, medication management and assistance with everyday living activities — such as budgeting and shopping, cooking, and developing employment skills.  This much needed resource assures that limited and difficult to access necessary resources for mental health are close to home.  

5. What decision of the Elk River City Council have you liked least and why?  

I don’t have one, since I can only respect the decisions made by the people who we elect to work on our behalf and who used the information in front of them at the time to make difficult but carefully thought out decisions. It is too easy to criticize when we don’t have all the information and I therefore do not feel the need to be critical of their decisions.

Matt Westgaard

Age: 50

Address: 19417 Baldwin Circle NW

Family: Wife: Heather, and Daughters: Samantha & Andrea

Occupation: General manager of a Door & Millwork Distributor

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications for this position on the Elk River City Council.

Most of my professional career and experience has been in business management positions where budgets, planning, capital spending, and staffing are primary responsibilities.  These skills along with being a good listener, decision maker and having a common sense approach are traits I bring to the team.

1. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?  

First and foremost be a resource and advocate for the citizens of Elk River.  Secondly, bring a respectful common sense approach to our local government process and policies.  Followed with a balanced intentional growth of residential, commercial and recreational opportunities.

2. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?  

One of the most satisfying moments was finding a solution for our aged Activity Center, Lions Park and Arena Facilities with a successful Active Elk River Referendum.

3. As an incumbent, why are you running for reelection?  

I am passionate about the city of Elk River and have a strong desire to be involved as well as give back to the community.  Our community is facing some big changes in the coming years and I feel it is critical to have a strong leadership team in place to assure a successful implementation.  

4. What decision of the Elk River City Council have you liked most and why?  

The Active Elk River Project was one of the most citizen engaged topics I have seen in the 12 years of being a council member.  We were able to meet numerous community needs through one referendum.  It was humbling and exciting to see that level of community collaboration arrive at a common goal.

5. What decision of the Elk River City Council have you liked least and why?  

What I have liked the least have been the challenges of the last 6 months.  Having to manage through a pandemic that has significantly impacted our lives, businesses and community from the way we envisioned it has consumed our efforts.  It’s easy to manage during strong and prosperous economic times, but it’s a test of patience, endurance and fortitude to lead during uncontrollable circumstances and economic strain.

Load comments