Address: 11259 190th Avenue Northwest, Elk River
Family: : Wife (Stacy) and 2 children (Miranda and Cade)
Education: U.S. Navy veteran
1. Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications.
14-year resident of Elk River, a Leader with over 25 years of military (Navy Veteran) and professional management experience. Currently the GM of a business with a multi-million-dollar operating budget. Commander of the Elk River American Legion and have volunteered multiple hours to the American Legion, VFW, CAER, and Citizen Lead Fireworks committee thru the years.
2. What are your top three priorities if you are elected?
•Listen and support all Elk River citizens and businesses so we prosper together, “Together Elk River” has a lot more meaning to me.
•Keep projects on track and on budget to continue bringing value to our community, so we can recruit companies and people to our city. We need to get out and tell our story!
•Step up our communications with the County, and the School Board to ensure we are all working to the same common goal of serving our community, staying on budget and controlling taxes.
3. What is your biggest accomplishment in public life?
I served as Commander, and as an active member of the Elk River American Legion representing the Post 112 at the County, District and State level. As everyone knows, the Elk River American Legion went thru some very difficult times in the past. I was proud to be part of a “Team” that did every type of volunteer work imaginable to bring “Your Hometown Legion” back to an establishment we all can be proud of for years to come. 101 years and counting!
4. Elk River is in the midst of updating its comprehensive plan. What will be the most important aspect of this process? What are your personal aspirations for the community of Elk River?
With the census going up in excess of 40% every 10 years since 1970, and the potential of people relocating more north due to the 169 projects, not to mention HWY 10. We need make sure we have a balance of land for businesses and housing alike. We also need to make sure that we grow responsibly, to ensure the stability of our city into the future.
Create more of a “Team” environment, and get more people involved in Committees and the comprehensive plan. This is our footprint to the future, and we need to get as many Elk River Citizens involved and capture their ideas for the future. People from all over look at our Comprehensive plan on the Website, and sometimes use this as a determining factor to relocate or start a business in Elk River. In my opinion, this is where the recruiting starts! “Together Elk River” has a lot more meaning to me.
5. Talk of downtown redevelopment has been circulating for some time now between the Elk River City Council, the Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and city staff with the most recent development being a presentation by developer Jesse Hartung of Modern Construction. What is your position on the potential for a downtown redevelopment project? What factors will you consider in making a decision about whether to proceed with such a project? Would you support a public-private partnership?
I attended Jesse’s presentation at City Hall on Sept 7th and his Q&A session on Sept 21st during the Counsel’s working session. He has vision that not many people have, and I applaud him for that! I understand from discussions with other business owners that no one else even wanted to take on a project like this. Bottom line, I’m in favor of looking at any project that would bring value to our community, but we need to be financially responsible to our Citizens.
This project needs to be vetted out, like it or not, there is a process in local government. The project needs to go thru City Staff, the Planning Commission and a Public hearing. We also need to consider what will happen with the Hwy 10 project in the future in any decision. Yes I would support a public-private partnership, if the project has been vetted out properly, and there is overwhelming support by our Citizens during a public hearing.
6. The Elk River City Council recently heard a presentation by an Elk River resident on the topic of cultural tolerance and understanding. She proposed the city take steps to make Elk River a more welcoming city given that the community is becoming increasingly diverse. What role would you say the city should play in making Elk River a welcoming community?
I was at the presentation, and I applaud her for the work she has done in the past and what she wants to accomplish. I do believe our community will continue to be more diverse as we continue to grow. This is a great opportunity for us to have an Ambassador Team to review and make recommendations to the Council and the City. It would also make sense to have this Team do an official welcome to all new families that move into our area. We need to make everyone feel welcome to our City!
7. How would you rate the level of collaboration and partnership with the Elk River Area School District and Sherburne County? What do you see as opportunities for increased collaboration between either of the two or both?
In my opinion we need to have scheduled public meetings with both the County, and the School Board to ensure we are all working to the same common goal of serving our community, staying on budget, and controlling taxes.
Communication at all levels of local government is the key to our success into the future. I would work to make sure projects are done timely, and on budget. The last thing we need is to drag these out for years and then increase the budget due to timing issues. We also need to continue working with the Commission that oversees the Multi sport complex to ensure we continue to follow the comprehensive plan and review all input from the community.
8. With the passage of a local option sales tax, there is a wide array of improvements being made around Elk River. What do you see your role would be as a member of the Elk River City Council moving forward with the completion of the Active Elk River initiative? What should be done with the Elk River Activity Center that has been proposed to be sold?
I attended the council meeting where several groups pitched their ideas. Most of them were based on leasing or just using the facility. These groups are remarkable in their own ways and I’m very happy to see these groups in our community. But to lease this building out, and to continue the maintenance would cost the taxpayers money, so I believe selling the building to any of these groups or another potential buyer as the best option.
9. Highway 169 will be converted to a freeway in Elk River. What do you see as the biggest opportunities this will usher in? What are the biggest challenges that will have to be addressed?
The obvious is the local traffic will be better off, as our citizens that commute will have a much easier drive home, including me. But I also see this as an opportunity for people that usually go the I94 route to possibly come thru Elk River as a second choice. This being the case, we may see more people come thru, and potentially more patrons for our local businesses. This is also a good selling point for people that are looking to relocate. Local traffic during construction, we need to make sure there is solid traffic plan for our businesses and Citizens alike.
10. 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?’
I’m currently a GM of a large business with 92 employees in 4 states with a multi-million-dollar operating budget. I know the importance of reviewing and controlling expenses, as I live it every day in my current position. I believe everything is on the table during the annual budgeting process. Programs change, as well as the needs for various departments throughout the City of Elk River. I’m not looking to cut anything at this point until we completely understand the economy after we come out of this pandemic. Times are tough, and we must do our due diligence on all programs to ensure they still have value for our citizens and contribute to the future growth of our city.