Columbus Mayor

Name: Jesse Preiner

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired

Previous political/community experience:

I am the current Mayor of Columbus and was on the Columbus Planning Commission for 10 years. I have been actively involved in the Community and City issues for the past 20 years. I am proud of the work of our current Council and their commitment to our residents. 

What is the biggest issue facing Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it?

Smart economic development that will allow us to keep taxes as low as possible for the residents of Columbus, while still maintaining the high level of services that we are accustomed to in Columbus. We welcome new businesses that will add substantial tax revenue to the City and provide needed services and products without adding pollution and major congestion to our streets.

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected?

As a retired, life-long resident of Columbus who has over 20 years of experience at City Hall, I can offer the voters of Columbus a sound and balanced understanding of the needs of the residents, businesses, and the City; experience in how to guide a growing City to sound decisions; and the required time commitment (often 20+ hours per week) in order to arrive at the best decisions for Columbus. I also believe that being Mayor is about service to Columbus residents. I have put processes in place to ensure that everyone has their concerns addressed in a respectful and friendly manner by the Staff and Board Members. Residents no longer have to fear retaliation when they address issues that concern the wellbeing of their family and City.


Name:  David John Povolny

Age:  59

Occupation:  Electrical Engineer, Successful business owner for over 30 years.

Most recent/significant roles in civic involvement:  Mayor of City of Columbus from 2010-2018 

I am an electrical engineer and have been the owner of a successful technology company for over 30 years.  I moved to Columbus in 1998 and have done my best to positively contribute to the City of Columbus.  I was the Mayor of Columbus from 2010-2018.  Some of my accomplishments include the Columbus sign on I-35 directing people on how to get to Columbus and increasing the size of the bridge over I-35 at 97.   I am a patriot who supports smaller government, lower taxes, the constitution, and the first and second amendments.

What is the biggest issue facing the City of Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it?

I would like to see a better utilization of our natural resources.  Presently, about two-thirds of Columbus is owned by the DNR and this land is greatly under-utilized.  There are very few trails, most of which are un-paved and very few amenities.  Trails and other amenities would allow the people of Columbus to use and enjoy our vast natural resources to their fullest extent.

I would also like to see a new freeway exit at 180th street to better utilize our freeway district.  All four cities in our area, Columbus, Forest Lake, Lino Lakes and Hugo, would directly benefit from this exit. This exit would allow for the greater development of residential and commercial property in these areas and would reduce the inevitable traffic problems.  In the past, I have worked closely with these cities, and look forward to further strengthening these relationships. 

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected?

Maintaining a rural atmosphere, while carefully managing growth.  I am in favor of maintaining our 5-acre minimum in Columbus.   While Mayor of Columbus, my idea of lot averaging was passed successfully which allowed residents to make better use of their high land and reduced the number of “pencil” lots (long, skinny lots).  

Maintaining a low tax rate.  We have a diverse-age range in Columbus.  I always try to maintain a balance of keeping taxes low while encouraging growth, maintaining our lifestyle and delivering excellent services.

Continue forward-thinking ways. I would like to continue working on bringing high-speed Internet to Columbus, developing senior housing, maintaining our roads and delivering services in an economical and efficient manner.   During my term as Mayor of Columbus, I helped build a strong team of employees at City Hall and I will make sure they continue to deliver excellent services.

Columbus Council

Name: Robert Busch

Age: 33

Occupation:  carpenter

Previous political/community experience: I am currently a board member of pheasants forever chapter 844. I am a voting delegate to carpenters local 322 and vote on all major decisions for nearly 5600 members.  I volunteer on a regular basis at my local unions kids build events where we give kids a chance to learn carpentry  and build projects like bird houses, tool boxes and treasure chests. I volunteer my time to attend career fairs in our local schools and speak to classes about carreers in the carpentry trade.

What is the biggest issue facing Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it?  

We have a growing community in Columbus with residential and commercial developments, with these developments we need to do them smart and responsible. Making sure we are asking the questions about how upcoming commercial developments in our community could impact our all residents. We only have one shot at it, so it needs to be done properly to ensure that the children of Columbus have the same safe growing environments as I had as a child.

 Maintaining the 5 acre minimum for a residential home to be build is a priority of mine.

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected? 

Being a 33 year old  3rd generation resident I would  offer a younger persons perspective on major decisions in our city. I also have built bridges, roads, apartments and houses and have vast understanding of commercial and residential developments.


Name: Jody Krebs 

Age: 57 years old 

Occupation: Senior Court Clerk 

Previous Political/Community Experience: 

From 2011-2019, I served as a member of the Columbus Planning Commission working closely with our City Council and Residents in the community. During that time, I served as a member of the 97 Bridge Committee to assist in research, planning and development, including meeting with members of congress and the legislature. I have also served 4 years on the Forest Lake School board and appointed by the governor at the time, to the Minnesota School Bus Safety Advisory Committee.

What is the biggest issue facing Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it? 

I believe that the biggest issue our city is facing is strategic development, both commercially and residentially. Currently we have land in our commercial district that we have been and are currently paying bonds for, which is affecting the taxes for the residents. Until these properties sell and are developed, we have to cover these bonds utilizing the tax payers money. In regard to our residential properties, we need to focus on continuing to develop residential housing while maintaining our 5 acre minimums that we all enjoy. 

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected? 

If I am elected, I vow to be a voice, advocate and supporter of our families and local businesses. Taking the time to listen to the residents is important whenever decisions are being made that impact our community. It is imperative that everyone’s voice is heard and their feedback is taken into consideration. Also with my experience being on the planning commission for 8 years, I have gained valuable and important knowledge in regard to the process and procedures that need to be done to execute decisions. I will work alongside the current and incoming council members as a team to continue positive growth of our community. 


Name: Sue Wagamon

Age: 58

Occupation:  Design Governance Manager

Previous political/community experience:  

I am a newcomer to politics but a seasoned community service volunteer. For the past two decades I have worked with various not-for-profits to support individuals in need, both as a hands-on volunteer and in the capacity of a workplace coordinator. I believe in giving back to the community and that commitment to serve is what motivated me to run for Columbus City Council.

What is the biggest issue facing Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it?

The biggest issue facing Columbus is balancing the need for wise economic development with the overwhelming desire of our citizens to maintain the rural character of our community.  As a City Council member, I would prioritize development that balances economic growth with retaining our rural values. Our City has potential to prosper and there is already momentum in this direction, with new businesses and residential development building in Columbus. I support the current trajectory away from heavy industry and businesses that generate large amounts of noise, traffic, and smells with little contribution to the local economy to those businesses that contribute to and complement our beautiful city.  Most importantly, I will listen to the people of our City and ensure their voice is heard when I am making decisions that have an impact on them.

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected?

I bring a professional background in Business Management with 30+ years experience in negotiating contracts, process improvement, managing people and am a certified Project Manager. I know how to streamline processes and get things done! The most important lesson I have learned throughout the years is to keep quiet and listen, and spend the necessary time to research and understand the issues in order to make well informed decisions. I will use this valuable lesson and my professional and community volunteer experience as a Council member. I pledge to listen to the residents of Columbus, conduct the necessary research to be sure I am understanding all sides of the issue and use my heart AND my head to make the best decisions possible for my constituents.


Name:  Pat Clearence

Age:  62

Occupation:  Public Safety Chaplain for Centennial Fire District, Lexington Fire and Centennial Police Department 

Previous political/community experience: 

I previously worked as a recording secretary for Columbus Township and as a Building Permit Technician for the City of Centerville, so I am quite familiar with the processes and proceedings of local government. I became involved as a Columbus citizen in local politics upon learning of an asphalt plant being built in Columbus. I attended Public Forums and spoke out strongly against the actions of the prior Planning Commission and City Council. I am a proud member of The Lions Club, District 5M-7 since 2018. For the past 3 years I have been a volunteer musician providing music in various senior housing units and church. 

What is the biggest issue facing Columbus in the next few years and how would you deal with it?

Columbus is nearly 65% wetlands, making development challenging to say the least!  Residential and Commercial development generates the tax revenue to provide the services residents expect. We have a large city (48 square miles) with low-density residential developments because of the wetlands. I join the overwhelming majority of our citizens who support our 5-acre minimum lot size, so our biggest challenge is to strategically plan the development of our remaining available land to maximize the revenue potential (tax revenue) and minimize the risk of adversely impacting our rural culture. Now that the bridge work is done, development of the four corners surrounding the freeway is paramount and should be the economic engine for the city.  My priority would be to focus on attracting high value, low impact businesses to those areas. 

What do you think you would offer to the city if you were to be elected?

I first witnessed the importance of effective communication when running for public office, when I had the good fortune to be hired as the official photographer for three senators; one of whom was Senator Tom Harkin, who subsequently ran for President. Working for these Senators afforded me a front row seat to learn the art of effective communication and gave me the confidence to speak out publicly on issues important to me. I bring an empathic communication style that resonates with people, training in de-escalation that will aid in facilitating difficult discussions, and a proven ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.  I am semi-retired and an empty nester which allows me a flexible schedule with time to devote to serving the city of Columbus. 

Load comments