(Editor’s note: candidate Damian Young did not respond to multiple requests to participate in this Q&A)
Three candidates are competing for two seats on the Minnetrista city council.
Medical industry executive Ann MacGregor, independent consultant Cathleen Reffkin and Damian Young will all be on the ballot for the General Election on Nov. 3.
Each candidate was asked the same questions by Sun Patriot Newspapers, and here are their responses.
Question 1: What prompted you seek election (or re-election) to office?
MacGregor: I attended a council meeting August 2019. At the meeting, I observed the Mayor and other Council members being uncivil to a council member. I read some local blog posts including one on the 2019 civil suit against Mayor Whalen, other council members and the “Our Minnetrista” group that resulted in fines to them. I met with council member Shannon Bruce, discussed her views on Minnetrista issues and decided to seek a council seat. In campaigning, I have heard a number of concerns directly from MInnetrista residents that have become my own list of issues to resolve. I believe I can make a difference in addressing those needs.
Reffkin: During my time as a resident of Minnetrista, I have experienced diminished City services and observed questionable City management. Instead of simply complaining, I am seeking office so I can make positive changes while retaining the city’s inherent charm. I want our residents to have a beautiful place to live, work, and raise their families.
Question 2: What separates you from your opponent(s)?
MacGregor: Management Skills, Experience and Education. From Manager to President, I worked with the heads of different departments, especially Engineering, Finance, and Operations to reach successful project results. I’ve worked with large companies to start-ups with large to small budgets. A council member interacts with the Mayor, other council members and staff and also represents the city on Boards made up of members from several nearby cities, i.e. fire commissions, watershed districts. My experience in reviewing accurate data, making decisions and influencing matters that directly affect the future of Minnetrista residents makes me the best candidate for City Council. My career background and education are on www.linkedin.com.
Reffkin: While I have not lived in this community as long as some, I believe my fresh perspective, civic passion, and well-reasoned opinions set me apart from other office seekers. I am a proud resident of Woodland Cove and I look forward to representing this growing population and all members of our community on the city council.
Question 3: What is the most pressing issue facing the constituency you hope to represent? How would you address that issue?
MacGregor: In canvassing for the campaign, I’ve asked our residents for their greatest concerns. A number of issues were voiced but the most prominent one, due to the Covid virus, is steady, dependable, Internet service. This is of paramount and urgent importance for all areas of Minnetrista. Many adults are working from home and many children are being schooled remotely. I know people who can help us get the best possible solutions for Internet service throughout Minnetrista. The first step is to get this topic on the agenda of the Council, then, to enlist the aid of experts, timeline a plan and get it done.
Reffkin: As I see it, there are two pressing issues facing Minnetrista: property taxes and infrastructure development. As our city continues to grow, it is imperative that the City Council fosters growth in a manner which is beneficial to its residents. As a city councilwoman I will work to properly align tax structure with growth, ensure the financial transparency our residents deserve, and advocate for resourceful infrastructure investment.
Question 4: What in your background/experience best qualifies you for this office?
MacGregor: Council members do not have the authority to act or make decisions as individuals, therefore, the years that I spent developing “influence management” skills will be required to reach a quorum for the council to give direction and make policy. I spent many years developing and using these skills to get teams with different perspectives to work toward common goals. My strong research and executive skills are needed to determine project costs, taking the initiative to speak with experts to gather information and checking state statutes that govern a particular action being considered.
Reffkin: I spent the first part of my career working in the insurance industry. Through this work, I developed an understanding of how policy and risk management intersect. Another key skill I gained while working in insurance is the ability to bring people who have disparate, and often competing, interests together to compromise for mutual benefit. All of this work was done in a very strictly regulated industry, so I have a keen understanding of how to comply with state requirements and laws. Finally, I am a focused, detail-orientated person who is trained to listen to all parties involved before drawing any conclusions about an issue.