Running for City Council in Robbinsdale in Ward 3 are incumbent George Selman and Kaira Miller and in Ward 4 are incumbent Pat Backen and Jay Rathell. Ward 3 includes the southwestern portion of the city. While Ward 4 covers the southern portion of the city.

Voters can report to their designated polling station from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. To view polling location information, visit pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Absentee voting is open through Monday, Nov. 5. Voters can vote early by mail, in-person or from aboard or military service. Voters who wish to vote by mail can apply to have an absentee ballot mailed to them. They do not need to be registered to apply. The online application, along with information about submitting an application to county election offices, is available at sos.state.mn.us.

Pat Backen

Address: 2936 Zenith Ave. N.

Family: Wife Kathy; two children, Robert and Jenny

Education: Technical Certification in Photography

Occupation: Software Engineer

Years in the city: 20

Community/civic organizations involvement: Sochacki Park JPA Governance Policy Board; Robbinsdale Beautification Committee; Past: District 281 System Accountability Committee; Robbinsdale Park, Recreation and Forestry Commission; Lions Club; Board Member and Coach-Robbinsdale Little League; President - Armstrong Cooper Youth Baseball Association

Have you run for any other office in the past? Robbinsdale Ward 4 City Council, 2010-present

Contact information: patbacken.com

What do you consider the top issues that the City Council should address in this election cycle?

The council recently asked for a wage study for the city staff. The study found our wages were lower than many of our neighboring communities and were evident by trouble attracting and keeping staff. We have started to remedy this with wage adjustments. Of course, the flip side of wage adjustments is larger expenses.

The next few years will require careful consideration of our budget to maintain services residents expect and rely on, and any rise in property tax increases. I firmly believe in treating our employees with respect, and wages are an important part of this.

Finding a balance between serving residents by meeting their needs and wants, treating our staff with respect and smart budget practices will be a very important issue over the next few years.

What measures would you propose to further your goals for the city?

Each year the council meets at a work session to set priorities and goals for the city for the future, focusing primarily on the upcoming year. We use input from residents, business owners and staff as well as other council members. Maintaining positive and constructive relationships with all these groups allows me to be a successful contributor to these plans, and provide ideas and vision for the future of Robbinsdale from a wide source of input.

Additionally, one of my goals when I ran for the council was to be open and responsive to residents. I meet with residents regularly to discuss neighborhood issues and get feedback on issues that concern them – it is one of my favorite parts of the job – and will continue this practice of being available and responsive to residents.

What kind of development do you see in the future of the city?

There are several re-development projects underway or “in the pipeline,” adding much needed market-rate housing and revitalizing blighted and run-down properties. I expect we will see some additional projects starting when the Blue Line Extension moves forward, taking advantage of our unique downtown and access to transit. Much of new development relies on developers seeing an unmet opportunity, and predicting these market trends is difficult, but some additional housing is very likely.

Kaira Miller

Address: 3615 Orchard Ave. N.

Education: Four year Bachelor Degree from University of Minnesota-TC, and Esthetic’s License from PCI Academy

Occupation: Advantage Solutions Consultant

Years in the city: 27

Community/civic organizations involvement: A committed resident for 27 years, enrolled in local schools, worked at local businesses and participated in Whizbang Days.

Have you run for any other office in the past? No

Contact information: kaira.l.miller@gmail.com

What do you consider the top issues that the City Council should address in this election cycle?

Improving the health of the community by showing that they are listening and encouraging the voices of their residents, and addressing the residents concerns to the best of their ability. Improving and maintaining the city’s environment. Bringing people together as our city evolves with the times.

What measures would you propose to further your goals for the city?

Preservation of Graeser park and maintenance. Youth and family involvement programs. Local farmers market. Encourage all age groups to make their voice heard and take a stand in their community.

What kind of development do you see in the future of the city?

Residential and business growth due to the expansion of the light rail and my hope would be to include meeting the goals and desires of current residents. Robbinsdale is a unique place, it deserves to develop in its own unique way.

Jay Rathell

Address: 3125 Chowen Ave. N.

Family: 4

Education: College Education

Occupation: Digital Marketing Specialist

Years in the city: 3

What do you consider the top issues that the City Council should address in this election cycle?

The lack of communication between the city council and the community is a top concern. Over the past few years, examples of the deficiency of communication can be highlighted by the lack of clarity on key community concerns, such as the Hy-Vee project and tax-increment financing. I do not believe this communication breakdown has been intentional, but nevertheless, this is an ongoing issue that needs a remedy.

Advancing the council’s community connection through accountability to community concerns is another fundamental transformation that needs to occur. These issues need to be addressed, but first, it is imperative that the community simply feels comfortable to bring forth issues to the city. That means building trust between council members, the city and the community.

Furthermore, we currently have no minority representation working on the city council, or any city departments, of which I am aware. The community as a whole needs representation, but the minority community also needs representation and to also be provided a platform to vocalize concerns. Without representation, there can be no trust. In order to move forward to make decisions as a community, these fundamental elements need to be established.

What measures would you propose to further your goals for the city?

Here are a few of the goals I have in mind for the city:

New communication plan to keep the community more in tune with what the city is doing.

Reworking of the website to make it more user-friendly. Including having the website provide more useful information such as showing all police and fire workers.

Audit of cities department budgets.

Have unions more involved with community gatherings including speaking with students about prospective career options.

Have monthly meetings and create more opportunities where neighbors can get together and get to know each other better.

Educate the city as a whole about what actually goes on in city hall.

What kind of development do you see in the future of the city?

With the Hy-Vee just arriving, the Birdtown Flats in development, new restaurants and the Blue Line light rail arriving, development is alive and well in Robbinsdale. With all this development, we NEED to make sure it makes sense for current residents, we must bring community stakeholders to the table to be involved with these discussions. If the community won’t come to us, then we go to them. We need to make sure with these new development properties our intentions match our actions.

George Selman

Address: 3953 Zane Ave. N.

Family: Wife, Merrilee

Education: North Hennepin

Occupation: Self-employed, owner of Bonus Building Care; Bark and Bathe

Years in the city: 40

Community/civic organizations involvement: Past Planning Commission Chair; Past Park and Rec Commission; Whiz Bang Days Committee (president for three years); Community Advisory Committee for Light Rail 16 years (past committee chair); Robbinsdale Lions Club (president for two years); Robbinsdale Chamber of Commerce (current board member); Heart of Robbinsdale Community Foundation (founding board member); Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Quad Communities past board member; Northwest Community Television Commission member and numerous short-term project and event committees in Robbinsdale and Hennepin County.

Have you run for any other office in the past? Robbinsdale Ward 3 City Council 2006-present

What do you consider the top issues that the City Council should address in this election cycle?

Redevelopment especially as it applies to transit-oriented development, crime and budget.

What measures would you propose to further your goals for the city?

I have and will continue to work hard to make Robbinsdale better in all the areas mentioned above. I have taken advantage of educating myself for over 20 years on redevelopment including attending conventions geared toward transit-oriented development.

Adding a police officer in this year’s budget and one in next year’s budget is important to keep crime in check. I intend to support additional police department staffing as requirements for body camera data storage increases.

I am very proud of the way myself and this council has worked with staff to create responsible and effective budgets year after year. Many, many hours go into this and I feel it is one of the most difficult and important things we do.

What kind of development do you see in the future of the city?

Short term, transit-oriented development will be a wonderful opportunity. Residential and commercial expansion related to light rail transit is very important. These decisions are 100-plus-year plans and I feel I am uniquely qualified to make this great for future generations.

In the long term, expanding and reinventing West Broadway from downtown to 36th Avenue will be something that happens. Filling in this area will make our town the best it has ever been. Keeping it resident and pedestrian friendly will be critical.

Copyright © 2018 at Sun Newspapers. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.

Load comments