With the general election approaching on Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters seek out the candidates they feel will best represent their values in office. The Union-Times asked the candidates running for Princeton City Council seven questions to help voters make their choice:
1. What are your previously elected, appointed, or volunteer positions?
2. What motivates you to want to become, or continue as, a city council member?
3. What do you see as a city council member’s role and responsibility?
4. What do you bring to the table that your opponents do not?
5. Why should people trust that you will make decisions in the best interest of the city and its residents?
6. What are the major challenges facing the city in the next year and beyond? How do you think the city council should address these challenges?
7. How can the council and its members be accessible to the community?
Answers are listed in alphabetical order by the candidates’ last names. There are two open seats on the council.
1. Mille Lacs County Commissioner for eight years, Princeton City Council for four years, Princeton City Planning Commission for 10 years, East Central Regional Library Board for eight years, American Legion Post 216 as a Life Member, Mille Lacs County Historical Society for 20 years with two years on the board, Mille Lacs County Equal Rights Foundation for 15 years, Princeton Airport Advisory Board for six years, and the Mille Lacs County Ag. Society (Fair Board) for seven years.
2. Princeton is the only place I have ever called home. I have a passion to give back to the community.
3. Setting the annual budget is the primary responsibility of the Council. The City Administrator oversees the day to day operation of the city and determines the business the council is required to act on. I will support the type of government that is functional, efficient and recognizes and respects the God given Constitutional rights of the residents of the City of Princeton. Honesty, integrity, transparency, keeping an open mind and keeping the door open to the public will be the standards that I rely on when making my decisions.
4. My experience based on my past years of Public Service.
5. As I’ve already stated, Princeton is the only place I’ve ever called home. My history in the community is an open book.
6. A lot of good things are happening in Princeton. Annexation of the south mobile home park has pushed the cities population over 5000 so we have access to State Aid road funds among other things. The Industrial Park is in the process of being expanded. We will soon have two new multi dwelling apartment buildings open for occupancy. A piece of Airport property is in the process of being vacated so that it can be sold and go on the tax role. One of my concerns is the aging sanitary sewer system in the oldest parts of the residential areas. Putting planning in place to address that concern is probably overdo. I am very optimistic about the future of the city and want to be a part of it.
7. All of the contacts of the elected and appointed personnel are available at City Hall and on the city website.
1. City Councilor (2019 to current), Acting Mayor (2022), Liaison to Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Fire Advisory board, Liaison to Public Utilities Commission (previous), Presentation to Chamber Leadership group, represented Council on numerous special projects, teams, interview/hiring committees and at events.
2. Princeton has been my home for 35 years. While I have been very involved in the community for most of those years, I decided four years ago that I wanted to serve in a greater capacity and help to be instrumental to make our community an even better place to live, work and play. I believed that my career has given me the experiences, knowledge and tools to be effective in this role as a City Councilor. I have truly enjoyed my first term and am very pleased with many things that have been accomplished during this time. I am also very excited about some projects that are in the works - some that I was instrumental in getting started - and would be very honored to serve another term and see them come to fruition while continuing to serve my community.
3. A City Councilors role is to “Provide Community Leadership”. This is done by enacting laws and promoting the safety of our citizens, ensuring that the city is fulfilling its duties under the law and lawfully exercising its powers, participating in City events, promoting ideas, communication with residents, responding to constituents needs and complaints, and representing the community to other levels of government, groups and boards.
A City Councilors responsibilities are setting city policy through ordinances and resolutions, review and adopt the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and annual Budget, set appropriate Tax Levies, evaluate the performance of City services and programs, establish/approve City Service Rates, Plan future development of the City, establish long and short term objectives and priorities, enter into legal contracts, borrow funds, approve grants, regulate land use through zoning laws, regulate business activity through licensing and regulations, regulate public health and safety, exercise the power of eminent domain, appointments to Boards and Committees, serve on Boards and Committees and help with special projects/teams.
4. Many years, during my 41-year career, were spent in Leadership and Upper Management Positions. I became highly experienced in Human Resources, Training, Sales and Marketing, Expenses (managing, negotiating, analyzing) Revenue Management, Forecasting, Capital Improvement Plans, Budgeting, Business Plans, and Project Management. I have utilized and found these skills to be extremely beneficial in the role of a City Councilor.
5. I believe the key to good decision making, community sustainability and growth is strong leadership. I am not afraid to have difficult conversations, make difficult decisions, ask difficult questions, expect accountability, and challenge decisions when needed. Every decision I make, I first ask myself “What would the residents/tax payers of the City of Princeton want me to do?”. My decisions are also based on information, knowledge, experience and research, they are not “emotion based”. I am open to new ideas and innovation to keep our city relevant. I believe these practices helps me to be a strong leader.
6. Our city has an aged Infrastructure that needs to be addressed. Since being elected to City Council in 2019, I have been steering the Council in the direction of addressing and planning for this urgent issue. It needs a lot of time and attention to approach a solution in the most effective, long-term way. Just this year, Council has approved the beginning plans to start the process.
Promoting “Revenue Generation” and assure “Fiscally Responsible Spending” to alleviate tax burden on City Residents. Costs continue to rise and the last few years have been no exception. We can’t change that, but we can be diligent and creative in ways to reduce the tax burden in any way possible while still operating in a responsible manner. When my term on council started, I began looking into the City’s Revenue Generating Funds. I was able to find many areas that needed to be updated and have helped to increase the amount of revenues coming in. I have also questioned/challenged a large area of past spending that I believe does not benefit the majority of the tax payers/residents of the city. I would love the opportunity to continue to do these such things for our community.
7. Council should attend events, be involved, available, and approachable. Residents may attend Council meetings, call us or email us. Our information is on the City’s Website.
2. I am seeking to become more involved in my community. Both in the decisions and discussions as to the future of our city.
3. A council member’s responsibility is to listen to the needs and wants of the community and to collaborate with the mayor and city to help make informed decisions to put those needs and wants into actions that benefit our citizens in the community.
4. I bring a different perspective of our city, children who currently attend school in our city, and a desire to see our city grow and succeed in the future. I am sure all candidates want what is best for our city, I feel I can represent a newer generation living in Princeton.
5. I can set personal feelings aside and make decisions on what is best for the community. I have been in Princeton for 30 years and plan on being here in the future. Any decisions made will affect myself and my family overall as much as my neighbors and their families.
6. Our city’s infrastructure is aged and needs attention. With the consistent growth and expansion of our city, we need to make sure that its infrastructure can withstand not only the current load it is under, but also the new residents and businesses entering our city. The city council can work with our public works and utilities to make informed decisions and make this a priority. Another challenge is protecting our current small businesses and creating an inviting atmosphere for new small businesses. Giving our local businesses a voice and attention to issues that can and will affect their livelihood is necessary.
7. I believe any way possible, either through phone call, email, mail, face to face discussions, or finding channels through social media are all possible nowadays. The citizens of our city and their concerns should be the deciding factor in any decisions our city makes.
1. Elected to the student government at Winona State University. Appointed to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) in Princeton and then voted in as the President of the board. I currently volunteer every year as a supervisor of the culinary open class for the Mille Lacs County fair.
2. As a citizen of the city of Princeton for over a decade I have seen a lot of improvement and growth within the community. I would like to continue to be a part of the future growth and development of the city. I will take the same energy and ambition I use as the President of the EDA board.
3. As elected officials, city council members are responsible for gathering insight from their constituents as to what concerns and ideas they have. Then using that information to make educated decisions on topics that impact the community. Holding city staff accountable to finish the community projects in a timely fashion.
4. By using a fresh perspective my goal is to put the unity back in community. Also, it is important to me that, as a city council member, I would be the voice for the people of Princeton. Then using that voice to make decisions for the betterment of the city.
5. I have always believed that it is important to show respect, humility, and integrity in all facets of life. I have carried this through as the President of the EDA by listening to business owners and members of the community, which will continue to aid in my abilities to do what is right for the businesses and citizens of Princeton.
6. First and foremost, the city has invested money in multiple studies for road improvement plans throughout the city. We need to focus on and follow through with the plans to rebuild the streets to better the community. In turn this will make for better snow removal in the winter creating safer streets with proper water drainage.
Secondly, as a city we have struggled to build and maintain a relationship with Mille Lacs County officials. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in the lawsuit regarding the 1855 treaty, it is vital that the city of Princeton has a seat at the table during the redistricting of the county. Business and property owners that reside in the Mille Lacs County portion of Princeton will have their property taxes increase exponentially as we would carry the majority of the Mille Lacs County tax burden.
7. Princeton has many events that provide opportunities for the community to come together. Such as, Rum River Days, Night to Unite, Public Safety Day, OctoberFEST, and many more. When elected I will continue to attend these events as another opportunity for the community to meet with me.