Why I’m running for mayor
I’m running for mayor because I believe we all should have the opportunity to live in a safe and friendly community with good paying jobs, robust businesses, quality housing, efficient transportation options and excellent schools. I promise I will represent all Hastings residents and encourage cooperation and teamwork with city staff, elected officials and the people who make their homes and do business in our community.
Hastings city government should serve all residents. Under my leadership, council meetings and issue discussion will be more open and transparent to the public with better community outreach and communication. Experience matters and I’m the only one in this race who has the background and skills needed to be a strong advocate for all as your Hastings mayor.
With my 16 years of service on the council and community involvement, I promise to bring a new vision and renewed energy to move Hastings forward and lead our city council in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
I am the only candidate in this race with the appropriate experience for the job. My time on the council and commissions has given me a deep understanding of how the city works to provide the services our residents use every day. I also have experience working with people of many different viewpoints and backgrounds and forging compromise to get things done.
The Mayor also needs to talk to and work with others outside the city limits. I have experience working with business leaders, legislators and elected local officials and staff from across Minnesota. This is a large part of the Mayor’s job.
The next Mayor of Hastings cannot lead the city alone but will need the backing of the city council, all city staff and community residents. I have the knowledge and skills to do that, and am prepared to lead on Day One.
- Clean water in Hastings
- Fill the empty Target space and actively seek out businesses to come to Hastings
- Encourage and promote workforce development initiatives
- Create quality housing opportunities
- Work with local officials and organizations to help people get to and from work and around our city without needing a vehicle.
- Make investments in local parks/recreation and city street upgrades
- Promote tourism initiatives with businesses, school district and residents
- Forge partnerships with local school district to promote quality schools and city/district initiatives
- Continue the Vermillion Street corridor commission project and work with businesses and residents to make this a thoroughfare that encourages travelers to stop, shop and play in our city.
- Have a Mayor’s office open-door policy to hear from residents
- Have a common-sense, transparent and productive approach to getting things done.
Clean Water in Hastings
Today (October 8) the City of Hastings began low-level chlorination of the water supply. This is a dramatic change for our community as chlorination has never been needed before. I know that our city leaders and staff have been working diligently and will strive to provide clean water in the best way possible to all of Hastings. I thank them for the long hours they have put in to keep our water safe.
Safe, clean drinking water is one of the main duties of local municipalities. And, it is definitely one of my most important priorities. I take the events of the past few weeks seriously, and I pledge to you, if I am elected, that we will work together as a community to ensure our water is safe and drinkable.
Here are my water priorities:
Update the city’s communication system so that resident and businesses can be more efficiently notified of crucial events, such as the boil water advisory recently. This may mean upgraded technology, but it is worth the effort to help keep our residents informed.
I will work with staff and residents to find potential ways to safeguard our water without chlorination. I ask that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and other agencies work with us on those possibilities.
Right now, the city should request that MDH hold a community forum/listening session to discuss the current water issue and possible solutions available.
I also feel the city should continue to study WHY the E Coli event occurred. If a cause can be found, it may be easier to find a workable solution for Hastings.
Clean water is essential for daily life everywhere. We rely on clean water first thing in the morning until we go to bed at night. It ensures our businesses can operate and provide services. I pledge to do everything I can for our city to have clean water. I ask that you be willing to work with me on this important issue.
Vermillion Street Corridor
I’m very excited to be a part of the Vermillion Street Corridor Commission, which includes city staff, business and lay community members. We have been discussing and studying how to update the corridor and provide ways to slow traffic (this is also Highway 61) and get people to stop and visit our city and spend money at our local businesses. I have received positive feedback and hope we can move forward with our consultants soon. We should consider providing business incentives to help them update the corridor to expand business opportunities, and to enhance shopping options.
As a council member I was involved in the Riverfront Renaissance and would like to see the Hudson property re-development move forward more quickly. The property is no longer owned by the city, and the local group that is heading up the re-development is struggling with requirements from the Minnesota Historical Society. I have spoken with the historical society, and as Mayor I will work to get this project done so we have a completed riverfront/business district downtown.
I believe it is in our community’s best interest to have a strong city/school connection. I would convene a task force with city and district officials, residents and students to design a plan to bring more students/families into Hastings, boost tourism and jump-start new residential building.
We have a strong school district that is known throughout the metro area as providing an excellent education. We can use that to our advantage in getting well-educated workers to our community. I would like to discuss with MinnState leaders the possibility of a community or technical college campus satellite in Hastings. This could jumpstart business development, encourage students to stay in Hastings, and create jobs.
We are strategically located near Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College, so I would encourage and provide incentives to business that will offer a career-pathways program that will provide on-the-job training for students before and after they graduate.
As I have talked with folks around Hastings the past few months, many feel we need to do more road re-construction through the city. Even the newer parts of Hastings are seeing street deterioration. We need a strong strategy to address this problem more quickly.
We also have other transportation needs: Circulator transportation enhancements around the city; potential commuter bus. I will work with the Met Council to get a Memorandum of Understanding to get a bus to Hastings. This is a great workforce development tool for us.
Hastings is not part of the transit taxing district. Even if we were part of the taxing district, we are not assured we would get bus service anytime soon. Many people have spoken to me about the need for some sort of bus route to take people not only to St. Paul, but also to other parts of Dakota County. This also plays into the workforce development issue.
When I first moved to Hastings, I got involved with the Parks Commission. As you can see from my information above, I was instrumental in enhancing park development across the city. I feel we need to give some of our parks a face lift and ensure that they are in good repair for our residents to use. A strong park system is critical for residential development and is a strong selling point for development options. I believe we should invest more of the city budget to parks.
As a council member, I was chair of the Finance Committee; it was an extremely challenging task to ensure public services and hold the line on property taxes. Hastings is primarily “residential rooftops”, so our tax base is affected by decreasing or increasing home values. Tax capacity for 2019 is expected to increase by 8 percent for homes and increase slightly for small businesses. Large “big box” commercial valuations declined. Sadly, this is our reality as online shopping increases, cutting into big box sales. We need to do what we can to expand shopping opportunities and encourage Hastings residents to shop in town and in our stores. It appears that the city could keep the tax rate at .58 in 2019, if not lower. The city will receive $710,000 in local aid in 2019, which will help us stretch our budget and hold the line on tax increases.
I was terribly disappointed about the Target closing. I will work diligently to fill that building; however, I want a serious community discussion about what should be placed there.
As we set our budget, we need to keep a balance between our residential and commercial tax bases. As former chair of the Finance Committee, I have been deeply involved in striking this balance. During the recession, we worked hard to keep our levy in check so residents and businesses weren’t hit with increasing taxes.
The Hastings Police Department faces numerous retirements soon. We need to prepare for that so we are able to fill soon-to-be open spots, and help train new personnel using the experience and expertise of our retiring staff. We need to provide incentives for employees to give early notice so we can keep a rolling schedule of potential new hires who can benefit from the expertise of our retiring staff.