Q: Please provide us with some background information, including your education, job position, community service and any previous or current connection with government.
A: I am a lifelong resident of Hastings and graduated in 2005. I went on to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement from Metropolitan State University and graduated with honors in 2008. I am a police officer for the Metro Transit Police Department and formerly was employed by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office water patrol as well as the Hastings Police Department as an intern. I currently serve on the Heritage Preservation Commission.
Q: Why did you decide to run for this position?
A: I decided to run for City Council because I have always had a deep interest in the community I grew up in. Hastings is not another suburb, we have defined borders and a rich history in the area that I value strongly and promise to uphold. I have chosen to build a life here beyond being raised and feel that getting younger people involved early on will lead to a stronger and brighter future for things down the road. My role in law enforcement involves problem solving on a daily basis and finding a happy medium where all sides can walk away amenable to one another and that is exactly how I view being a council member will be. Each issue, whether it be as small as a residential building permit or as large as a new business should and will receive equal thought and fairness throughout the council’s process on the given issue
Q: What are the major issues facing the City of Hastings? How should they be addressed? Is there an area (or areas) that needs special attention?
A: I don’t believe Hastings is facing any major issues at this time. We are fortunate to have a very seasoned staff and leadership team down at City Hall as well as a council that acts on the best interests of the community as a whole. Several issues come to mind in the near future that will need attention such as gaining express transit services from Hastings to St. Paul as well as expanding the number of senior housing units we have here in town for the baby boomer generation to settle into. Both of these additions to Hastings will not only strengthen its marketability in the metro area as a livable “full life cycle” community but will also add to the tax base the city can budget from.
Q: How should the city attract new businesses and/or industries, resulting in more jobs and increasing the tax base? How should we compete with other cities?
A: Hastings has some excellent programs already in place but I think they could be marketed better to real estate brokers to attract new businesses to put their roots down here. The “Land for a Dollar” program for example since its inception in 1997 has fostered the construction or expansion of 19 businesses creating over 120 jobs and nearly $11.1 million in new commercial space. The city still has lots of land prime for development that this program or TIF financing could aid in developing if marketed to the right real estate community. The commercial redevelopment loan program as well could be expanded to include a more business focused approach which now is primarily focused on multi-dwelling spaces in need of rehabilitation or improving safety and access. This would allow our current established businesses to borrow money directly from the city at a lower interest rate than a bank could offer them and would encourage expansion and redevelopment within the city generating not only revenue from the interest from the loan but increases in the taxable value of the redeveloped space.
Q: What makes Hastings a good city in which to live/work?
A: Hastings is a great city to live and work in! I have done so for all 27 years of my life and have no plans of leaving anytime soon. We have an excellent parks system comprised of 33 parks and 400 acres of open space as well as 28 miles of maintained trails within the city and hopefully soon a 34th park for our dogs to enjoy. Hastings also has a top notch school district which has maintained its high level of education and standards in the face of tough economic times. We have a unique identity of being a standalone river town that is only 20 minutes from St. Paul that I wish to continue to preserve and not lose sight of.
Q: Why should people vote for you?
A: I’m just an honest, hard-working hometown kid who wants to be an active member of the community. I’m a people person at heart and that trait was the driving force for me to pursue a career as a police officer. Another trait stemming from my job that I think would be an asset to being a council member is the use of discretion fairly and impartially. The world is not black and white and neither are the issues or concerns brought to the attention of city hall. It’s our job to be amenable and able to come up with a fair resolution serving the best interests of the community or property in which it affects. I don’t have all the answers and don’t believe I’d be effective if I did. It’s my belief that effective leadership relies on input from its constituents and if elected would encourage all of you to contact me directly on any foresight or ideas you might have.