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Continued: Large pool of candidates square off for Dakota County City Council races

  • Article by: GRAISON HENSLEY CHAPMAN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 7, 2014 - 9:03 PM

Alba Nowlin said she first thought of running this winter, when she was taking her kids to indoor parks across the metro area. Shaun P. Nelson, who has led fundraising for the local hockey association, said that it needs more ice space as well as more fields for other sports.

Jamal Abdulahi said that while residents of Rosemount can take their kids to swimming lessons at a nearby YMCA or Life Time Fitness, it isn’t the same as having a place for families to go together, like a public swimming pool.

Echoing Mowlin, who said that Rosemount needs to develop its retail sector, candidate Kerry S. Hibben said, “I like to say, it would be nice to be able to buy socks in my own city.” Incumbent Mark DeBettignies also filed for re-election, but incumbent Kim Shoe-Corrigan won’t run.

South St. Paul

Just one candidate will be dropped after the Aug. 12 primary narrows the seven-candidate field to six in the South St. Paul City Council race, where all three incumbents have refiled to run against four challengers.

Two of the challengers contacted said their No. 1 priority is bringing in businesses to expand the tax base.

Luke Ayala has lived in South St. Paul for a decade. “Since the time I’ve been here, I’ve watched it decay steadily,” he said. “Main Street is a ghost town,” and “there’s really no tax base to support the infrastructure.”

Economic development has been on Shawn Meck’s mind for awhile. He ran for City Council in 2012 as well.

“Widening our tax base is one of the major concerns of the city right now,” he said.

Meck also said that the city should use its state aid money to lower taxes instead of spending it on city services.

Ayala is keeping his specific plans for enticing businesses “under my hat.” But he did mention one thing that needs to change: South St. Paul’s “small town, family-oriented” feel, he said, can be cliquish and unwelcoming to newcomers.

“If you know somebody,” Ayala said, “things get done. If you don’t know somebody, things don’t get done.”

On the side of the incumbents, Marilyn Rothecker isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It’s always a run for me,” she said, “because I’m always the third vote-getter.” That said, Rothecker is pleased with her and her colleagues’ work. The council instituted a policy of five-year planning for departmental budgets, where before there was no plan.

Elsewhere

Burnsville: Five challengers are joining incumbents Dan Kealey and Bill Coughlin to run for two at-large seats. Candidates include Ben Taheri, Wes Dunser, Ron Oster, Cara Schulz and Jake Nelson.

Hastings: Six people are running for two at-large seats with retiring incumbents: Joanna Bayers, Lori Braucks, Ian T. Martin, Mark Vaughan, Blaine Hornbuckle and Tom Wright.

Inver Grove Heights: Five people are running for two seats: Incumbent Rosemary Piekarski Krech is joined by Michael Casello, Paul Hark, Bill Klein and Paul Tuschy.

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