A handful of Crookston mayoral candidates hoping to succeed Mayor Wayne Melbye, who’s not running, touched on familiar themes during Monday’s Meet the Candidates Forum at UMC. Here’s a summary of their main points, and a notable quote for each:

    Dean Adams: He’s a small business owner with a lot of experience rehabbing and renting properties. He believes in “grassroots government.” He says he’ll “stand by his word, even if it’s tough.” He’s not afraid to do a lot of research before making a decision. He wants a more transparent, united city council. He doesn’t necessarily think the current mayor and council are dysfunctional, but Adams thinks they can find more “common threads.” His top priority is bringing more good-paying jobs to Crookston, adding that 50 new jobs could transform the community. But he also thinks current businesses need to be retained and paid attention to. If elected, he’d first like to meet one-on-one with every council member. He said council members and the mayor are accountable first to their electors, not each other. Notable quote: “I want all the things you want, a safe place for my family, a future for my kids and grandchildren, and a place to live, work and play.”

    Clayton Briggs: He’s currently the council member from Ward 3. A retired police officer, he now runs a small construction business. He wants to “get leadership moving in the right direction” in Crookston. Communication with the mayor and council need to improve, he said. One-on-one discussions now and then would help, Briggs said. Strategic incentives would bring businesses to Crookston, but they need to fit the community, he said. Existing businesses need attention, too, he said, adding, “Shop Crookston.” Notable quote: “I would provide good leadership. I would be the people’s mayor.”

    Dana Johnson: A one-time Ward 2 council member, she now works for Polk County in victims’ assistance. She said she’s all about integrity, respect, core values and making sure the council is working as it should. Crookston has “great talent,” no matter the age, she said. If the council and mayor are transparent, she said, there should be no surprises. Her most pressing issue is increasing child care options in Crookston. The shortage is stifling the community’s opportunity for growth. The City and CHEDA need to be better teammates, she said, and with all agencies better communication and transparency is needed. Notable quote: “I want Crookston to be a great place for my children and grandchildren to live. I’m not running for office, I’m running for you, the citizens.”

    Guy Martin: Martin was on the city council years ago. He is a longtime crop researcher. He says Crookston needs good leadership and consistent communication. If Crookston has good amenities, Martin says people will want to come here. The mayor and council need to be careful spending tax dollars, but Martin said money needs to be spent to avoid “going backwards.” His goal is to make Crookston a “destination.” He thinks a constant focus needs to be on housing options in the community. He would be very gratified to be part of a team that gets good things accomplished.  Notable quote: “I will spend taxpayer money like it’s my money. I’m conservative and fiscally responsible.”

    Dale Stainbrook: He’s the current Ward 5 council member and vice mayor. He doesn’t agree that the current mayor and council are dysfunctional, but think that everyone is “passionate about moving in the right direction and it’s a struggle to find the right road.” He thinks the child care shortage is a big deal in Crookston. He would also like to see the city work with UMC and CHS students who have “great ideas” and would stay in Crookston and start businesses if the situation was right. He said his guiding principle, if elected mayor, would be “patience.” He said when it comes to communication, there is no such thing as a “dumb question.” New jobs are needed, but also is support for existing businesses, Stainbrook said. Notable quote: “I think the mayor is the ambassador of the community. You can have disagreements but also be a team player. Accountability, that’s the way to get things done.”