First, could you provide a bit of background information, i.e. your age, family, career and educational background, etc.?
I grew up on a farm and ranch in western North Dakota. I graduated from Killdeer High School in 1987. After graduating high school, I attended Bismarck State College and then went on to join the National Guard. After leaving the guard, I started working Menards and worked my way to an assistant store manager and worked there 11.5 years. In 2001, I was hired at Ferrellgas as a District Manager, where I am still employed today. I have been married to Jeanne for 23 years. Jeanne is the Director of Patient Access at RiverView Health. We have three children: Samantha lives in Crookston with her husband Ethan Hulst and is registered nurse at RiverView; Dylan lives in Jamestown and works Stoudt Ford as the body shop manager; and McKenzie lives in Fargo and is attending NDSU majoring in marketing and sales. I am a member of Cathedral Parish. I have been involved in the community by volunteering to coach youth basketball and have previously served as the president of the Crookston Youth Basketball Association.
Please list, in order, what you see as Crookston three biggest assets, and explain your rationale.
Schools: Before moving to Crookston in 2004, the school district was the first item we checked out. We felt that the Crookston school district offered a strong education system as well as extra-curricular activities, which drew us to move to Crookston. All three of our children graduated from Crookston High School. The University of Minnesota-Crookston is also a great asset to our community. The university brings students from all over the word to our community adding to the diversity of our community, and if we are lucky, we can get some of them to stay.
Hospital and Clinics: Our rural, community in northwest Minnesota offers two exception healthcare systems, Altru and RiverView Health. I think we are fortunate to have both of these organizations who strive to serve our community with the best care possible.
Police and Fire Department: I feel these two departments do a great job keeping our community safe, just last year Crookston was named the 11th safest community in Minnesota. They also hold many great events that bring the people of our community together.
Now, on the flip side, please list, in order, what you see as Crookston’s three biggest challenges, or shortcomings.
One thing I think needs looking into is how some of the entities are spending our taxpayer’s money. From what I understand and heard from some concerned community members, is there seems to be some reluctance for one of these entities to open their books. I am not sure if this is the case, but if it is, I would request an outside audit of the entity that does not want to share all the appropriate information with the council members including how they are spending tax payer’s money. Council members work for the taxpayers of Crookston. If a taxpayer asks how their tax dollars are being spent, we as council members have an obligation to give them answers.
I would like to see what we can do to liven up our downtown. Our city government needs to be open to new businesses and seek out these opportunities. We need to utilize the historic structures and support any new businesses that will thrive in our community.
I would like to see what we can do about the lack of daycare providers in our community. If we are successful in bringing new business to our community, hopefully, young families will follow. The City of Crookston is already lacking daycare providers, creating stress and missed economic opportunities in our community. I foresee this to be a growing problem and I would like to what we can do alleviate this problem for our young, growing families.
The word “dysfunctional” is being tossed around frequently this campaign season, as people describe the current makeup of the council and mayor and how they communicate and work together. To what level do you agree with that assessment, or disagree with it? Please explain.
During the meet the candidates meeting at UMC, I was asked if I would sign a Code of Conduct form. My answer was I’m not sure why it is needed. If council members cannot professionally conduct themselves while doing the city's business, they should resign in my opinion. Of course, there will be disagreements, and there should be for a healthy council to work correctly, but at the end of the day, there are times we need to agree to disagree vote on a topic and move on. If you want to be on the council to get your way all the time, then you probably shouldn’t be on the council because that is just not going to happen. We owe it to our taxpayers not to embarrass the city. If signing a Code of Conduct form will magically make everyone act in a better manner, than I guess I would sign it, but my guess is it will little to no effect.
Could you list some favorite hobbies or other things you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. We have a cabin near Upper Red Lake, where I enjoy spending time fishing and taking in the outdoors. I also like taking the time to hunt with my family in western North Dakota every fall.
People like to toss the word “hero” around a lot, but could you list three people that you really admire, or look up to, and explain a little why you’ve picked these three?
My mother and Mother in law. Both of these ladies were hard working farm wives and homemakers. They raised good kids through some tough times and taught us all right from wrong.
All current and past members of the Armed Forces. Anyone who has served in any branch of our Military has my admiration.