2020 City Council Election Profile: Kristie Jerde

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

First off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your family, education, background/previous stops, career, etc.?

     I have been a Crookston resident for 14 years. I first came to Crookston to work for the University of Minnesota Crookston and decided to stay after meeting my husband, starting a family, and establishing friendships. I completed my master’s in Higher Education Leadership at the University of North Dakota and then continued to work in Higher Education. I worked 8 years at University of Minnesota Crookston, 3 years at North Dakota State University and currently work remotely, fundraising and advertising for NASPA, a national non- profit education association. My community involvement has included the United Way Executive board and the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (ATOD) Prevention communitywide committee as well as many university lead committees. I have also held many positions of leadership in my professional associations, both at the regional and national levels. Crookston has been a wonderful place to live with my husband Justin and raise our two kids.

Why are you running for Crookston City Council?

    I am running for City Council because I know we could use some new perspectives. One of my top priorities is to advocate for changes that makes Crookston a more attractive place to live, raise families and do business and in doing so stimulate economic growth and development.

Can you list what you think are the three best things the Crookston community has going for it at this particular moment in time, and reasons why you chose these three things?

    •    As a parent, I believe our parks and early education programing have been a highlight for our family.

    •    Having the University of Minnesota Crookston and Riverview Health in our city brings a lot of value with the services they provide. Besides being some of the larger employers of our city, their involvement in the community, and revenue they generate, is invaluable to the city.

    •    The emergency services of our city are doing a great job making Crookston one of the safest cities in Minnesota.

On the flip side, what trio of challenges facing the Crookston community are the most daunting, in your view? What can/should/needs to be done to tackle these challenges?

    •    Lack of economic growth - Actively pursue companies to open locations in Crookston. Create attractive tax cuts and/or incentive plans to businesses that provide needed services and/or provide high paying jobs for large numbers of residents.

    •    Greater flexibility of city services - To  provide higher satisfaction with city services, review the current hours of operation for services like city waste management and consider extensions or weekend hours to make the services more accessible for residents who work during the day.

    •    Greater transparency with city council - Stream and/or televise city council meetings for those who cannot make it to the meeting or cannot utilize the stairs to get to the meetings. Make meeting minutes more accessible, up to date, and posted promptly on the city website with an easy to find ink. Audio recordings do not provide accessible or easy access to information for those wanting to be up to date on the latest items addressed at city council meetings.

Please describe what you envision downtown Crookston will be like in 10 years.

    I envision a thriving downtown with businesses that create consistent foot traffic and entice people from out of the area to visit expressly for our businesses and amenities.

If you had to grade the performance of the Crookston City Council, mayor position and City administration over the past five years, what grade would you give?

    Considering all of the transition that has occurred the past 5 years, I do not feel that grading the city council, mayor or city administrator would serve a purpose but I will say we can do better.

Please finish this sentence: The Crookston community is about...


Can you list two people in your life that have particularly inspired you, or two people that you especially admire and try to emulate? Please explain your choices.

    I admire my mentor and former professor, Jill Minar. When I first attended junior college, she always encouraged me to pursue roles of leadership and believed in my ability. She has always been my cheerleader and given me guidance as I went on to earn my bachelor’s and master's degrees. Jill taught me the importance of mentorship and the need to pay it forward. As I have worked in higher education, I have tried to emulate her kindness and support with the students I have had the honor to work with.

    I am inspired by my grandmother, who represented California in helping pass legislation to protect ex-spouses of military officers. I am in awe of her tenacity and spirit in fighting for the protection of a vulnerable population. In any leadership role I take on, I aspire to have that same tenacity and spirit.

Kristie Jerde