Times 2020 Election Candidate Profile: Joe Kresl, incumbent City Council Ward 5

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

Tell us about yourself, your family, education, career and political experience.

    I’m a lifelong Ward 5 resident and I grew up in Crookston. I went to Central High School and then to Northland in East Grand Forks for Mechanics. I’ve been at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) for 25 years as the Senior Buildings and Grounds Worker. My wife is Jamie, a teacher at Highland Elementary and she has taught for at least 20 years with some prior teaching in Climax. I’ve been on the Crookston Wrestling Board, the Planning Commission for 8 years and was chair for 4 years before being a Council member. We have 4 kids, 1 daughter 3 sons, and they’re very involved with sports and activities.

How long have you served as a Crookston City Council member?

    I’ve served as a council member for 8 months after being appointed following a vacancy and hope to be reelected so I can continue to serve.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected for another term?

    I’d like to get the council together as one, stop the backdoor meetings, and be more transparent. I want the public to view the council in a better way. It can happen. Being on the council is not political, it’s where you do what’s best for your town. If you’re not on the Council for that, you’re in the wrong place.

Do you feel you’ve been open enough to the members of your ward and the community to speak on their behalf?

    I think so. I’ve had several calls and taken care of them right away. I’ve gotten good feedback on things that have been addressed before years ago and failed, and I got them discussed in days. I’m open for people call me, go have coffee, have a visit, and I want to do what’s best for Crookston and our ward.

Many people in the area feel that communication is the Council’s weakest point - both with other council members/mayor/staff, and with the community. Do you feel you can fix that if elected to another term? How? Give examples if you’d like.

    I think transparency is the biggest thing. We all have to get together as one group and not as separate entities. The separation is what makes it look bad. You have to know if your vote doesn’t go your way, you have to move on. We need to move forward and not backwards even if you don’t get your way.

In regards to the handling of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, name one thing you agree with that Governor Walz has done for the state of Minnesota. Explain.

    At the beginning, he was listening to his professionals, doctors, and not making rash decisions. I think he did a very good job where other states did not. Things were very well thought out.

In regards to the handling of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, name one thing you disagree with that Governor Walz has done for the state of Minnesota. Explain.

    I feel the regulations for the schools need to be tightened up a bit, and the steps taken. Our children are more important than that. Safety needs to take priority over money and we’ve seen our numbers jump. School-wide I think it should have been all hybrid or all face to face, and not such a mixture. I’m a parent of both high school and elementary so I’ve seen how difficult it has been.

What do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?

    We like to go to the lake, enjoy hunting and fishing, and I like teaching my kids how to hunt and fish. I like spending time with my family, going to my kids’ sporting events and I used to do coaching for sports for my kids. Really I like to do anything family-wise.  

What is your favorite place to visit in Crookston? How about in Minnesota?

    Back in the day it would have been the Irishman’s Shanty, they’re in my neighborhood. It feels like home there. In Minnesota it would be either Walker or Duluth. We had our honeymoon in Duluth; Duluth is premiere Minnesota. Walker has also been our go-to place. Usually it’s one weekend we are on our own without kids.

What is your favorite restaurant and where is it located?

    Paradiso in Grand Forks or Fargo, or Texas Roadhouse as that’s my favorite place to have a steak.

Joe Kresl