Changes in store for Oakdale City Council

With three out of four Oakdale City Council positions on the ballot this fall and only one incumbent running, there will inevitably be new people on the council come next year.

Council members Lori Pulkrabek and Bill Rasmussen are not running for re-election, and their terms conclude at the end of the year.

Incumbent Mark Landis, who was appointed to the council for a partial term after Kristen Cici resigned in April 2017, is running to be elected to a full term. Susan Olson, Dallas Pierson and Colleen Swedberg round out the race for two seats whose terms run from January through December 2022.

Residents will also be voting in a special election to fill the partial city council term, which ends in December 2020. Jake Ingebrightson was the only person to file to run in that race.

Landis was appointed to fill this term until the special election because he had earned the third most votes in the 2016 city council race for two seats. He remained on the council following a November 2017 DWI arrest. The case is still moving through the courts system. 

The Review asked the candidates via email why they are running, what they believe the top challenges will be in Oakdale in upcoming years and what project they will prioritize if elected.

Susan Olson, who is running for one of the full city council terms, did not respond to the Review questionnaire.

 

Landis, 58, is an incumbent council member who works full-time as a financial advisor and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from St. Cloud State University. He is married to Kris Landis.

Landis said he is running for election “because I love this city and I want to make Oakdale work for everybody and also continue our ‘Great Quality of Life.’”

He said if elected, he will bring to the council his experiences on the Oakdale Economic Development Commission from 1995 to 2016, of which he was the chair for 14 years.

Landis also said he would bring his experience on the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority from 2012 to 2014, of which he was chair in 2014.

He also was on the Citizens Advisory Commission for School District 622 Strategic Planning in 2016 and was, on three occasions, on the Community Advisory Commission for the City of Oakdale Comprehensive Plan. As a current council member, he said he has served on a variety of subcommittees and as a council liaison on the Oakdale Economic Development Commission.

Landis listed the top challenges he thinks Oakdale will face in upcoming years as public safety such as police and fire, sound environmental management, economic development such as retaining and expanding businesses to help provide good paying jobs, neighborhood revitalization, continuing to improve parks and trails for all ages and needs, and fiscal responsibility for low taxes.

He said if elected, he will prioritize an addition to the police building, the 3M property development, the needs of the public works building and bus rapid transit development.

“Oakdale has always taken a disciplined approach with taxpayer dollars and I would like to continue to be part of that.” Landis said. “I would be humbled with your vote Nov. 6.”

 

Pierson, 67, who is married to Debrah Pierson, is a retiree who previously worked at 3M Company, Imation and Kodak. 

He holds bachelor’s degrees from Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota where he studied mathematics, physics, electrical engineering and computer science.

Pierson said he is running for a city council position because he loves living in Oakdale and wants to maintain its positive identity.

“I want to help assure its continued success,” he said, adding that he wants to help Oakdale be a community where residents and businesses prosper.

He said that if he is elected, he will bring to the council his skills working with a team on complex solutions and products, listening to people and working for consensus. He also said he would bring his experience from working on Oakdale’s Planning Commission and the Committee for the 2040 Comprehensive Plan.

When asked about Oakdale’s top challenges in upcoming years, Pierson said that “water quality and supply will continue to be a top priority,” and said another challenge will be “working with the citizens to help provide programs to maintain and update our aging housing.”

Other challenges Pierson anticipates are transportation and public safety.

He said that if he is elected, he will prioritize responsible budgeting. He added that he wants to maintain and improve amenities for residents, as well as the business environment, without significant increases in property taxes, which requires keeping a balance between needs and wants.

He added that he would also prioritize improving transportation around Oakdale, which he said he believes “is important to a significant and growing number of our citizens.”

“It would be an honor and privilege to serve on the city council to help continue moving us forward and continuously improve our quality of life,” Pierson said.

 

Swedberg, 58, works full-time as a quality manager at Carley Foundry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Winona State University and is divorced.

When asked why she is running for a council seat, Swedberg said that she thinks Oakdale is a great city and she wants to help maintain and improve the quality of life in Oakdale by serving residents and businesses.

“I would be honored to expand my current serving capacity role of Oakdale Park and Recreation Commissioner Vice Chair to City Council,” she added. 

Swedberg said that one of the experiences she would bring to the council, if elected, includes the time she spent as a resident of Washington County as a child and an adult.

She added that she would also bring experience gained on the Park and Recreation Board in Oakdale over the past four years, bringing the Landscape Revival event to Oakdale in 2018, serving on the 2040 Oakdale Comprehensive Plan Committee and holding various senior manufacturing positions over the last 20 years, which involved planning, developing and executing budgets.

Swedberg said that she thinks Oakdale’s top challenges in upcoming years will be meeting the needs of Oakdale’s aging and diverse population, having a skilled labor force to draw upon and paying for the city’s many exciting projects without overburdening the budgets of residents, businesses or the city. 

She added that if she is elected, the projects she will prioritize, in no particular order, will be the 3M housing development, the bus rapid transit Gold Line, new projects and maintenance for parks and recreation, police facilities and building expansion, and expanding the revitalization efforts to include the old Highway 5 area, now called County Road 14.

 

Special election

Ingebrightson, 39, is married to Sara Ingebrightson and works “more than full-time” as a co-owner of Car and Credit Connection. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Metropolitan State University.

Ingebrightson said that he is running for this position because he wants to make sure his three young children will grow up in a safe and prosperous city.

He added that if he is elected, he will bring to elected office his budgeting, project oversight and planning skills.

Oakdale’s aging housing stock is what Ingebrightson said will be the city’s biggest challenge in upcoming years.

“Fortunately, the city has done a good job addressing the issue through numerous city loan programs that allow homeowners options to finance updates to their homes,” he said. “I am committed to making sure these programs continue and would also consider ways to expand these programs.”

Ingebrightson added that if he is elected, his top priority will be making sure the 3M neighborhood development happens because it would be beneficial to the city’s tax base and would add numerous homes as well as green space, parks and additional amenities.

Election Day is Nov. 6. Oakdale is made up of eight precincts, each with its own polling place. To verify your precinct and voting location, visit www.pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

 

-Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here