Little Canada council candidates have eyes on development

This fall’s Little Canada City Council race is a fairly tidy affair.

Incumbent Mayor John Keis is once again running unopposed — he also lacked an opponent in 2014 — and there are three candidates vying for two city council seats.

Incumbent council members Tom Fischer and Christian Torkelson are both running for their second, four-year terms on the council, while Andrew Henderson, who also ran in both 2014 and 2016, is mounting another campaign to join the city council.

The candidates answered questions via email including why they are running, what skills and experiences they will bring to office, what they believe to be the top challenges the city faces and what issues or projects they would prioritize if elected.

Keis opted out of the questionnaire, while Torkelson did not return it by deadline.

 

Fischer, 54, is single and a senior principal program leader at Medtronic. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, leadership and management from the University of St. Thomas.

He said he would be an objective listener who wants to understand all pertinent viewpoints when making a decision, that he’s skilled at fiscally responsible decision making and that he initiates “innovative solutions to difficult situations.”

Fischer said he’s running again because “I thoroughly enjoy serving our city.” Beyond his council tenure, he served six years on the city Planning Commission, he said, gaining “a strong understanding of local government infrastructure.”

“I have also developed a great working relationship with our staff members as well as the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office,” Fischer said, pointing out that he’d like a chance to see through the council’s recent work on the city’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan and Parks Master Plan, which “identified some new opportunities for our city.”

The top challenges facing Little Canada, said Fischer, include redevelopment of the fully developed city, working on crime reduction and finding crime prevention alternatives, and also working to keep the local tax levy “as low as practical, while maintaining the things that make Little Canada great.”

On his top priority if re-elected, Fischer said, “The good news is there is no burning issue affecting Little Canada at this time. My time will be spent helping ensure our residents have a great quality of life in our community.”

 

Henderson, 34, is single and a IUE/CWA union welder. He holds a welding certificate from St. Paul College.

The skills or experience he said he’d bring to office are “fortitude during adversity” and “espouses citizen advocacy philosophy.”

Henderson said he’s running “because I have witnessed far too many instances of spineless elected officials strip away the citizens’ natural rights: banning the placement of Little Free Libraries on one’s own private property; requiring to obtain permission, along with a fee, by means of permit, to carry out simple repairs on one’s own home; chastising a house of faith for applying for a temporary license to fundraise among their congregation.”

The biggest challenge facing Little Canada, Henderson said, is residential and commercial growth and the city’s role in it. “The antiquated and regressive housing and business practices and polices designed and enforced by the local government deter economic growth and fail to attract and retain residents and businesses in our community,” he said.

If elected, Henderson said he would prioritize “the immediate and aggressive repeal of overbearing, intrusive, and authoritarian regulations over the citizens and business proprietors in the City of Little Canada, along with opposing the creation and implementation of any new bureaucratic policies and authorities that hinder housing and residential autonomy and commercial economic growth.”

 

For more information about voting, go to www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting. Election Day is Nov. 6.

 

-Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813. 

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