Incumbent Coon Rapids City Council Ward 1 member Denise Klint faces two challengers in the Tuesday, Aug. 14 primary election – Chad Newman and Jerry Pierce. The top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 6 general election.
A questionnaire was sent to all three candidates and following are their responses (in alphabetical order).
Klint: I am a 40-plus year resident, having been raised here with my eight siblings by my parents, Felix and Dawn Mannella. I married another longtime resident, Tom Klint, and we have three sons, Tommy, Andy and Bobby.
I am currently the Ward 1 councilmember. As a councilmember and private citizen I have served on the League of Minnesota Cities; Anoka Hennepin Community Education Executive Board; Northstar Corridor Development Authority; Anoka County Housing and Redevelopment Advisory Board; North Metro Visitors Bureau; vice president of CRAA Auxiliary; ice arena commissioner; parks and recreation commissioner; and the Coon Rapids Youth First Executive Board. I am a member of Epiphany Catholic Church. I have been a teacher in School District 11 for 21 years.
Newman: As a young man, my family moved around a great deal. My father was a minister, and my mother a homemaker and home schooler. I have two sisters, Krista and April, both of whom are married adults. I went to high school in Marshall and ran cross country and track and field. I was also very involved in my church youth group. After graduating, I moved to Minneapolis and attended North Central University. I graduated with a degree in business, with a focus in Christian leadership and ethics. My wife, Krista, and I met at North Central. We were married in 2007 and spent about a year in Milwaukee, Wis. We moved back to Eagan and she finished her master’s there. She is now a practicing psychologist. We moved to Coon Rapids, purchased a house here and love it.
I currently run the downtown market for Enterprise Rent a Car. I am responsible for the downtown operation.
Pierce: Born in Minneapolis, moved to Coon Rapids in 1965. Work history: All phases of construction (brick layer 46 years). Built Cook Arena, Target on Coon Rapids Boulevard, Coon Rapids High School additions and other significant buildings. I have built three homes in the city.
2. What qualities would you bring to the office of city council member?
Klint: I believe that the most important quality I bring is experience. The council is changing and will continue to change in another few years. It is so important to have someone with experience – not just in public office, but the experience you can only gain by living here and being involved. While I represent only one ward, I know every inch of the city and I truly love and am dedicated to it.
Another important quality I possess is my ability to be speak on behalf of those who cannot. It is so important to be able to voice the concerns of my constituents and let them be heard. Having empathy for others is another quality I possess, not only in listening to others, but also to know what they are going through.
Newman: As an experienced businessman, leader and executive, I believe that the city can benefit from my ability to see through complex issues to identify the correct course of action (or inaction). I am experienced in cash flow management, capital investments, cost control, revenue generation and other skills that make me an effective manager. I have been responsible for the development of other leaders and have experience in delegation, holding others accountable, listening, taking decisive action and most importantly for a leader, patience.
Having been raised a Christian, I value deeply and understand the importance of education, faith and charity to our community. I believe that we need to strengthen our community. It is important to get to know our neighbors and trust them even more than we trust our government.
Pierce: The quality I would bring to the council would be a fresh perspective for our development. My tenure in Coon Rapids affords a wealth of expertise and knowledge with an emphasis in construction. Our city staff and council are in dire need of such a knowledge base. With this kind of input, we will not end up with new buildings on Coon Rapids Boulevard that are backwards and we will not end up with a new police storage building with a lack of doors. My personal feelings will be left out of decision making, and I will be a proud servant for the residents of Coon Rapids.
3. What are the main issues of your campaign?
Klint: I want citizens to know that I believe we have a great city. And a recent community survey showed that most residents also believe we do and they are very happy here. Monitoring the day-to-day services has been an important part of serving on the council, however, I have also been a part of some exciting new projects that will move our city forward and I want to see these to completion.
We have retained businesses and brought in some new ones, helping our tax base. We are moving forward with exciting developments on Coon Rapids Boulevard. Our taxes are relatively low compared with surrounding areas, paying for every day services including our updated infrastructure and our top-notch fire and police departments.
It is important to me to emphasize that this is a non-partisan, local race. This is government at its truest and most connected level. Present and past councils have worked extremely well together because we don’t let any “party politics” govern us now, nor will they in the future. I want residents to look at what our city needs now and ask what is the best way to get there. I believe being re-elected will enable myself and the council to continue listening to and reacting for the residents of this great city.
Newman: In a time when people are watching their wallets, protecting their livelihood and worrying for the future, we need visionary leaders. It is important for us to look ahead and make decisions that will benefit our residents, our businesses and our liberty. We need to take steps immediately to protect the legacy that is being left to us. Some are:
Spur business creation along Coon Rapids Boulevard and elsewhere by lowering taxes and allowing people to invest that money. Drive new business creation and growth through limiting and lowering the barriers of regulation and excessive bureaucracy.
Hire a new city manager skilled in cost control, leadership, delegation and flexibility. Utilize the council, the mayor and the city manager to ensure the sustainability of our city and the health of our budget by lowering risks presented by excessive bonding, excessive capital projects and ensuring ROI on expenditures.
Listen to our people and be willing to exercise patience and decisiveness when dealing with changes or new projects.
Pierce: Senior citizens are a significant issue. We need more focus for seniors’ schedules, activities and accommodations. Currently there is no focus on senior necessities by council.
While surrounding cities have cut back on taxes and spending, we in Coon Rapids, have gone full steam ahead spending and taxing.
Selection of city personnel has been a disappointment. With the recent requested resignation of our city manager, we should realize that the selection process was flawed. I will push for proper vetting of city personnel to avoid such costs to our city treasury and our city development.
Our council claims that our citizens are well informed. They shut down open mic from being televised on cable TV as part of the council meeting because, I believe, they don’t like being exposed. And when the staff response to the open mic question/comment comes back during the televised part of the next meeting, there is no debate. I will push for the return of open mic on TV. This forum keeps our council honest.
Top priority is determination for a senior citizens building in the form of a vote by the people for the people.