Two outgoing councilmembers were recognized by their fellow Coon Rapids City Council members and city staff at a reception in the Coon Rapids City Center atrium Dec. 18 that preceded the final council meeting of the year.
Ward 2 Councilmember Melissa Larson did not seek re-election after one four-year term because of work and family obligations, while Councilmember Scott Schulte, who served at-large, ended his council career after three terms and 12 years to run for the Anoka County Board – successfully.
Mayor Tim Howe, who presided at the recognition event, said saying goodbye to councilmembers is always an emotional time, but it is an opportunity to thank them for all they have done for the city.
He presented both Larson and Schulte with plaques, which praised them for their “dedication, vision and leadership,” as well as gift certificates for a local restaurant donated by their fellow councilmembers.
According to Howe, Larson was surprised when she won election four years ago.
She had been challenged by her children to run after she had complained while watching council meetings on CTN, so she ran and won, Howe said.
“Melissa has played an important role on the council,” he said.
She did not say much at first, but as she grew into the role of councilmember, she spoke on issues “with emotion” and related them to the tough times that families were facing and how council actions would affect them, Howe said.
“Melissa was a voice of reason,” he said.
He hoped she would stay active in the community, Howe said.
In response, Larson said she hoped she had done OK as a councilmember and maybe down the road when her three children are older, she might consider another run for office.
Howe described Schulte as being very active on the council and making motions and with Schulte leaving the council, he said he dreamed that there would be silence when he called for a motion on an issue.
Schulte has been a very dedicated council member, always coming to the council meetings prepared and ready to articulate his opinions, and always willing to step in as mayor pro tem, sometimes on short notice, when he is unable to represent the city at an event, according to Howe.
“Scott is very involved in the community,” Howe said. “There are few people as involved as Scott.”
“He has done an incredible job representing the city.”
Howe hated to see Schulte leave the council, but Coon Rapids is fortunate that Schulte will be moving on to the county board to represent a portion of the city, he said.
“Coon Rapids means so much to him and he has represented us tremendously at the city level,” Howe said.
“I hope he will always be looking out for us.”
Schulte had nothing but praise for his fellow councilmembers, past and present, for city staff and for city commission members.
“It has been a pleasure to serve on the council with a great group of people who all have their hearts in the right place,” Schulte said.
“I hope I have left the city a better place than I found it and I will continue to serve on the Anoka County Board to the best of my ability.”
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org