Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a series detailing the three Red Wing mayoral candidates. Read about the other candidates here.
At a glance...
Address: 4623 Highway 61 N., Red Wing
Education: Red Wing Central High School class of 1970
Family: I married my high school sweetheart, Jeannette, in 1974. We chose to stay in this community and raise our daughter who is now married and lives and works in the area. We have one granddaughter who attends Red Wing High School.
Occupation: Former owner of Wilson Oil Co.; currently retained as a consultant.
Civic Involvement: former president of Red Wing Port Authority; former president of the Red Wing Planning Commission; charter member and former president of the Red Wing Rotary Club; former board member‐Minnesota Petroleum Association; former trustee and member of the Elks Club BPOE No. 845; Upper Mississippi Waterway Association executive committee; Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance; Red Wing Yacht Club ; Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce ; Red Wing YMCA member for 50-plus years; IMCA Stock Car Association ; Red Wing Marine Museum founder, president and curator.
What compelled you to run for mayor?
Now is the time for me to re‐engage as a public servant. Having built a solid small business in this community, I bring insight and experience to serve the community in a fiscally responsible manner. Guiding Red Wing through these uncertain times into a bright and stable future is my goal as your mayor!
What local issues are you passionate about?
We have three key issues to address as city and county leaders with input from citizens and local boards and organizations:
Housing -- in this community we should be able to balance the need for all types of housing. This will include transparent partnerships with private and public investment taxes.
The city’s tax base, including Xcel Energy’s nuclear plant impact, needs to be addressed so that individual and business tax contributions are balanced and fair economic and riverfront development.
We need continued focus on the assets of this community, the largest of which is the riverfront leading to the downtown core. We need to continue to build Red Wing as a viable riverboat stop and show what a premier community and destination we are
What, if anything, would you change about the city of Red Wing?
Change is happening all around us in beautiful Red Wing; change is good! Over the next 10 years I would like to see Red Wing reach its full potential.
That means strong, creative partnerships between the private and public sectors.
That means a city government that runs efficiently while being fiscally responsible, providing all citizens with the services they need.
My role as mayor will be to lead the conversation and dialogue to make change. That means all of us working together with commitment and cooperation to reach our goal of making Red Wing a premier city for citizens and visitors alike.
What have you done to prepare to be mayor? What do you think makes you qualified for the role?
I made the decision with my family that now is the right time to pursue a leadership position once again in Red Wing. When I was a senior in high school my civics teacher taught me a great deal about community and civic duty. That teacher was Ed Powderly.
He went on to become the mayor of Red Wing. As mayor, he encouraged and inspired me to join the Planning Commission. Mayor Powderly’s inspiration carried me through 12 years of service to the community on the Planning Commission and Port Authority. T
he steady growth in our business was built on partnerships with vendors and suppliers and relationships with our customers. Owning a small business takes dedication and determination. We had a vision for the business, and we created opportunities while making sound financial investments and decisions for forty years.
How do you plan to involve residents in your decision-making process?
Communication is essential to improved city government. As your mayor, my door will always be open. I will listen to opinions, suggestions, problems and potential solutions. I favor and look forward to respectful engagement, dialogue and discussion; we all need to work together, especially in these uncertain times.
How would you work to help the city recover after the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: This pandemic has seriously affected every sector of our community. Every family, our local businesses, our nonprofits, our schools, our churches and our city government have all been impacted.
We need to aggressively pursue solutions such as seeking funding options and opportunities at the state and federal levels.
We need to come together as the citizens of Red Wing and continue to assist each other financially and emotionally. I want to work with citizens as they lead by example through volunteer opportunities, coming together to leverage all of our resources wherever and whenever possible and continue to support our local economy.
This is essential to keep Red Wing alive and viable for each and every one of us.