Four candidates are on the ballot for the city of River Falls District 3 primary onTuesday, Feb. 16. Two candidates will advance to the April election.

Matthew Berning

Age: 31

Address: 321 Lewis St.

Occupation: Customer service specialist for Andersen Corporation

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Education: RFHS graduate 2007, attended UWRF

Civic Involvement: Current member of the River Falls Utility Advisory Board

Family: My immediate family parents, siblings and their spouses, all live in or near River Falls. I do not have a family of my own as I am currently single.

Why should voters advance you to the general election?

I promise to listen and lead on all issues with no single item agenda, and to respect the opinions of all residents as we strive to continue working together.

What is the main issue facing the city?

At this time, like many communities across the nation, we are navigating the unprecedented challenges of the socioeconomic landscape presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we cannot lose sight of local goals such as the successful completion of the Kinni corridor project, and the choice our city faces regarding bio-solid waste removal/treatment.

Reuben Herfindahl

Age: 46

Address: 102 N. Eighth St.

Occupation: owner Digital Brigade

Education: Attended UWRF starting in 1993. Loved the city so much I’ve been here ever since.

Civic Involvement: River Falls Chamber of Commerce

Family: Married to Caroline (Kallstrom) Herfindahl since 2002. Three kids in the River Falls School District, Grant, Halvard and Aaron

Why should voters advance you to the general election?

We need a voice that listens to constituents. The prime example, and main reason I am running, is the DeSanctis Park housing development. There was a movement against the housing development being built right next to the park that was for the most part ignored. It had long been planned to be a development, but it could have been changed. We do need affordable housing, but not at the expense of the green space that defines our city. On the same front the housing development by City Hall, which ate up the riverfront green space that had been for years used for the Bacon Bash and River Falls days also was pushed through without enough feedback.

I will listen. I will be willing to change my mind in the face of a well thought out rational discussion.

What is the main issue facing the city?

Aside from the previously mentioned issue I have two other major concerns. We have ignored sidewalk concerns for too long. I live near Greenwood Elementary and Meyer Middle School. There are vast stretches of road (including right in front of my house) that have no sidewalks on either side of the street. Our kids are walking to school in the road and in alleys. There is no excuse for not having a sidewalk on at least one side of every street in our community.

My second concern is affordable locally owned rental property for businesses and individuals. There are far too many properties which are owned by out of town (and out of state) businesses which have no connection to the community and are just interested in high rents. We need to support local landlords and local businesses to allow us to flourish as a community and not go down the road Hudson has started down with empty storefronts that can’t be filled due to extortion level rents.

Alyssa Mueller

Age: 43

Address: 316 N. Fourth St.

Occupation: Lead organizer Education Minnesota

Education: Bachelor of Arts, University of Iowa

Civic Involvement: Greenwood Elementary PTO volunteer and River Falls School District Equity, Inclusivity and Diversity committee community member

Family: My husband, Mike; Cate, grade 2; twins, Finn and Maddie, kindergarten

Why should voters advance you to the general election?

I am running for City Council because I believe that River Falls is a fantastic community that is brimming with opportunities for all its residents. I believe that any government should be a reflective body of the community it serves. I want to continue to see our schools excel, our downtown thrive and our natural resources cared for. I want to make sure that all voices are lifted up in our community -- especially voices that have not had a seat at the table.

What is the main issue facing the city?

I think the main issue facing our city is the effects of COVID-19. First and foremost, we need to make sure that we get the pandemic under control, so that we can begin to return to a new normal. The financial struggles of families, businesses and ultimately, our city, will have long-term impacts on all of us and we need to make sure that we're using the city's resources in ways that can help the most people and do the greatest good. It will be important for city leaders to listen to the community, provide real solutions and to have grace and empathy for the struggles we all currently face and for those to come in the future.

Eric Wanta

Age: 30

Address: 930 Falcon Drive

Occupation: Paramedic

Education: Associates of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Fox Valley Technical College, Paramedic Technical Diploma from Madison Area Technical College, (May 2021 anticipated) Bachelor of Arts in Independent Studies with an emphasis in clinical health care and management from Metropolitan State University

Civic Involvement: Working toward community improvements (to the dog park, outdoor ice skating in parks), Reviewing issues put before the council and sharing researched opinions with elected leaders, advocating for a different way to fund our emergency medical system

Family: I am the third home to my 4 year old dalmatian, Mossy, and I couldn't have gotten luckier! I grew up with three other siblings. Most of my family lives at least 5 hours away.

Why should voters advance you to the general election?

I like coming up with ideas on how to improve things, and I have already taken action to do so. Voting for me supports those initiatives. While not a huge accomplishment, I worked with the city to fill in many holes at the dog park to reduce the risk of tripping. I created a Facebook group (search for "River Falls WI Dog Park") to fundraise and plan future improvements to the park, too! I have plans to work on bigger issues as well. People have told me that they feel unsafe while biking in town. We don't have a single official bike lane, nor a comprehensive bicycle transportation plan. I want to work towards one. I also spend time learning about how others have made their communities better through education provided by, which I hope will make me more effective at facilitating change. I'm actually enrolled in a Strong Towns session on 2/4 about bike lanes!

What is the main issue facing the city?

I'm not sure that there is one main issue facing River Falls. I think everyone wants River Falls to grow in a smart and intentional way, such as attracting local jobs that provide livable wages and benefits, developing housing that is good for the environment and is financially sustainable over the long term, and finding ways to meet the commercial purchasing needs of the community. I want to work towards engaging residents in finding various ways that can improve our community to make it even more exceptional, whether that is through park improvements, or trying to bring people together to see if a co-op department store is a feasible way to meet multiple community needs.