Looking for Great Candidates for Local Government

I-want-you-small-for-webLike it or not, for good or bad, local government has a big impact on businesses in Greater Mankato and indeed, our overall community. Luckily, we have a strong tradition of well-run, financially-strong, clean local governments that have been a great asset, but this didn’t come by accident. It took dedicated women and men willing to step up and bring their expertise and sound judgment to bear in service to the public. Always remember that it only takes one election to make a mess of the progress we’ve collectively worked so hard to earn in our community. To be clear, this isn’t a statement about those currently in office, rather an argument that our democracy works best when we are engaged and involved in our government. That’s why it is critical that citizens are able to choose from a strong slate of candidates for local office at this November’s election.

So how can we make that happen? First and foremost, leaders in our business community ought to be considering if they could be a good candidate for office. The filing period for offices subject to the August 14 primary election starts Tuesday, May 22 and runs through 5 pm, June 5. Those offices include Mankato City Council, the Board of Commissioners in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties and state legislature. North Mankato City Council also has seats up for election with that filing period opening July 31 and closing August 14.

Local Offices with Elections in 2018 include:

  • Mankato:
    • Mayor (Incumbent Eric Anderson)
    • Three City Council seats
      • Ward 1 (Incumbent Karen Foreman – Announced she will seek reelection)
      • Ward 3 (Incumbent Mark Frost)
      • Ward 5 (Incumbent Trudy Kunkel – Announced she will NOT seek reelection)
  • Blue Earth County:
    • Two seats on the Board of Commissioners
      • District 1 (Incumbent Drew Campbell – Announced he will NOT seek reelection)
      • District 2 (Incumbent Vance Stuehrenberg – Announced he WILL seek reelection)
  • Nicollet County:
    • Two seats on the Board of Commissioners
      • District 2 (Incumbent Jim Stenson)
      • District 4 (Incumbent Jack Kolars)
  • North Mankato:
    • Mayor (Incumbent Mark Dehen)
    • Two City Council Seats
      • City Council At-Large (Incumbent Bob Freyberg)
      • City Council At-Large (Incumbent Diane Norland)
  • State Legislature
    • 19A (Incumbent Clark Johnson – Announced he will NOT seek reelection)
    • 19B (Incumbent Jack Considine)

Greater Mankato Growth encourages our community and business leaders to consider running for one of the above seats. You may be asking yourself, would I be a good candidate for office? Below are some characteristics of what makes a great candidate. We urge those who fit these characteristics to throw their hat in the ring.

Honest – The key characteristic for an elected official is their honesty in both their actions and being intellectually honest with their approach to issues.

Balanced – Since members of local government must be a representative of all of the people they serve, a good candidate is one that brings a balanced perspective to issues, not a narrow ideology. The most effective policymakers are those who make a habit of working in an honest way with those that have a differing opinion coupled with an openness to compromise in order to move good policy forward.

Committed – Doing the job right requires a significant dedication of time and energy. Constituent relations, attending meetings and reading voluminous material in preparation for meetings are all part of the job. Do work and family circumstances lend themselves to you doing a good job for the community?

Motivated – The primary motivation for running should be to serve the public’s interests. A candidate entering a race because of a personal grudge, to pursue a narrow agenda, or to seek power will not perform their duties with integrity and with a broader vision of what is in the interests of the overall community now and in the future. Further, a good candidate must be motivated enough to campaign vigorously for the position.

Experienced – Do you have experience in your work and civic life that lends itself to a role in local government? You will be most effective if you have a solid understanding of the position, the governance of local government and top issues. Experience working within complex organizations with diverse programs, services and constituencies; developing and overseeing budgets; and an understanding of and empathy for the difficulties and responsibilities of establishing and running a business, small or large, are also characteristics of great candidates.

Electable – Do you have the personal traits and the qualifications to be a viable candidate in the eyes of the voting public?  Are there issues or experiences in your past that will help or hurt with the electorate?

In eight short months, we will be electing 13 individuals to serve on four local government bodies and at the State Legislature who will be charged with representing the best interests of 100,000 individuals. It is very important to have people on these important local government bodies who will represent us well with competence and integrity. Please consider whether you or someone you know would make a great candidate.

If you are interested in running for any of these seats, Greater Mankato Growth stands ready to help you navigate the process of filing and running for office. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at 507-385-6657 or [email protected]. I also encourage you to visit the Blue Earth County and Nicollet County websites, who administer elections, to learn more about running for office.