Like 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 judgement 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 9 primary election starts Tuesday, May 17 and runs through 5 p.m. May 31. Those offices include Mankato City Council and the Board of Commissioners in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties. North Mankato City Council also has seats up for election with that filing deadline on August 2.
- Mankato: Three City Council seats will be up for election in 2016 including the At-Large (incumbent Christopher Frederick), Ward 2 (incumbent Tamra Rovney), and Ward 4 (incumbent Jason Mattick) seats.
- Blue Earth County: Three seats up including District 3 (incumbent Mark Piepho), District 4 (incumbent Will Purvis), and District 5 (incumbent Kip Bruender).
- Nicollet County: Two seats up including District 3 (incumbent Dave Haack) and District 4 (incumbent Jack Kolars).
- North Mankato: Two seats on the City Council (incumbents Billy Steiner and Kim Spears) and Mayor (incumbent Mark Dehen).
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. 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 six short months, we will be electing 11 individuals to serve on four local government bodies charged with representing the best interests of nearly 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.