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Get to know your city council candidates
Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Meet your city council candidates. This year's primary will be held Aug. 14. At that time voters will narrow the field to four candidates. In November, voters will chose two of the candidates to serve on the city council for the next four years.

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Vanessa Demuth

What is your background?

I have been a lifelong Rosemount area resident and a Rosemount High School graduate. Brian and I have been married for 15 years and we have two daughters; Shale, will be in ninth grade at Rosemount High School and Monique, will be in 7th grade at Rosemount Middle School this fall.

I am a professional geologist with 20 years' experience and I work in the water resources department at Dakota County. In addition, I am a State of Minnesota registered environmental health sanitarian and a State of Minnesota certified water well inspector.

Over three years ago I was appointed by the city council to the planning commission and the board of appeals and adjustment. Recently, I was reappointed to both.

Why do you want to lead?

There are many development issues coming before the city council in the near future. For example, the University of Minnesota owns a 5,000 acre property, 3,000 of which are in Rosemount, that they are marketing under the name of UMore Park. The proposed development is for residential housing for 30,000 people, business park, light industry, a large-scale gravel mine and open space. I have a skill set that is different from the current city council. My background in geology and experience in the environmental consulting field will help the city council make informed decisions about the contamination issues associated with this property. In addition, I can educate the council on the potential impacts mining could have on our drinking water. As a city council member I will continue to work to grow our community in a responsible manner for the benefit of Rosemount residents.

Why run for council?

I am not choosing to be a public servant for monetary reasons. As a lifelong Rosemount area resident, I care deeply about this community. I am passionate about making good decisions to ensure a successful future for the city of Rosemount. My experience spent on the planning commission has prepared me to better serve the citizens of Rosemount as a city council member. All of the elected members of the current city council were on the planning commission prior to running for city council.

What makes you qualified?

I earned a business administration entrepreneurship degree from the University of St. Thomas, in addition to a degree in geology. I have helped small business start-ups in: retail, financial advising, and manufacturing efficiencies. My business experience will help me to work with the business community in Rosemount because I understand the challenges businesses face. My background career in geology has mainly focused on groundwater issues. The city of Rosemount's drinking water is groundwater obtained from water wells. There will be challenges in the near future for the city to provide and protect our supply of clean drinking water.

I have worked in the public sector for over 18 years and I am serving my second term on the planning commission and the board of appeals and adjustment. I have held offices with several professional organizations. Some of the experiences I have gained are: writing and reviewing ordinances, working with people to achieve a common goal, using research and science to make decisions, all of which will assist me making better decisions for the residents of Rosemount.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current council is lacking a member with my science background. I bring an expertise to the council that will benefit future growth and development in the city, while protecting our most precious resource which is drinking water.

Are you ready for the commitment required?

While serving on the planning commission and the board of adjustment and appeals for over three years, I have read significant amounts of material provided by the city staff and have always been prepared for the meetings. My time management skills will allow me to continue to read and prepare for the city council meetings.

How will you make tough decisions?

There will be difficult decisions to make as a member of the city council. While serving as a planning commissioner I reviewed: site plans, conditional use permits, planned unit developments, rezoning, subdivisions of land, variance requests, mineral extraction permits, as well as amendments to city ordinances. I had the opportunity to make many improvements to the large-scale gravel mining ordinance that was recently adopted. I will be able to make difficult decisions by keeping the best interest of the residents of the city foremost in every decision made.

Maila Ellefson

What is your background?

Husband: Jon Ellefson, 4 children, 8 grandchildren. I am a head preschool teacher. Member of the Rosemount Area Arts Council, seven week course in the Rosemount Citizens Police Academy. Ten hours advocate training for Family Innocence Project, which promotes working out differences in divorce thru mediation & advocacy.

Why do you want to lead?

I want to lead because I have good communication skills and I'm a good listener. I'm 67, I attended the U of M for two years and Inver Hills community college.

Why run for council?

I want to run for city council because I want to be part of decision making in Rosemount.

What makes you qualified?

I have lived in Rosemount for eight years and I feel a part of the community.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current council is doing a good job.

e you ready for the commitment required?

I am ready for the time commitment for being on the council because I work part time and can devote more time to city.

How will you make tough decisions?

I would work with other council members in my decision making. I am a team player.

Joe Kurle

What is your background?

I've been married to my wonderful wife, Marie, for 10 years now. We have three young daughters; Abby, Natalie, and Jenica. We've lived in Rosemount for 8 years.

I run my own drafting business here in Rosemount, Joe's Drafting and Design.I draw residential floor plans for additions, remodels and new homes construction. I work on a daily basis with homeowners, builders, developers and cities.I've been in the home building industry for 12 years.

I've attended numerous council meetings and met with many people in the community.

I ran for city council two years ago and enjoyed going door to door meeting the people in town and listening to their needs.

Why do you want to lead?

I don't like the word "lead." A better word is to "serve."

I want to serve because I like being part of this city and I want to help to continue to make it a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Why run for council?

Because I care about this community. I want to make sure the city makes good decisions. These next several years are critical as the city prepares for the UMore development, a new senior center and housing complex, maintaining low taxes and keeping the city budget balanced.

What makes you qualified?

Because I like to listen to all sides before making a final decision. I enjoy challenges and finding ways to solve those problems.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

City taxes have been slowly reduced the last several years. Rosemount is now one of the lowest taxed cities in Dakota County and still maintains a wonderful charm. That's something to be proud of.

We need to continue that, while also making Rosemount a desireable place to live, run a business and raise a family.

That means maintaining our parks, keeping taxes low, having a business friendly community and keeping our streets safe for our kids.

Are you ready for the commitment required?

I've been to several of the meetings and I know of the time commitment that the council puts in. I already spend a lot of time reading political news and I've enjoyed attending the council meetings.

So, yes, I am ready for the extra time commitment the job requires.

How will you make tough decisions?

Before any decision, difficult or not, I plan to review it thoroughly. I will seek out advice and opinions from others and look at it from all sides before making my decision.

I also feel strongly about studying what the long term and short term effects on the community are before a final decision. That is how I will handle a difficult decision.

Wade Miller

What is your background?

I have been a resident of Rosemount since 2008. I am in my 14th year of marriage to a wonderful woman who grew up in Apple Valley. We have two young boys, Caden and Wyatt, who keep us active at home so I appreciate the needs and concerns of families in Rosemount.

My work includes environmental management consulting with an environmental engineering firm, Wenck Associates, and I have been a volunteer with the Rosemount Family Resource Center for the past few years. Currently, I am serving on the Rosemount Planning Commission.

Why do you want to lead?

One of the things that I like to help with the most is in encouraging and supporting others to become leaders and mentors. This is one of the reasons that I believe that I would be a good member on the city council. I believe that people with good ideas should be heard and that it is important for the city to support the interests of Rosemount's residents. I am able to listen to a variety of diverse perspectives, and also step back and see the big picture. It has been natural for me to help keep the groups that I participate with moving forward with this combination of supporting, listening and applying good judgment to keep good ideas moving forward.

Why run for council?

I have never considered pay as a reason to run for city council. I would be fine if the council received no pay at all. The work in helping Rosemount's residents achieve a healthy vibrant community is, for me, rewarding enough. Through my work on the planning commission I have consistently supported the interests of Rosemount's citizens in achieving their dreams and have found this to be meaningful reward.

What makes you qualified?

I moved to Rosemount with my family because of its attraction as a great place to live and raise my family. I have lived in a number of other cities, but call Rosemount my home. I appreciate what makes Rosemount a great place to live and I particularly appreciate the diversity within our community. A trait that I bring to the table is that I listen to my neighbors. I may not always agree with what people say, but I will listen and I am willing to incorporate the needs of others into decisions. I am always on the lookout for win-win solutions and know that others will often bring great ideas to the discussion. Rosemount will continue to grow and diversify so our city will need to provide the services and infrastructure needed for this growing community. There is more to community development than modeling: there are people and I appreciate this.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current city council has been good over the past couple years. But I think the council could do more. One of the chief concerns from our local businesses is that there isn't a clear plan for economic development. Rosemount is poised to become a world-class community. The development of UMore Park offers a catalyst to bring in clean tech businesses, sustainable infrastructure, and a smarter way to plan our communities. While there is an ongoing need to clean up UMore, there is also a need to plan for what our city will be like in 10 and 20 years from now. Having a clear path of what development should be and not simply changing the zoning every time a developer wants to increase a profit margin would be a good strategy. Gravel pits aren't the only option for Rosemount; we have thriving communities all around us and there is an opportunity to have smart planning that both complements our community as well as drives sustainable development.

Are you ready for the commitment required?

I have been very diligent on meeting my obligations on the planning commission, even delaying an anniversary dinner my wife planned at Rudy's to get the work done. I am fine with the commitment, and more importantly, I have a loving and supportive family in helping me meet my obligations to Rosemount's residents.

How will you make tough decisions?

I know that sometimes the right decision is the difficult decision. I do try to find solutions that meet every stakeholder's need as best as possible, but sometimes find that this isn't always doable or desirable. For those cases, after listening to all perspectives, I consider what the big picture is and what is the longer term need, and then align my decision in favor of what will be best for Rosemount. I have never regretted doing the right thing when it came to making a tough decision and I try to make that decision as transparent as possible so that those affected understand why a particular decision was made. One promise that I can make is that my decisions will always align morally and ethically with the highest expectations of Rosemount's residents.

Jeff Weisensel

What is your background?

Beginning our eighteenth in Rosemount, my wife Kathy and I are celebrating thirty years of marriage and our family of three adult children, Ashley Sturm, Kelsey and Lindsey, who all attended Rosemount schools. Community involvement includes youth organization work with Scouting and 4-H as well as coaching RAAA basketball and being a band parent for the high school marching band. I serve Dakota County 4-H Federation as their finance director for the past 10 years and served as a project leader for 29 years.

Currently, I serve on city council, elected in 2008 and port authority chair for the past three years as well as the council liaison to the Rosemount Youth Commission for two years and board director for the Dakota Communications Center the past three years. This year I received an appointment to the National League of Cities Community and Economic Development policy committee. I am a NLC Leadership Training Institute Fellow. In past years, I have served on the Rosemount Planning Commission for seven years, chairing three years, the Rosemount Wetlands Ordinance Task Force and the Dakota County Extension Committee for six years, chairing three years.

I work for Target Corporation in Property Development as a senior construction project manager, developing and building new retail sites and remodeling existing stores in major markets throughout the US. I have 30-plus years of contractor and development experiences on projects ranging from $100k to $91MM totaling over 10MM square feet. I have a BS in civil engineering and a MS in project management from University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I belong to the American Society of Civil Engineers as well as the Project Management Institute. I am an accredited professional for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED BD+C, AP).

Other community related items of note include being a member of Shepherd of Valley Lutheran Church, an event lead for Red Cross Safety Mobile as well as a 10+ gallon blood donor, Hearts and Hammer House captain and Eagle Scout.

Why do you want to lead?

Responsible citizenship includes taking a greater role in our community than just living here. My background in youth organizations, my training as a civil engineer and project management and my day-to-day job in the private sector in construction and retail development uniquely position me to provide practical and positive leadership and a progressive growth vision for our community. The past four years, this leadership and vision helped to provide essential services while reducing residential tax burden despite falling revenues. Growing our city in a sustainable way to maintain our infrastructure, provide necessary public safety services and create amenities to foster our community neighborhoods and gathering spaces is the focus and attention I expect and want to see in any of our community leaders. It is why I want to accept the challenge and opportunity to lead our community.

Why run for council?

Many times, city council feels like a full time job with meetings, interviews, work sessions and the large amount of reading materials for the variety of issues coming before council. For me, being a community builder and serving the citizens is the focus of what I do. Yes, receiving some benefits for serving is welcome and appreciated. However, the bulk of our personnel salary goes, as it should, to the city staff that performs the daily business of the city.

What makes you qualified?

From the past election, I was one of two selected by our citizens from a slate of 26 to represent and make decisions for our residents. They placed their trust in my background and experiences. Today after four years of service implementing budgets that reduce their taxes, support infrastructure maintenance and public safety while working to increase business growth, promote partnerships for community amenities and city operations efficiency, I believe many citizens will continue their trust and re-elect me to continue to make decisions on their behalf.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current council brings diverse experiences from the community and a focused intensity working on common goals to build our community together. Many elected officials from surrounding communities note they wish they worked with a council like ours. We are fortunate not to have the disruptions and hidden agendas that appear to disrupt nearby cities. It makes great theater, but results, not controversy is what our residents appear to expect and want from our council. Those results include but not limited to a 19 percent residential property tax reduction over the past four years. Having new, expanding and relocating businesses choose Rosemount despite the current economic environment. We improved our public safety by reduced crime rates, improved emergency response times and purchasing a new fire truck and equipment. We increased the youth voice in the city through the youth commission. Provided direct bus commuter service to Minneapolis. We utilized partnerships to increase athletic facilities, improved city council and administration operations efficiency and increased communication with citizens and businesses.

Are you ready for the commitment required?

I do, having experienced the time commitment needed in serving our residents and city the past four years.

Joseph Zanmiller

What is your background?

Age 53 Lifelong Rosemount resident

Education Rosemount Sr High     University of Minnesota

Married to Shannon 17 years

Children: Ashley 26 RHS grad paramedic, Stephanie 16 RHS Jr, Jimmy RHS freshman, Hannah 6th grade Rosemount Middle

Member Minnesota Valley Transit Authority board

RAAA soccer coach

32 years experience working in information technology industry

12 years in staff supervision and project management

Currently employed with the University of Minnesota 22 years

Why do you want to lead?

As an experienced manager, supervisor and project manager I want to guide the city as it continues its status as a preferred destination for residents and business.

As a member of the council, the guidance I will provide will: ensure residents and businesses affordable city taxation practices that reflect their priorities and meets their needs; and work with council and the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority to identify unmet public transportation needs that can be provided to the community and to ensure efficiency and fairness.

Rosemount's location to the larger metro area is ideal to support business need for facilities outside of a 20 mile radius from their core operations. Working with fellow council members, staff will be directed to explore expanding our business base to meet these business needs.

Telecommuting professionals make up a large part of Rosemount's workforce. This coupled with existing businesses, residential and startup companies need for fiber connectivity warrants investigation by the city into the feasibility of expanding fiber communication service throughout the community.

With the growth Rosemount has experienced and anticipated growth, we need to amend the governance to provide a ward system that will provide full representation of all residents, businesses, and differing viewpoints.

Rosemount lost out in the recent redistricting. As a council member I will work to engage the citizens to keep our voices and our boundaries of representation as whole as possible.

Why run for council?

As a parent, volunteer soccer coach, and member of the MVTA I have been rewarded considerably without monetary incentive. As a lifelong resident I want to nurture our city to make it a driving force in the greater metro area and the state.

What makes you qualified?

My experience with the MVTA and my 12 years-experience managing staff, projects, and associated budgets have provided me the opportunity to set priorities and give direction.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current council has provided excellent leadership during the recent economic downturn. They have been good stewards of resources, maintained services and managed without inflicting additional tax burden during these challenging times.

Are you ready for the commitment required?

With a strong commitment to the success of Rosemount, a reading habit that meets a council person's responsibility, a large appetite for information, and a desire to serve, I am ready and looking forward to the responsibilities of the position of city council.

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