My name is (blank) and I'm running for city council
It's not easy to hold a candidate forum when there are 25 people vying for two seats. But the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce gave it a try Tuesday night.
Of the 25 candidates still in the race 14 showed up to the forum. Each person had two minutes to tell his or her story, which most of the candidates thought was difficult. Several said beforehand they wished they had more time.
The city council has two seats up for election. The council race started with 29 candidates. Three dropped out before the deadline for having their names pulled off the ballot. Mike Baxter, the only incumbent, took his hat out of the ring after he was appointed a judge in Le Sueur County by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The other seat is held by Phillip Sterner who is running for the open 37B State House of Representatives seat.
Despite the short time limit everyone was respectful. Every candidate talked about how much he or she loves Rosemount. Where they differed was on why they are running.
Kevin Grass said his main objective is to quiet the trains that roll through the city regularly.
Barry Lindahl said he wants to be the link between the city council and the residents that he believes has been lost. And Kurt Bills said he is looking to do his duty as a resident.
As was expected a number of residents brought up downtown development and eminent domain. Ben Burdick said if elected to council he will honor residents' right to personal property. Conni Jensen said she does not agree with several of the decisions the current council has made and that she will not only listen to the residents but also hear what they say.
While the short speeches limited the candidates, chamber president Ruthe Batulis said she thought the forum was helpful for those who watched it.
"I felt the messages were very positive and that Rosemount has a great group of candidates," said Batulis.
For the first time residents didn't have to be present at the forum to watch it. The forum was televised live on Charter Communications channel 22. In addition the Rosemount Town Pages streamed the forum live on the Internet.