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Rosemount City Council candidate profiles

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Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Five candidates have filed to fill two available seats on the Rosemount City Council. Only four can advance to November’s general election. Rosemount voters will narrow the field in an Aug. 12 primary, so to help residents have a better idea who is looking for their support, we asked the candidates a few questions.  Candidates are listed here in alphabetical order.

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Jamal Abdulahi

Family: Wife and four daughters

Occupation: Engineering leader

Involvement: South Urban Gateway Analysis for Reinvestment committee

Why do you want to lead?

Rosemount is great community to raise a family and I want help with the effort to continuously make it great into the future.

The pay isn’t good, so why run for city council?

I want to run for city council to provide leadership in three areas that I believe require our collective attention:

• Economic growth

• Amenities

• UMore Park

What makes you qualified to make decisions for Rosemount residents?

I have broad experience that includes engineering complex projects and managing large commercial business projects. I like to bring these experiences and make positive contribution.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current city council is doing best possible job. I will bring different experience and fresh perspective currently absent from city hall.

The council meets during the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Additionally a lot of reading is required to prepare for meetings. Are you ready for the time commitment serving on the council requires?

Yes

Being on the city council requires sometimes making difficult decisions, how do you think you will handle that?

I will handle difficult decisions very well. I have track record of considering all options prior to making critical decision. I make decisions based on data and data driven decisions lead to positive outcome.

Mark DeBettignies

Family: Wife, two children, eight grandchildren

Years in Rosemount: 30

Occupation: Senior business manager, Acosta Sales and Marketing

Involvement: Planning commission, library site committee, Cedar Avenue Corridor Study, County Road 42 advisor, CR 42/Hwy. 52 land use zoning study chair; Dakota County Chamber of Commerce

Why do you want to lead?

I have served three terms on the Rosemount City Council, and I want to continue to focus on my service to the community. Rosemount has many challenges before it, and my knowledge and experience with these growth items would enable the process to continue seamlessly. I led a committee on the reconstruction of the 42/52 interchange several years ago, and I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening with this project, as well as many other projects including the development of the UMORE properties. I was also involved with the planning in bringing the library to Rosemount and with my knowledge and experience, feel it is important to continue to be part of the development of the former St. Joseph’s Church and school, now known as the Steeple Center, to include an assisted living/memory care facility. I am passionate about the continued opportunities for the future of Rosemount and believe there are more things that I can do and offer as a leader in the community.

The pay isn’t good, so why run for city council?

I have lived in Rosemount 30 years and have raised my family here. I have a love for this community and a passion to serve so the pay is not a consideration.

What makes you qualified to make decisions for Rosemount residents?

There is a certain complexity to city government and the process it takes to come to the best results for the community. I have survived the test of time with three terms to my credit. I am a leader in the business world with my current employer and I bring the knowledge needed to make the sometimes hard decisions or choices in city government.

What are your thoughts on the current council? The current council is comprised of five individuals who, when brought together, bring a well-diversified portfolio to the council. We respect each other even when we disagree. The council over the past decade has taken the approach to work smarter and the results certainly show they are heading in the right direction. For example, over the past several years the property tax rate average per household has been decreased, placing Rosemount in the average in Dakota County. In 2008, the economy took a turn, yet through good planning and foresight the city budget held tight to continue to provide the services that the people of Rosemount expect. The coming soon site (CR 42/Hwy 3) developed. The Genz-Ryan property downtown will break ground for senior housing this spring. We delivered on a water feature for the children. It is my honor to serve with each.

The council meets during the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Additionally, a lot of reading is required to prepare for meetings. Are you ready for the time commitment serving on the council requires?

I am as committed today as I have been for the past three terms on city council and my five plus years on the Rosemount Planning Commission.

Being on the city council requires sometimes making difficult decisions, how do you think you will handle that?

What I have learned over the past years as a council member and as a leader in many organizations over the past is that you must put all personal feelings aside to make the best decisions for the best results. Much of the hard work is done at city council work sessions prior to being brought forward for vote at the city council meetings. A great amount of personal time is needed to research and study issues prior to meetings. These need to be fact-based findings without speculation.

Kerry Hibben  Family: Wife and two sons

Years in Rosemount: 18

Occupation: Firefighter at Flint Hills Refinery

Involvement: Volunteer firefighter

Why do you want to lead?

Serving on the fire department has provided me with many opportunities to interact with Rosemount residents. As a council member, I will have the opportunity to give voice to the individuals I come in contact with on a daily basis. Now that my wife and I are empty nesters, we believe now is the right time for me to step up and be that voice.

The pay isn’t good, so why run for city council?

I didn’t join the fire department with the idea of getting paid. With that being said, I’m not running for city council with the idea of getting paid either. It’s all about serving our community and making our community a place we can all be proud of.

What makes you qualified to make decisions for Rosemount residents?

I feel I have a great understanding of the wants and needs of our community.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

They’re moving in a positive direction for the city as a whole and with one seat being vacated I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and continue moving the city forward.

The council meets during the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Additionally, a lot of reading is required to prepare for meetings. Are you ready for the time commitment serving on the council requires?

As it is now, I rarely finish a meal with my wife and have often had to leave her at a store and/or restaurant in order to respond to an emergency call. I, more than anybody, understand the time commitment aspect of the job and am more than willing to take it on.

Being on the city council requires sometimes making difficult decisions, how do you think you will handle that?

I’m faced with making difficult decisions in both my career and volunteer as a firefighter every day.

Shaun Nelson

Family: Wife and three sons

Occupation: Full time in sales, part time as a Realtor at Keller Williams

Involvement: Bloomfield Homeowners Association president; Rosemount Area Hockey Association board

Why do you want to lead?

I see other cities that have had tremendous population growth like Rosemount that have developed into strong vibrant communities; I want to help Rosemount continue to do that. Our youth is most important, we need to develop a community that provides, attracts, and welcomes families as well as seeking out new businesses to our town.

The pay isn’t good, so why run for city council?

Rather than complain I feel you should get involved to be part of the solution.

What makes you qualified to make decisions for Rosemount residents?

My past involvement with other associations in working with people to make good decisions.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

I have not evaluated the current city council. My decision in part to run for city council stems from concern over why the city of Rosemount would take out a lacrosse field to put in a pickleball court. Lacrosse is one of the top growing youth sports in Minnesota. Why would we take away an amenity from our kids when we already have enough tennis courts to play pickleball. I also question why the city took out the two most popular outdoor hockey rinks? These two rinks were used far more than any outdoor rinks because of the warming house, I thought Minnesota was the State of Hockey. Don’t we have enough land to build this elsewhere and possibly have reduced the $900,000 cost?

The council meets during the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Additionally a lot of reading is required to prepare for meetings. Are you ready for the time commitment serving on the council requires?

Serving your community is always a big time commitment.

Being on the city council requires sometimes making difficult decisions, how do you think you will handle that?

Collectively with my peers, counterparts, and community.

Alba Nowlin 

Family: Husband and two daughters

Years in Rosemount: 5

Occupation: Part-time clerk at Shannon Park Elementary

Involvement: RAAA in-house soccer co-program director; SPES silent auction chairperson; Rosemount Fire Department party planner; Spanish translator and interpreter, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Why do you want to lead?

I believe the city council position is a great avenue to bring new ideas, make a difference in the community one day at a time and get things done no matter how long it takes. Building our local economy, keeping property taxes low and enhancing family quality of life are issues I will bring to the table. It’s with passion and dedication I will lead our city.

What makes you qualified to make decisions for Rosemount residents?

I care about what happens to our city. I speak English and Spanish, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in communication studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and have an associate of science degree in computer information systems from El Camino College, Torrance, Calif. In the past, I have volunteered as RAAA in-house soccer co-program director, Shannon Park Elementary School Site Council Secretary and Shannon Park Elementary Silent Auction Chairperson, which all require organization, dedication and determination to get things done. Most of all, I qualify because I care and I’m willing to listen to the residents of Rosemount.

What are your thoughts on the current council?

The current council brings stability to the city, but new blood is needed to bring new ideas and add different point of views on issues facing our city.

The council meets during the evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Additionally, a lot of reading is required to prepare for meetings. Are you ready for the time commitment serving on the council requires?

As the next city council member, I will serve with honor and dedication, because this where I live. It will take time to adjust to the new schedules, but everything is possible when you care enough and want to make a difference in the community.

Being on the city council requires sometimes making difficult decisions. How do you think you will handle that?

Being on the city council, I will ask questions, listen to both sides, research and bring action. Some residents will be happy and others not so much, but it’s part of any decision making process. What does matter is that I care for our city and my decisions will reflect it.

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