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City Council: Crowded field makes choosing a challenge

Rosemount residents have found themselves in a unique position this election season. They have 25 people to chose from for two open city council seats.

No one knows for sure if it's the biggest pool the city has ever had but definitely it's the largest in recent history. During the 2004 election there were four candidates for the same two seats.

Neither incumbent, Mike Baxter or Phillip Sterner, is running for re-election anymore. Baxter had thrown his name into the ring, but; after being appointed a judge in Le Sueur County he has withdrawn his candidacy. Baxter's name will still appear on the ballot because of his late withdrawal. Sterner is running for the State House of Representative 37B seat.

While it's a blessing for a community to have so many willing to serve, its a curse for voters trying to make an informed vote Nov. 4. So, how are residents approaching the task.

Don Sinnwell, a Rosemount resident and business owner, attended a candidate forum sponsored by the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Rosemount Town Pages.

With so many speaking, candidates only had two minutes each to introduce themselves. In addition only 14 showed up to the event so several didn't get the chance to speak.

To get more information Sinnwell has made it a point to talk with the candidates and ask them questions.

While he didn't share who he will support, Sinnwell said he will vote for well rounded candidates that have more than one item on their agenda. Additionally, Sinnwell said the candidates' views on city growth will affect his decision.

"What's their thought process on growth is important," said Sinnwell.

Port authority commissioner Mary Riley said it will take time and effort for individual residents to make an informed vote but she encouraged residents to make the effort.

"You have to ask the questions that are important to you and call (the candidates)," said Riley.

Riley, who works with the city council members as a member of the port authority, said she will vote for candidates who understand the job and the sacrifice it takes to do it.

"It's not just two meetings a month," said Riley, a former city council member. "I think the mind set that they are there to serve their community is important."

Additionally Riley said she will vote for some who will vote in the best interest of the whole community.

Not everyone has found the time or the resources to find out more about the candidates. Jim Voelker said he knows a few of the candidates through the fire department but other than that has not heard much. He said he wishes more of the candidates would attend public events such as the open house the fire department held Oct. 12.

"I think what it's going to come down to is who can get their friends out to vote for them," Voelker said.

Choosing two candidates to represent the city for the next four years is an overwhelming decision to make, Voelker said. He is not the only one that feels that way. Both Riley and Sinnwell shared similar sentiments.

Voters have a few weeks to make their decision. Eighteen of the 25 city council candidates completed a Rosemount Town Pages questionnaire regarding how they feel about various issues that are important to the community. Those responses are printed in this issue.

For those who missed the candidate forum, it can be seen on the Rosemount Town Pages web site at