Ward 1 and 2 Q+A, LivingstoneName: Craig Livingstone
Name: Craig Livingstone
Residence: 1852 Woodland Drive
Family: Married to Dianne with three married daughters; Shannon, Michelle and Miranda. Two grandchildren, Alexis and Landon.
Public Involvement: Friends of the Sheldon Board, church council of United Lutheran Church and a past member of Toastmasters.
Education: BA in history at University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. Diploma in visual communications at Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Alberta. Certificate in marketing at Concordia University, St. Paul.
Work: Aales representative with Q Media of Red Wing, which owns the local KCUE and KWNG radio stations
Do you have a "pet" issue or biggest concern that is driving you to run for City Council?
The city of Red Wing should be not own or operate any commercial enterprise, what so ever, especially one in which they also regulate their privately owned competitors (i.e. golf coarse and marina).
To reduce the burden to taxpayers and the long-term financial obligations, the city needs to divest itself of these and other entities which are clearly not essential services within the scope of the City Charter. Current "city owned" enterprises ought to be converted from a taxpayer cost to a privately owned, tax paying business.
Economic development has been a hot topic in Red Wing of late. Is there a specific idea or proposal you have that could better the city's economic development outlook?
Red Wing is blessed with bountiful natural beauty and an involved citizen body. The main function of city government is to maintain and improve the essential services that make Red Wing an attractive place to live and work.
For long-term growth, we need to make Red Wing an appealing place to locate for new business and individuals. Needless to say, it is critical that Red Wing welcome private investment and encourage expansion of current businesses. We need to demonstrate that we are committed to their long-term business success and profitability through attractive taxation levels and authentic business friendly oversight.
The city faces a budget crunch that is expected to continue for a number of years. Give us an overview of how you'd like to see Red Wing go forward given the city's purse is pinched.
Just like tax-paying wage earners in the private sector, the city has to prioritize essential services and make significant spending cuts to drive down the cost of government.
The ability of the taxpayers to fund the escalating cost of city government is at a breaking point. Rising city taxes and fees are threats to local home ownership particularly retirees and others living on fixed or reduced incomes.
The salaries and benefits of city public servants must be aligned more equitably with those earned by the taxpayers.
What are some personal qualities that make you an effective leader?
As an editorial cartoonist, I tried to speak for the common person. I'm not afraid to call out big corporations, big labor or even big government. We're reaching a tipping point in our community and nation where the public servants in unaccountable powerful government bureaucracies are becoming the masters.
Through ever increasing taxation and regulation of our lives at all levels of government, the people are irrevocably loosing more and more of our personal freedoms and liberties.
I'm not a career politician. I simply desire to leave my community in a stronger and more prosperous position for future generations.
What's a decision the council has made in past year that you disagree with? Why? What would you have done differently?
Not withstanding the imperative to cut spending while providing essential services for a growing community, we need to expand the tax base of a growing community.
The Port Authority should function as a business-prospecting agency for Red Wing to attract future business and residents to Red Wing. Their function is to externally market the outstanding business opportunities for private investors to locate to Red Wing for their long-term profitable success.
The port needs more autonomy to seek out, identify and foster investment of private capital for the development of properties entrusted to them.