Ward 4 candidate questionnaire: RehderRehder: Let's communicate
Rehder: Let's communicate
Name: Peggy Rehder
Residence: 445 Eighth St.
Family: Single with a brother and sister-in-law and a sister and brother-in-law residing in Red Wing.
Public involvement: Housing and Redevelopment Board for six years, the last as chairman; chair of the Goodhue County Solid Waste Advisory Committee; Mayor's Committee on the Comprehensive Plan as HRA representative; church council.
Education: Graduate of Red Wing Central High School, attended Macalester College, St. Paul.
Work: Deputy director Congressional Affairs United States Patent and Trademark Office, director Congressional Affairs United States Patent and Trademark Office, government relations consultant for Opperman Heins and Paquin in Washington, D.C., representing county governments in Minnesota and publishing clients; government affairs representative for Hennepin County specializing in health care.
Given the loss of state aid and other factors straining budgets at City Hall, what are some specific services, programs or types of capital purchases that you would advocate cutting?
This question presents a conclusion that I am not ready to accept. I believe that the city's reserves, which are in place for "a rainy day," should be looked at as a short-term way to address some of the city's shortfall. That is why you have a reserve fund. Then I believe more ways to increase revenues and improve efficiencies should be looked at before any additional cuts take place. A real need must be demonstrated before any additional capital improvements are made.
Along the same lines, are there new ways to raise revenue that you would advocate?
There certainly are possible ways to raise revenue such as an increase in property taxes and fees. However, these are not palatable to the taxpayers of Red Wing in the current economy. The best way is to increase the tax base is through economic development and new residents. That however is not a short-term answer. For the immediate future, I would advocate "considering" a small sales tax, which would bring in money from anyone shopping in the community and charging parking fees in the downtown ramps.
What are some specific ways you would invite and encourage citizen involvement as a council member?
Citizen involvement only comes when the city is communicating with its residents about city issues. Without the monthly Current and a newspaper only being published twice a week, residents are not getting the information they need.
Also, residents must feel pride and ownership in their community. Sadly, that appears to be lacking. I would look for more potential public/private partnerships.
For instance, establishing a foundation to help maintain and care for our cemeteries. I would hold regular listening hours in our neighborhoods.
How as a council member would you promote cultural diversity and tolerance in Red Wing?
Cultural diversity and tolerance do not start with the government but rather start in our homes and churches. I think the Human Rights Commission has done an excellent job of trying to keep these issues before the public. Our schools need to continue to educate our students, starting in the preschools, about treating everyone as equals as ordained in our Constitution. Elected officials should always strive to be role models and expect city employees to do the same.
What about Red Wing's government, economy or culture would you most like to change?
First of all, I would like to see our economy grow through not only maintaining our employment base but also growing it. Red Wing is now more than 150 years old. Its government and industries have evolved all through these years and continue to evolve. As part of the diversity of our community, I would like to see a government that better reflects that diversity and a culture that reflects the role of the minorities that are part of our great city.