Name: Erik C. Fridell
Occupation: Senior sales associate, Villa Bellezza Winery & Vineyard
Education: Sustainable management, University of Wisconsin-Extension (attending)
Civic involvement: City of Red Wing Sustainability commissioner
What is the biggest issue facing Red Wing right now?
While there are myriad issues of importance in Red Wing such as nuclear cask storage, economic viability, solid waste problems, and environmental problems abound, I believe that the biggest problem currently in Red Wing is the issue of open governance. Real and true open governance, instead of paying lip service, should be the cornerstone of all democracy. Citizens should always have access to information in whatever issue they might have without derision, scorn, or difficulty.
What would you bring to the City Council?
While I have much to learn about the sheer number of varied issues in our town, I will always do my utmost to give all citizens complete and comprehensive access to whatever information comes our way on council.
What would be your highest priority or priorities if elected to the City Council?
Mindful of my redundancy, my highest priority is to always ensure the open form of government that is fundamental to true democracy, restoring the confidence citizens have in their representative government.
Using tools I have learned in sustainability issues, I would like Red Wing to be the most progressive sustainable community in the state. Red Wing is uniquely situated to do amazing things to protect our beautiful land, air and water. I fully believe in Red Wing's potential to utilize and enhance our existing assets to be the premier gateway to our world-class Mississippi River/Lake Pepin recreational and tourist area.
What are your thoughts on revenue options such as the proposed local option sales tax?
I am not a big proponent of regressive tax options such as the proposed local option sales tax though this is an issue best left to the entire community to decide.
With bonding interest rates being at historic lows, I believe that we should take advantage of sound revenue decisions to create jobs by retrofitting city buildings for optimal efficiency, fixing our aging infrastructure, enhancing our amazing green spaces and cleaning up the Mississippi River. This can only serve to ensure Red Wing remains an attractive destination for businesses, residents and tourists well into this century.
What is an issue or concern you think needs more public discussion?
While I certainly appreciate all the hard work that goes on by city staff and City Council, there absolutely needs to be a public discussion about who drives the decisions about the direction Red Wing goes. The people own this town part and parcel and I, as a prospective representative of the people, fully believe that people should be making the ultimate decisions through a healthy representative democracy.