City candidates give last pitchJust five days before the election, candidates for Red Wing offices had another opportunity to talk about key issues and their qualifications.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Just five days before the election, candidates for Red Wing offices had another opportunity to talk about key issues and their qualifications.
Mayoral candidates LaVergne Dickerson and Dennis Egan both emphasized relationships both among organizations and between the city and citizens during a discussion at Thursday’s Noontime Kiwanis meeting.
“I can help strengthen the quality of relationships in place and build new relationships,” Dickerson said. She said one of her main goals would be to re-engage citizens in the government.
Egan emphasized the neighborhood meetings he has held and said he would continue those.
“It was truly and sincerely an effort to draw out what people’s concerns were,” he said.
Reflecting on the mayor’s role in city government, Egan said the veto power is “an opportunity for checks and balances” and the mayor should “make sure we as a unit of government are moving forward in the right direction.”
Dickerson said communication responsibilities of the mayor are key.
When discussing appointments to boards and commissions, Dickerson noted that the city isn’t “grooming our citizens” for leadership roles, and more engagement could help with that.
Egan also said having diverse participants in government is important, as is being open to new ideas.
“It really is about what is in the best interest of Red Wing and how do we get there,” Egan said.
City Council candidates discuss tax
Current council members Ralph Rauterkus, Wards 3 & 4, and Lisa Bayley, Ward 2, also discussed other key issues for the city Thursday.
Their opponents did not attend. Erik Fridell is challenging Rauterkus while Craig Livingstone, whose name is on the Ward 2 ballot, has stopped campaigning for health reasons.
Rauterkus, currently council president, and Bayley agreed that top priorities for the city include economic development, nuclear waste storage issues and solid waste processing and the incinerator.
Many questions also focused on the proposed local option sales tax, which voters will see on their ballots Tuesday, and what might happen if the measure does not pass.
Bayley said the tax was among different revenue streams explored — “we can’t always rely on property taxes to cover everything,” — but she would have preferred a smaller package, perhaps focused solely on the riverfront and downtown.
Asked about Mississippi National Golf Links, Rauterkus said many questions still remain. But the closure of the course “is a significant hit to the community,” he said.
Rauterkus said next steps include talking with citizens and coming up with new ideas.
“We have a lot more discussing and listening to do,” he said.
Rauterkus’ challenger Erik Fridell did not attend the debate, nor did unopposed Ward 1 candidate Jason Sebion.