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Red Wing Mayor Q & A -- Part 4

In the final installment of a four-part series, the Republican Eagle asked the six Red Wing mayoral candidates to describe their greatest strengths, while revealing areas in which they could improve.

All responses are published as they were received by candidates. The only editing was to trim answers to fit an imposed word limit.

Dan Bender

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

I have demonstrated my dedication to our community through involvement and service. My term on the city council has taught me the value of thoughtful, balanced, informed leadership, and I will bring that experience to the office of mayor. I study all sides of an issue before making a decision in the best interest of our community. I'm able and plan to work with the city council for positive outcomes, and am willing to compromise in order to get the necessary work done. Because I am now retired, I look forward to dedicating myself as your full-time mayor and promoter of our vibrant community.

Where do you have room to grow?

Learning is a lifelong process. Being your mayor will give me many opportunities to continue to learn and apply my experience to the office. I want to expand outside connections and use them for promoting the positive assets of Red Wing. I want to become more familiar with city and county emergency response plans and build on our public safety procedures.

The loudest voices don't always speak for the entire community, and they don't always convey the best ideas for our bright future. I want to focus on maintaining a balanced approach to decision making. These are changing times and it is important to thoughtfully examine all sides of issues affecting our great city and its exciting future.

Elizabeth Kocina

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

Listen to the people and be their voice.

Where do you have room to grow?

(No response given)

Christopher Nelson

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

With my experiences in the workforce and in the United States Army I would bring several strengths to the mayor's office. The best way to answer this is based on the feedback I have received from my coworkers, soldiers I've served with and supervisors.

I developed a reputation of not being afraid of taking on tasks and responsibilities that were important to the job at hand. I perform my job "to the book." I take the time to ensure the job is done correctly. I am unwavering to my vision and purpose when I work. I take the time to see both sides of an issue. I take the opportunity to learn the job tasks of others who are involved with my area of work. I conduct myself with the highest level of ethical standards. I strive to improve my weakness and turn them into my strengths.

I personally would bring the values of organizations I have been apart of. As an Eagle Scout and an army veteran I would bring my love of country, community, my fellow neighbor, family and God.

Where do you have room to grow?

As mayor, I will have to be critical and truthful of myself to the people of Red Wing. Because I am coming into the mayor race straight out of the private and military sector with no civil government experience, the easy answer would be overall I have room to grow. Our recent mayor once stated that there is a steep learning curve for the position. For me the key is to use my strengths and use all possible resources available to me in order to put all of the pieces together and to grow as a mayor. Red Wing's charter states that "the mayor shall study the operations of the city," and I intend to do that. I believe this would be a great opportunity for Red Wing to have a new face with an average citizen's point of view.

John Sachen

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

My ability to promote Red Wing from many different perspectives is the main strength I would bring to the office. I am a product of the Red Wing School Districts and so are my children. In my current position I have had the opportunity to tell others what great schools we have and what a great place this is to raise a family. Having been a resident of Red Wing since 1968 (I missed most of the 80's due to school and military service) I am able to articulate to prospective businesses the history of Red Wing and all it has to offer to their business and their future employees. My family is involved. My wife works in the school district and at Deer Crest. My daughter Mallory grew up in Red Wing and was very involved in sports, academics, school plays and was a Miss Red Wing ambassador. My son Zach is a part of high school football, intermural basketball and golf and is on the academic honor role. Sandy and Bill Hasselblad (my parents) are active in the community and respected ambassadors of Red Wing also. I am also very comfortable speaking in front various size groups.

Where do you have room to grow?

I have many areas I need to grow as we all do. As it pertains to the Mayor position I will offer up the two I feel most important. A few years ago the management group at Hearth and Home Technologies went through a course call "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" (a Covey course). My major area for growth, as with most men, is effective listening. Men, me included, tend to listen to respond. Women tend to listen to understand. It was and continues to be the area I work on the most, whether it is at home, with friends or at work. I have made progress but still have room to improve. Secondly, I am a type A personality and when I take on a task, I take it on. I will work tirelessly until it is complete. Other personality types are sometimes put off or uncomfortable with this type of behavior. Over the last couple of years I have become more respectful of others and their feeling and have been able to get things done in a more cohesive team environment. I am enjoying becoming more successful at home, work and in the community more and more.

Ernest Stone

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

My drive to help make Red Wing shine as the best City to live in or visit. I will put all my leadership skills to task to obtain this effort. Listening to the concerns of residents I meet. Chatting with guests of Red Wing on the streets, a shop or in a restaurant. Their experience as a visitor will be very important to us all. This communicated to the City Staff and all parties concerned will make for a tighter meshed community.

Where do you have room to grow?

I consider myself a reasonable person. I respect others including their opinions. I do my best being considerate and tolerant, yet I know, I am a flawed man. At the end of the day as I reflect on the things that I have said or the acts I followed, I know I can be a better person. It is said that we us only 10 percent of our brain. It is within my power to improve this as well. I know it is time to put down my world history books and pick up on the history of Red Wing. The history from the stories of the people themselves. I look forward to this with in a way I can not express.

Samantha Tix

What strength would you bring to the mayor's office?

I will bring a willingness to truly listen to the people, along with the time and energy to turn our resident's ideas into reality. I am not a politician. I am a wife and mother with a vision for our future that includes better parks, more opportunities for young people, better marketing of our incredible natural assets to potential visitors and entrepreneurs, increased volunteerism to help those in need and tighten the bonds of our community, as well as keeping a lid on taxes and spending. I see great promise in the future of Red Wing. We have the potential to solve our problems and build an even better city based on our resident's ideas and the strength and our combined commitment. We have had mayors in the recent past who seemed to use the job as a stepping stone to higher office or for their own personal or professional gain. My only goal is to help the people of my home town prosper.

Where do you have room to grow?

I plan to grow in knowledge and experience as I listen to the people of Red Wing and encourage the City Council to:

Spend smarter: People want local government to live within its means.

Keep taxes low: Families in Red Wing are still struggling. Low taxes helps young people buy a first house and families with children make ends meet, as well as allowing seniors to stay in their homes as long as they wish.

Keep public safety strong: I will work to keep our community safe by ensuring our professional police and fire protection have the tools they need.

Attract new investment: The current growing economy is the ideal time to promote Red Wing to start-up businesses, or those looking to expand or move. I want to attract investment in the areas where our comprehensive plan calls for new development, especially areas targeted for revitalization. New outside investment means more jobs and lower taxes for homeowners.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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