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Faber reflects on 10 years as Adrian's mayor

Adrian Mayor John Faber. (BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE)1 / 2
Adrian Mayor John Faber (left) talks with Administrator/Clerk Treasurer Bruce Heitkamp in Heitkamp's office in city hall. (BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE)2 / 2

ADRIAN -- Mayor John Faber said he wouldn't know what to do if he's written in during Adrian's next election because he said he has no intention of running.

"My head says 'don't be stupid' but my heart says these people still want you so keep going," Faber said with smile on his face. "I don't know."

He said he wasn't going to run last time.

"And I just decided at the last minute, 'Well, maybe I should.' I had some people talk to me to run against the guy I ran against."

He said the people who talked to him appealed to him greatly, so he decided to run.

"I'm glad I'm doing it again," Faber said.

Faber has been professionally involved with local politics in Adrian since the mid- 1990s, when he ran for Adrian's city council and won two terms.

"I ran in 1994 and again in 1998," Faber said

It was in 2000 when Faber ran for mayor, and he has served in that capacity ever since.

"The gentleman who was the mayor resigned and I moved into his spot," Faber said.

As to why he decided to run for office, Faber had a few thoughts.

"I thought I had something to offer, I think I'm fairly knowledgeable," Faber said. "I'm willing to make decisions and willing to admit when I make mistakes. I guess I just wanted to give something back to the city of Adrian."

Originally from Melrose, he received his higher education at St. John's University, where he got his bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1972.

Faber was in the last group of people to be drafted in Minnesota during the war in Vietnam.

"They weren't pulling anyone out then, but they weren't sending anyone in," Faber said.

He was stationed in Washington, D.C., a place he said he would love to visit again.

"A lot has changed since I was there. I'd like to see the monuments for the World War II veterans and to see the Vietnam Memorial, too," Faber said.

Faber served for two years and was honorably discharged in 1974. He then attended St. Cloud State University, earning his coaching certificate.

Faber and his wife Peg have lived in Adrian for nearly 30 years. They raised their two children there.

"I love it here," Faber said of Minnesota. "My kids got a good education here, I got a good education here and my wife did, too."

The last decade had been a time of growth for the city, and it has been one of Faber's goals to get more businesses in the area.

"It's not easy. We are competing with Luverne and Worthington and other towns for businesses' attention," Faber said. "Everybody's trying to get that business in to get the tax base solidified."

He also said that cuts in Local Government Aid (LGA) have not helped, either.

"With those cuts, we have to come up with that money by other means, which usually means raising property taxes," Faber said. "And since we are a bedroom community, most people working out of town, that's really hard to do."

Faber said he likes to keep his money as much as everyone else, but added that he thinks a no-tax pledge or a nonew-tax pledge won't work.

"It's got to be a combination of cuts and tax increases, in my opinion," Faber said. "I believe state legislatures should have to serve on city councils and school boards before they are elected to state office."

Faber added this is a technique for people to learn how to get things done within a group of five people.

"To me, there is too much 'politics' in politics," Faber said.

Faber said he's proud of the accomplishments he has helped produce in his decade as mayor.

"We expanded the fire hall, built a new city hall, got a telepharmacy for the city," Faber said. "We also got new businesses here, like the Kum and Go and Subway and the Crystal."

Faber also noted the addition of housing on Tennessee Avenue and construction efforts on Main Street as well.

"We also resurfaced the streets in town, which will be good for another 20 to 25 years," Faber added.

Outside of his civic duties, Faber is a sales manager at Sailor Plastics, where he has worked for 30 years.

"I spent half my time on the council as mayor and the other half with everything else," Faber said.

Faber belongs to the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion, and in the past had devoted time to other community groups --though he said he doesn't anymore.

"I think I've done enough," Faber said, followed by a laugh. "I think I've earned a break."