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Oberloh, Weber challenging Kuhle for Worthington mayoral post

Mike Kuhle Why are you seeking this office? I enjoy helping to lead our community, area businesses and residents to be the best they can be! We have a strong community in which to build upon. The hard decisions we have made in the last four years...

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Pictured are the three candidates for Worthington Mayor: Alan Oberloh (left), Mike Kuhle and Ben Weber. (Special to The Globe)

Mike Kuhle Why are you seeking this office? I enjoy helping to lead our community, area businesses and residents to be the best they can be! We have a strong community in which to build upon. The hard decisions we have made in the last four years are starting to provide improvements to our community, and I would like the opportunity to move them forward.

Mall redevelopment has produced a car dealership and a greatly expanded Runnings Store. The balance of this property will probably have a movie theatre, convenience/gas station and additional housing.

Prairie View Golf Course is now the home of our Boy Scout Troops, outdoor summer and winter recreation trails. Annual savings from golf course operations were able to build three new quality soccer fields and parking lot.
Minnesota West Community College is positioned to grow in the future with a 106-bed campus housing. I would like to keep moving our community forward.
Experience as it relates to this position: I served eight years as a city council member and during that time served and represented nearly all of the city committees. This experience is valuable to me as a mayor. I have established relationships with our state and federal legislative representatives. These relationships and lobbying efforts have provided positive results for Lewis & Clark water advanced funding, Bluejay Villas campus housing and other projects.

During the last almost four years as mayor, I have learned every day what it takes to be mayor of a very diverse community such as Worthington. We have a very unique community, and I want to help us move forward and improve.
What is your vision for the future of our city? Worthington will continue to be a regional center for our area. Worthington will be a great community to raise and educate a family. Worthington will be recognized as a place where employees and employers alike will want to live and prosper. The diversity of Worthington help provide a stable and growing workforce.
Private investment by companies in our community is soaring which will produce quality jobs and wages. Housing starts are very strong as well.
Public investment such as CD12 Flood Control project will eventually remove up to 300 properties from FEMA's flood plain map. And the L&C water project that will bring a reliable source of water to Worthington and remove any limitations to the growth of our community.

In the past 3.5 years new construction of over $78 million has been built in Worthington!

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Public and private investment together will fuel the growth of our community!
Additional comments: For economic development we have made street/utility improvements to North 59 Industrial Park, for immediate construction.

A splash pad being built in Centennial Park is an amenity that is free and open to the public for
their enjoyment. A new Beach Nook will be built in Centennial Park to replace the current building.

Alan Oberloh Why are you seeking this office? I believe I have the leadership skills, passion and drive to move our growing community into the future.

I research the topics, ask the tough questions and offer solutions.

Examples of this:

  • Getting the state to agree to sell the failed Prairie Expo Center to a local bioscience company to allow it to grow and create many jobs.
  • Lobbied for a grant to demolish the blighted Campbell’s and construct a new fire hall.
  • Worked to secure a local option sales tax to build the Event Center and renovate our performing arts center.
  • Brought forward a plan to purchase the former YMCA building and repurpose it into an active living center.
  • Recently, as a City Council member, came up with a plan to sell unused city property to allow for construction of a new church.
  • Sought a better location for a new SMOC preschool facility.
  • Brought a city resolution forward to not support plans for a roundabout which would hinder development.

Experience as it relates to this position: I feel my many years as a public servant demonstrate that I have the experience for this position. I believe that anyone who has the time, inclination or ability should consider serving the public. I consider the job of representing the community a privilege, and I take it very seriously.

My experience as a longtime local business owner, involved community member and supporter, including service on church, Chamber, school, Hospice and Joint Powers boards, President of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and others have given me a well-rounded background.

I have testified and lobbied on behalf of Worthington and Greater Minnesota cities at the State Capitol on issues beneficial to all of us including local government aid, transportation, Highway 60 construction, redevelopment grant programs, workforce training, local option tax and Lewis & Clark regional water project.

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I was asked by Gov. Dayton to serve on a 16-member bipartisan group working on the LGA program.

What is your vision for the future of the city? My vision includes: a continually growing community both in retail, production and manufacturing sectors, new development areas for market rate housing, upgrading our aging housing stock by seeking state or federally-sponsored housing redevelopment grants to assist homeowners in completing renovations.

I would like to see our median household income rise to or above the state average by putting a concerted effort into the economic development realm to assist existing businesses and new companies with higher paying jobs, providing opportunities for our citizens.

Additional comments: I have answered the questions that I was asked to answer, and I would like to be clear, I feel I have accomplished a great deal of good things while serving on various boards and Council, not necessarily alone but as a team player who knows enough to allow staff to do their jobs and by working in conjunction with many dedicated appointed and elected officials. Thank you to those individuals.

I am married to Janice, who has been a very important representative alongside of me while I have worked on behalf of the city. She rarely missed a community celebration or function, a conference or any place where the mayor represented the city. We have four adult children and 10 adorable grandchildren.

I am asking for your support and vote, and I promise to work hard to make you proud to call Worthington home.

Benjamin Weber Why are you seeking this office? As a fellow resident of this community, I want the best for Worthington. We all know what has to be done to truly appreciate our diversity and help this community grow. The way we should all see it is to make it our highest priority to place people first. I believe a mayor needs to have the capacity to support views and opinions they may not personally agree with but yet will still benefit the community.

We need to assume that everyone wants to see this community grow and have a strong sense of community. It is my strong desire to live in a community we can all be proud of. I want to do this by actively listening to the people to ensure that everybody has a voice. My passion and belief in “how we do things matters” has convinced me I can make a real difference and help this community navigate the changes that will take place to help enter the next stage of prosperity.
Experience as it relates to this position: I am an engineer for Bedford Industries, and I have been there since 2005. I strongly support local manufacturing and work hard to develop ways to move at “the speed of business,” and at the same time I maintain a balance with the requirements of government. This experience has given me a unique insight in achieving progress while working with groups, regulations and individuals.

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Another key function of my position is to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. If I am elected mayor, I will bring these skills to the table and work for the people. The people are the management for all elected public servants. I will serve with that in mind at all times.

What is your vision for the future of the city? Like all of us, I have the desire to live in a community we can all be proud of. We can build our community when those who do not agree are given a fair and equal voice. The most precious and valuable resource a person can have is the people we live and work with.

We want this town to successfully grow and continually engage more local and out-of-town people in community activities and supporting local business. One of the things that needs focus is to provide understandable updated zoning and planning information readily available for all. This will help provide businesses and individuals a path to understand what their options are and to help them understand their potential investment and opportunities. An up-to-date roadmap for development is key to assisting growth.

Additional comments: I would like to take a moment to talk about voting. We have all heard “my vote will not make a difference.” Although it is true that when a person casts their vote it is extremely unlikely that their vote will be “the vote” that changes the outcome of an election. But this is not why we should vote. Voting is the key which our country and government was founded on. This is so important that we, as a country, work very hard to ensure votes are freely cast.

We each have the basic right endowed by our creator to declare ourselves as an individual that is important and is worthy enough to stand up and be counted. If someone you know feels that their vote doesn’t matter, let them know that their single vote may not change the outcome of an election, but their single vote is their declaration that they are important.

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