Three headed to primary in Luverne's North Ward
LUVERNE -- Three candidates are vying for one open seat in Luverne's North Ward, sending voters to the polls on Tuesday to narrow the field to two. The seat is currently occupied by Esther Spease Frakes, who chose not to seek reelection. Candidat...
LUVERNE -- Three candidates are vying for one open seat in Luverne’s North Ward, sending voters to the polls on Tuesday to narrow the field to two.
The seat is currently occupied by Esther Spease Frakes, who chose not to seek reelection.
Candidates Lennis “Red” Arndt, Larry Lanphere and Dan Nath have provided answers to a series of questions posed by the Daily Globe. Their responses follow:
Lennis “Red” Arndt
Qualifications for public office: I have been a resident of Luverne’s North Ward for the last 26 years. I have extensive knowledge of city government as I worked for municipal utilities my entire career; starting in 1967 as a power lineman-water/wastewater worker. During my municipal career I worked with councils in preparing budgets and worked with engineers in preparing capital improvements. I have been on a zoning and planning board, served as fire chief of a volunteer fire department, have been on the board and served as president of the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association, worked on committees of Missouri River Energy Services to prepare our electric utility for growth, and on the board of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System since its inception in 1990 and have served as chairman since 2006. It was a team effort but I take great pride in the leadership role I played ensuring future generations of Luverne citizens will have access to reliable and dependable drinking water. In all my work and volunteer roles I have always worked hard to foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork, while also not being afraid to press forward when needed to get things done.
What is your top priority in city government? Together we have to continue to work toward improving and maintaining our infrastructure (streets, water, wastewater and electric departments) so we can grow and attract new business. We have to look not only at the present but also toward the future because it takes years to get things done and still maintain reasonable taxes and rates. I believe the current city leadership has done a really good job of listening to the citizens and being responsive, and if I am elected to fill this opening, be assured I will go above and beyond to ensure that remains the case.
Explain ideas you have to address your top priority: Work within the plan the city is already using to develop a long range capital improvement plan to project the needs of the utilities and streets, as well as a funding mechanism to get these improvements done. We need to structure the funding so the impact to rates or taxes is as minimal as possible. Low rates and local taxes, as well as a good infrastructure, are needed to attract new businesses and industry. Being so close to South Dakota and with Minnesota not having a tax and insurance structure that is attractive to business, we have to be able to offer other incentives to potential businesses and industries.
What would you like to see accomplished in the city in the next four years? I would to see the city continue to clean up blighted areas, as well as attract new business and industry to Luverne. We have a great quality of life in Luverne, but there is always room for improvement. It is important we always keep our eyes open for opportunities to do things better or more efficient. If elected I will work closely with the mayor, council and city staff to identify those areas of possible improvement. Of course input from the citizens is an important part of that process.
Additional comments: I have wanted to run for a position on a city council for some time, but due to a conflict of interest with my jobs I was unable to run. I am retired and am now able to devote the time and effort needed to do the job right. Whatever I do I give it 100 percent and that will certainly be the case if I’m elected. I feel I have the leadership skills, work and volunteer experience and love for this community to be an effective council member. I’m a team player and work well with others, but I’m also not afraid to ask the tough questions. I take this opportunity very seriously and hope the citizens in turn take their responsibility seriously by coming out to vote. I thank the citizens of the North Ward for their consideration and humbly ask for their vote.
Occupation: Retired; worked for 40 years in radio broadcasting in radio sales and management; currently working part-time as starter at a golf course
Qualifications for public office: My greatest qualification is my passion for the Luverne community and my commitment to make our city a better place for its citizens and its businesses. Since moving to Luverne 8 years ago and marrying Jane Wildung, I have been involved in a variety of projects in the community and the area. These include: Southwest Minnesota Honor Flight, GrandStay Hotel & Suites, Take 16 Brewing Company, Luverne Trolley, Luverne Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rock River Beer Fest and other volunteer projects. Through those experiences, I have seen that the greatest strength of this city is that when citizens identify a need or desire, City Government is willing to work with them to find a way to accomplish that goal. In my sales career, I have been very involved with budgeting and budget forecasts which offer a strong background in finance for the council position. My career and volunteer work have included promotion and public relations where I have developed strong communication skills that will connect me to the citizens I represent and bring their voice to City Council.
What is your top priority in city government? My top priority is to address improvements in infrastructure and quality of life issues for our citizens and businesses. Our utilities, streets and other services have to meet our needs both today and tomorrow. When changes need to happen and investments need to be made, we have to make sure that they create the results we want now and in the future. I also believe that it is important for the City to make investments to improve the quality of life for our citizens that improve their health and safety.
For example, the Pool Commission is currently meeting with health providers and the public to identify if there should be any changes in operation and/or any improvements in the Luverne Aquatic and Fitness Center. We need to identify those things that government can best provide to assure improvements in the long-term health and safety of its citizens.
Explain the ideas you have to address your top priority: Over the past eight years, I have seen our city come alive through the energy of its citizens and businesses sharing their voice and needs with government. It was almost seven years ago when I sat in a room with approximately 150 people committed to Luverne who wanted to improve the city. From that meeting and many sub-committee meetings later, a project plan was adopted for the city’s future. This private and public partnership plan eventually was named LIFT (Luverne Initiatives for Tomorrow). Through the leadership of our elected officials and city administration, many of the goals and objectives identified by its citizens have been accomplished. I believe that is the reason for all the great things that have happened in Luverne. If elected, I pledge to continue to use that strategy in my work on the City Council. We need to work closely with our citizens by hearing and addressing their concerns through creative solutions maximizing local resources for the benefit of all.
What would you like to see accomplished in the city in the next four years?
* I would like to see federal/state/local government working with local businesses so that they can grow and expand.
* I would like to see that the Luverne LOOP project would be completed or near-completion.
* I would like to see the clean-up of blighted properties on our main traffic corridors.
* I would like to see the growth of retail businesses (existing and new) in the city because of increased local and visitor customer traffic.
* I would like to see businesses be able to find locally trained technical employees; for example -- diesel mechanics for our implement dealers and service technicians for our auto dealers.
* I would like to see the visitor traffic to Luverne increase because of the development of our community as a visitor destination, supporting our retail and service businesses.
* I would like to see that a long-term plan be adopted to meet the goals of our citizens for the Luverne Aquatic and Fitness Center.
* I would like to see more citizens involved in sharing their thoughts and ideas for the future of Luverne and its development by being involved in long-term community planning.
Additional comments: I believe that there have been wonderful things that have happened in Luverne over the past decade because of wise leadership and the involvement of citizens in making those decisions. It would be my honor and pleasure to serve the people of Luverne on City Council. I pledge to do my best to serve the people I represent with energy, enthusiasm, honesty and integrity to assure that Luverne is the city where businesses and citizens say they “Love the Life!”
Occupation: Business Analyst
Qualifications for public office: Retired from the Luverne Fire Department in 2013 and former Fire Chief; past board member of Blue Mound Area Theatre; attended the Blandin foundation Community Service retreat; resident of Luverne for 19 years with my wife, Colleen.
What is your top priority in city government? To make a positive impact on the quality of life we enjoy in Luverne.
Explain ideas you have to address your top priority: The Luverne City Council is very progressive and forward thinking and I would like to help continue this tradition. Here in Luverne we enjoy economic development, community involvement, cooperation between government agencies and community pride. I would like to see this continue and feel that as an elected alderman I would be able to make this happen. By focussing on development of our existing businesses and encouraging opportunities for new, the resulting benefits will be felt throughout the community of Luverne.
What would you like to see accomplished in the city in the next four years? As an alderman for the City of Luverne, these are the roles and duties that I would like to fulfill:
· Maintain Luverne's fiscal responsibility to its residents
· Encourage economic development in Luverne for existing and new businesses
· Promote Luverne with affiliated agencies at the Local, Regional, and State levels
· Capitalize on the strong community spirit of Luverne to encourage involvement and growth
· Make myself available for open communication to all residents of Luverne
Additional comments: I have served the community in several capacities over the years and feel that I will be able to build off prior and existing relationships. I have also served on County, Regional and State boards and feel I will be able to raise the awareness of the needs of Luverne to agencies at these levels. I am very willing to ask the tough questions and provide reasonable solutions. If elected, the people of Luverne can count on me to be engaged, to champion our community and to represent THEM to the best of my abilities.