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Three vying for Ward 1 Worthington City Council seat

Larry Janssen Why are you seeking this office? I am seeking re-election for Worthington City Council - Ward 1 because I will promote responsible leadership within this position. I am a lifelong resident of the Worthington area and a family man; v...

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Pictured are (from left) Chris Kielblock, Larry Janssen and Rod Sankey. (Special to The Globe)

Larry Janssen Why are you seeking this office? I am seeking re-election for Worthington City Council - Ward 1 because I will promote responsible leadership within this position. I am a lifelong resident of the Worthington area and a family man; very involved with my family, having raised three adult children while living in the Worthington area.

 

Experience as it relates to this position I currently serve as a Worthington City Council member. I have served on my church council and numerous church-related committees, the Chamber of Commerce board, was appointed to the Board of Appeals by a former county commissioner (serving as the chairperson for 12 years). I was invited to the serve on the New Dawn Board and appointed by a former mayor to serve on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board (serving for 12 years).

 

What is your vision for the future of the city? I have two granddaughters living in Worthington, so I am very invested in the future of the city of Worthington. I foresee additional growth in transportation and housing, and will continue to encourage existing companies to prosper and seek new companies to locate in Worthington continuing an upward economic trend. I hope to see more amenities for all ages.

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Additional comments I am willing and good listener, I have and will encourage compromise and I have made, when necessary, difficult decisions. I look forward to doing the research and I will commit the needed time to become a well-informed, responsible leader as a city council member.

Rod Sankey Why are you seeking this office? The Worthington City Council Ward 1 needs someone in that chair to representative the hard-working citizens of Ward 1. As of late, it seems that the council just rubber stamps every idea that comes along.

Prairie View Golf Course was costing the taxpayers $220,000 a year. Now that it is closed, where is that money being spent? It certainly didn’t lower our taxes. Our tax level was raised by 7.58 percent this last year, and I don’t see it being any lower this year. We need a conservative in Ward 1 that can say no to some of these far-fetched ideas. My biggest focus will be on watching out for this socialist idea floating around in Worthington city government.

Change, that’s what is needed in Ward 1, and I’m the person that can make that change for a brighter Worthington.


Experience as it relates to this position I have been elected to the Worthington City Council in 2012 and served four years from 2013–2016. I miscued in 2016 and lost to a strong opponent, but I’m ready to jump back in and continue where I left off.
I served as Commander at our local VFW Post 3958 for nine years and still serve as Vice-Commander. I serve as Honor Guard/Rifle Squad at all military funerals in Worthington.
I attend N.E.O.N. (Nobles Economic Opportunity Network) monthly meetings. I sit on the board of Nobles County Historical Society and volunteer at Pioneer Village four to six hours each work day.

I feel it’s my honorary duty when sitting in a Worthington City Council chair to do what’s the right thing for the citizens of Worthington.

What is your vision for the future of the city? The state finished Highway 60 with the roundabouts, and new LED lighting made Worthington into a more modern city. With the Lewis & Clark water project almost completed to Worthington, we are sitting in the middle of a Utopia.
Let us not forget the Highway 60 and I-90 corridors to larger cities. Worthington sits smack dab in the middle as a good location for development to any kind of industry.
Worthington is lacking housing. When industries are looking around for new adventures, they skip right over Worthington because they do their homework and know Worthington cannot fulfill that need. My first priority will be to get the housing market moving.
Worthington has to be able to move with change because change is happening all the time. Why can’t Worthington be the center to help facilitate these changes? Helping with the daycare issues, nursing home issues, firefighting issues - instead of being all around the issues, can’t the city help to solve some of these issues?

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Additional Comments Our nation just started its next 17-year business cycle in 2017, plus or minus two years. Great things will be happening, and Worthington should be ready for it. Worthington has to start looking into high speed fiber to the home. Within a very short time, the current system will fail. The problems of the nursing homes, daycares, fire safety and property assessors are still mounting because of regulations. We can’t stop the regulations, but we as a city can offer a facility site where they would be able to do their testing online vs. everyone having to drive hundreds of miles to do testing.
This is not only for Worthington testers, but other smaller communities. My main objective would be to get starter homes built within the next four years. These starter homes (first-time buyers) are in short supply, which is killing Worthington’s ability to draw other industries to Worthington.

I held this position for four years, so there will not be a learning curve, I will be ready on any subject matter from day one.

Chris Kielblock Why are you seeking this office? I want to offer my neighbors throughout Ward 1 a choice in who represents them on City Council. I grew up in the neighborhoods of Sungold Heights, James Boulevard, North Douglas and South Shore Drive. In my early 20s, I bought my first home on Omaha Avenue and now live on Second Avenue. Even though some of these neighborhoods may have changed throughout the years, the people living and growing up in these areas continue to play a role in what inspires me to want to serve on council.

I will be a fresh voice and one who is willing to listen to what the people in Ward 1 have to say. I don’t have a personal agenda other than to serve, promote and help set up our city for a future of smart growth and prosperity. Sometimes that means being able to say “no” when saying “yes” would be the easiest thing to do. As we share our thoughts and ideas to achieve growth responsibly, it remains important to hold ourselves fiscally accountable. We shouldn’t forget that permission to serve and the funding allocated to the city comes from our neighbors.

 

Experience as it relates to this position Since the beginning of 2017, I’ve been serving on the city of Worthington’s Planning Commission. I’m honored to be a part of this dedicated team of volunteer community members that are continually looking to the future of our city - where it grows, what it builds, how it looks. These individuals serve together and maintain the ability to discuss issues even if they may disagree. I hope to play an active part in bringing that level of discussion and interaction to the council chambers, where it sometimes seems like we hear from a few while others are more like “silent partners.”

 

What is your vision for the future of the city? I am optimistic when it comes to the future of Worthington. While it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong or how things aren’t the way it used to be, I want people to know its OK to hold onto the history and traditions of what made Worthington, but it’s still possible to embrace changes that come from a growing and more diverse community.

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Working together … talking together … listening to each other can lead to a shared vision for the future of our city. Sharing thoughts and ideas are how we can create positive change and growth in our community. This takes time, and sharing time with others adds value to even the briefest of interactions. I’ll take the time to listen to what my neighbors in Ward 1 have to say. I’ll work with the mayor and council to achieve our goals. I’ll help provide direction for our knowledgeable and capable professional city staff.

 

Additional comments I will be available to those that care to take the time to share their thoughts and concerns. If there are questions that I can’t answer, we will find the answers together. I will be prepared for meetings, utilize the city’s professional staff and expertise to make informed decisions, and learn from those I work with and the experiences I am privileged to be a part of.

I’m reminded of a motto, of sorts, my family went by … “Remember Who You Are.” I’m fortunate to be from a family that instilled a sense of community and pride for this city. I’d be blessed to receive your vote to become the next City Council member for Ward 1.

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