Herald Journal - Voters' Guide 2010
Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

Lester Prairie City Council

Four people have filed for a position on the Lester Prairie City Council: Sandie Adams, Eric Angvall, Ron Foust, and Tamara Vergin.

Sandie Adams

Why are you running for office?

Lester Prairie is a wonderful community, with great people. The local government, the business owners, the school, the police, and the people have always been very good to me and have been there for me when I needed it most.

And now, I feel it’s time that I give back. I want to serve this community in any way that I can, and since I’m not independently wealthy and can’t donate cash, I want to serve with the only thing I have . . . my time.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

In all honesty, I do not have an “agenda.” I’m also not vain enough to think that if I did, I, one person, could “make it happen.”

I think we (as a country) have too much government, and too much regulation. I want to see Lester Prairie fly in the face of excessive government and regulations.

My only goal is to always keep in mind the foundation of our country, and what it was built on. I’m not a “Bible thumper,” but I am a Christian, and it is my goal to weigh every decision I make with the beliefs that made our country great. If a subject comes up, that goes against those core beliefs, I will vote against it – politically correct or not.

Why should you be elected?

Because I represent the every-day Lester Prairie citizen. I’m not a business owner, a developer, or a “politician.” I am just a citizen, like 95 percent of Lester Prairie’s population. The citizens should be represented.

I have parented nine children (now all adults), all of which went to Lester Prairie School and have prowled the streets of Lester Prairie at one time or another.

I’ve been a landowner/homeowner, and I am a working-class citizen who just wants to make sure that our local government keeps “us” (white, black, brown, and red) and our priorities in mind with every decision made.

Eric Angvall

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I see a need for our residents to be represented and our city’s assets to be protected, particularly in this time of budget shortfalls.

I have served on the council for more than 15 years and have gained a great interest in both the city and its government.

I understand that the way we do business has changed greatly since I was last in office, and I know this is a critical time for us to adjust how we govern. We need to rethink how we make decisions, and make planning a key element in our election of monetary decisions.

As a council, we need to spend our time on planning and prioritizing to manage the limited resources we have to best reflect the desires of our total population.

In addition to my experience in city government, more than 20 years of working for the planning department of a large corporation has taught me the need for planning, prioritizing, and setting direction.

I believe I can bring experience and perspective that is vital for our council as we collaborate to plan our city’s future.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

The state, with its budget shortfall, will most certainly affect the income of our city.

Additionally, our city does not have an expanding tax base at this time, nor should we expect one in the near future. Lester Prairie will feel major pressures with income, and a shift to the local taxpayer for more of the cost of running the requests of our local needs and wants.

With these financial challenges, our city council needs to be prepared and must focus on better planning with each city department, by working together to set goals and stick to them.

I would propose that the council begin by meeting with each department at the start of the year to develop a plan that recognizes and supports the needs of our city within each department.

While it is important for the council to be involved in city affairs and the welfare of our residents, it is not sustainable for the council to focus on micro-level management.

I would propose that the council take the initiative to better support our current city employees, by acknowledging their experience and expertise and tapping into their knowledge and willingness to help improve daily life in our city.

Why should you be elected?

Many experiences have given me a solid understanding of city government and budgets.

I have a desire to serve and to reflect the needs and desires of all of our residents.

We can no longer afford to operate the city as we have done in the past. Now is the time for us to adapt to the new reality.

Working with the other council members, I hope to enhance the council’s contribution to the community and to help set goals for the community as a whole. When we work together toward a unified goal, we will all achieve great things, for each of us and our community.

Ron Foust

Why are you running for office?

Having been part of the city government for a number of years – participated on the Lester Prairie Park Board for six years, and the last 12 years active on the Lester Prairie City Council – the variety of functions and experience at both levels have given me a wealth of knowledge dealing with annual budgets, functionality, city officials, city employees, and most importantly, the citizens of Lester Prairie, which has provided a broad vision of what can transpire in local government.

With this experience and knowledge, it is very beneficial in providing local leadership for you in city government.

My family has been part of this community more than 30 years. We have taken pride and joy in all the activities that surround us and have been a part of our daily lives.

For generations, the city council has provided the necessary framework in which we live today in Lester Prairie. I would like to provide my civic responsibilities to carry forth those essentials and necessities for the citizens of this community.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

First and foremost is about “change.” There has been tremendous change in the last 12 years, from federal government level to the local level, but also in our daily lives, too.

Our local government level needs to evaluate how we affect change, as it becomes inevitable in our day-to-day activities. Today, more and more constituents have Internet access, which enables us to do several activities, such as research, work, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other interactions.

With local government, the necessity to expand our website to enhance what Lester Prairie has to offer and promote this to our constituents – interaction with growth potential, not only from a residential standpoint, but also from a business/commercial development standpoint.

Secondly, we need to be cognizant of developing a future commercial and industrial park. To entice new businesses to consider Lester Prairie, we need to be pro-active in this area.

Once this economy becomes upbeat again, and it will, we need to be ready for the next wave of development. By keeping our existing businesses thriving, and creating new businesses within our community, we’ll provide great tax benefits and relieve the tax burden on our residential constituents. Not only to have land space available, but to entice new industries/businesses to be a part of this community.

Now, it does take some effort on our part to sell our city, our locality, and our infrastructure. By knocking on the doors of future prospects, someday, prospects will become a reality.

Thirdly, a variety of housing is an important ingredient to the health of our city. It is essential that a nice balance of housing availability within Lester Prairie meets the needs of incoming folks, and also for those that currently reside in Lester Prairie.

This is all part of the “change,” too, as families expand and empty-nesters downsize, we need to provide different options, establishing some balance in our housing appetite, whether it’s apartment units, four-plex units, or similar town-homes, twin-homes, condominiums, single family homes of different ranges, even senior housing. We will continue to enhance our opportunity with developers to ensure dimensional choices.

Fourthly, it is our tax money. There has been a tremendous change is Local Government Aid (LGA) from the state level the past few years. It is evident with the cuts from LGA, that the tax burden has transferred to the local level, and that puts our cities in a precarious position as we utilize our monies prudently.

And, obviously, with this change that has occurred, it could affect how local government spends tax dollars. As part of the local city government, we need to evaluate every step, every move, and every change to make sure that we are fiscally responsible to all citizens of Lester Prairie.

Why should you be elected?

I will continue to be an active voice for the local city government issues for the betterment of all citizens of Lester Prairie. Not only for the issues as described, but other issues as they surface, to make sound conclusive decisions.

Obviously, the decisions we make today will have long-term impact for the wealth of Lester Prairie for today’s generation and also for future generations.

With your help and your vote Tuesday, Nov. 2, we can sustain the momentum, as our future looks extremely exciting for our community.

Tamara Vergin

Why are you running for office?

I believe in new faces and new ideas. I would like to learn more on how the city is run, and know that I can make a positive difference for everyone involved.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

Managing spending, and prioritizing. I wouldn’t be able to say how I could change those issues until I have the whole picture in front of me. I do think we need fresh ideas, and that is only going to come from new faces.

Why should you be elected?

I am a 12-year resident and three-year business owner in Lester Prairie. Basically, I would like to better understand the workings of the city and the budgeting process.

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