FF Ward 3 candidates make casePublished 12:30pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012
With Pat Connelly running for mayor, Ward Three is the only city council race without an incumbent. Three fresh faces had the opportunity to share their viewpoints and stances Monday at the Ward Three candidate forum in the council chambers.
Mike Diekman and Wally Cole attended in person, and Tim Rundquist participated through Skype, an instant video/audio message system.
Rundquist was first to give his two-minute introduction, and he talked about what living in Fergus Falls has meant to him. He has roots in the county, and his family has been in the area for more than 100 years.
Rundquist is an attorney and college professor. He said taking a seat on the city council would be an opportunity for him to give back to the community.
“I have a lot of fresh ideas that are grounded in common sense,” he said.
Cole also talked about his Fergus Falls roots. He and his wife have lived in the city for 44 years, and in 1971, he started his own chiropractic business, which he still operates today.
He related many of the city’s challenges to issues he has faces as a chiropractor, and that remained one of Cole’s themes throughout the forum. He said this is an opportune time for him to give back to the city.
Diekman kept his answers short and to the point. In his introduction, he said he has lived in the city for 10 years, and he is the manager of Stenerson Lumber.
One of Diekman’s themes throughout the forum was communication and openness with the public. He said it seems like residents are looking for someone to listen to them, and he is willing to make himself available through phone conversations, emails and personal meetings.
When asked about the Regional Treatment Center, candidates were asked to select one of three options: save the tower, save the entire complex or total demolition.
Diekman said he would like to see the whole complex saved for historical value and business opportunity.
Rundquist didn’t think any of the three options were the answer. He said he would like to see the complex saved for business opportunities but patience is needed, with demolition being the last resort option.
Cole also agreed that it would be in the city’s best interest to keep the complex. He said it should be worked into a long-range plan to find a workable solution.
The candidates were asked about city spending and fiscal responsibility.
Rundquist said he is a family man, and he knows the importance of creating a realistic budget and sticking to it. Carefully prioritizing projects is key.
Cole said all entities have a budget of one type or another. If the city doesn’t use common sense, everybody is going to be in trouble.
Diekman said it is important to bring businesses into town.
As a business owner, he said, “We always try to place the customer first.”
He said he wants to take the same approach with Fergus Falls and its residents.
In their closing statements, all of the candidates thanked those involved for helping facilitate the forum and encouraged residents to get out and vote.
General elections will be held Tuesday Nov. 6. Ward Three represents the northwest quadrant of Fergus Falls.