Afton mayoral hopefuls respond to 'write-in' campaignerA third candidate, running on a ‘write-in’ ticket, has thrown her hat in the ring for the position of Afton mayor. The two existing candidates have given their views on the news.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
A surprise ‘write-in’ candidate has thrown her hat in the ring for the position of Afton mayor.
Kuchen Meyer, a second generation Afton farmer, announced Monday she was joining the fray to make it a three-way race with candidates Bob Dickie and Pat Snyder.
As Meyer, 51, has missed the deadline for applications to be placed on the November 4 ballot (the registration period was August 26 through September 9), anyone wishing to vote for her is being asked to write in “Meyer for Mayor” on their ballot on polling day.
In a letter mailed to Afton residents this week, Meyer — a former city council member from 2002 to 2006 — wrote, “I had no plans to take part in this race and I was quite content to watch our local elections from the sidelines.
“But after reading the uninformative and uninspiring campaign rhetoric from the two mayoral candidates I felt that you, the citizens of Afton, deserve better.
“While everyone agrees that Afton is a beautiful community and that we need to preserve open space, there are some major issues that have not been given a high enough priority and other issues which have not even been addressed in this campaign nor in any public forum.”
According to her letter, issues central to Meyer’s decision to stand include: the Afton Charter Commission (she is in favor of bringing a charter to the voters next year), preserving groundwater quality, protecting open space, supporting businesses in the Old Village and business development in the industrial zone which could have increased tax revenue.
Speaking Monday afternoon, Meyer, a technical services specialist who also farms land in Afton with her husband Zeke, said she had been prompted to stand after hearing from many friends and neighbors that they did not know for which of the two existing candidates to vote.
“I do [think I have a realistic chance of winning],” she added. “I think everybody stands a chance.
“Just from the number of people I know who are undecided, I think I have as a good a chance as anybody.”
Mayoral candidate Dickie, whose name will appear on the ballot paper, responded swiftly to the announcement, likening Meyer’s decision to enter the race to that of the legendary Hatfield and McCoy families’ feud.
“As the outsider, an individual that is not part of a team or group, I was wondering why both political groups had not fielded a candidate to run for mayor,” he said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.
“One group, the ‘McCoys,’ had Pat Snyder and her team of Barb Ronningen and Ken Knutson.
“I thought maybe the other group, the ‘Hatfields,’ were beginning to understand that the best interests of all of Afton would be served by the election of a mayor who wants to bring the competing interests together and look for shared solutions to Afton’s many problems.
“But I was wrong. It’s back to politics as usual.”
Pat Snyder, the second mayoral challenger whose name will appear on the ballot papers, was equally unimpressed by the announcement of Meyer’s candidacy.
“I welcome Ms. Meyer into the race and unlike my opponent, Mr. Dickie, she has a strong voting record,” wrote Snyder in a release.
“Ms. Meyer has voted for ¾-acre lot sizes in the agricultural zone, eminent domain, expansion of the industrial zone, ordinances that allow condos downtown, and for saddling the city with a four million dollar bond.
“I have a strong record of protecting our groundwater and agricultural areas, maintaining small densities and large lot sizes, and preserving our natural, historic and scenic resources.”
• Don’t miss next week’s Woodbury Bulletin for a question and answer profile of all the candidates in the Afton city elections.