Mayor hopefuls differ on leadershipAhead of the first open contest for Woodbury mayor in 20 years, the six candidates to replace retiring Mayor Bill Hargis have laid out differing visions for the job.
Ahead of the first open contest for Woodbury mayor in 20 years, the six candidates to replace retiring Mayor Bill Hargis have laid out differing visions for the job.
The candidates participated in two election forums last week, one sponsored by the Woodbury Bulletin, the other held by the League of Women Voters of Woodbury-Cottage Grove. Voters will pick a new mayor Nov. 2.
The candidates are Rachel Homuth, Nick Kiecker, Eddie Marcus, Art McCloskey, Tom Owens and Mary Giuliani Stephens, who serves on the city council.
Highlights of the forums included:
Homuth said she is direct and would be approachable, maintaining an “open-door policy” for staff and residents.
“My leadership style would be very matter of fact, say it like it is,” she said. “I don’t hold back my opinion and that includes when it goes against the grain, and I believe I will be a spokesperson for the truth.”
Kiecker said he would strive for “maximum communication.” He wants to increase the way the city gathers public opinion, including by using more Internet-based polling. Once residents’ views are known, the city can work toward “compromise solutions” that “hopefully benefit everybody involved,” he said.
The City Council will protect Woodbury citizens, Marcus said, but he wants “to deal with the public directly” and get more insight from residents.
“My basic style would be let the council do their thing and if I have some disagreements because I’ve got something better, then I’ll try to sell it,” he said.
McCloskey said he has spent his adult life as a manager, in one job or another, and has run his own business 12 years.
“I think my management skills are there,” he said. “Just talking to people like I do would help me to help the city.”
An insurance industry veteran, Owens said he is detail-oriented, takes “the long view,” and would push for innovative ideas.
“I let people do what they do best,” he said. “I am a challenger.”
Owens said he believes in “innovation and always looking on the horizons for those threats and opportunities we need to deal with.”
Stephens said she would not micromanage the city as mayor. She said she would encourage others to do their best.
“My leadership style is to listen, encourage healthy debate, identify the issues and then work to common solutions to those issues,” she said.
The candidates were asked of their prior involvement in city government.
“You’re pretty much looking at it,” Homuth said, referring to her run for mayor. “That, and voting.”
Kiecker, 22, elicited chuckles from a forum crowd with his response.
“I got a ticket for curfew when I was 16,” he said. “I was educated here. I have attended a few city council meetings, and I put my name on the ballot to run for mayor.”
Owens said he was once a police officer in Ohio, and then focused for years on his work in the insurance industry. “I am now looking forward to doing work in this arena we call government,” he said.
Owens joked that he once was named “an honorary Girl Scout,” a title he shared with Bob Hope.
McCloskey, who was not present for one of the forums, also is new to city government.
Stephens outlined her work as a Woodbury City Council member since her 2006 election. She was involved in the city’s recent negotiations over watershed district boundaries and has attended regional transportation meetings.