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Owens wants to get tough on the Met Council, embrace diverse residents

Tom Owens

Editor's note: This Q&A is part of a series highlighting Woodbury mayoral candidates. Read the other Q&As here

Tom Owens

  • Age: 65
  • Occupation: Insurance agent
  • Education: Two undergraduate degrees and MBA
  • Family: Married, three adult children, three grandchildren
  • Civic involvement: Boy Scouts leadership, church leadership

Why should residents vote for you?

We have over 300 intelligent and skilled employees and over 30 well-educated and dedicated volunteers on our commissions. Our mayor needs to be the leader who can keep everyone focused, moving in the same direction, innovating and challenging the status quo. In addition to simple growth, our profile is changing. Our residents are more diverse. We have been thinking of our children and our fresh air facilities, but what has happened to thinking about the retiring baby boomers? Eight years ago the Gold Line was an issue. Today — it still is. Sometimes I think we play too "nice" with the Met Council. It is time for a mayor who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and confront the real issues, instead of posturing for a higher office.

What's the biggest issue facing Woodbury?

Keeping the momentum that Mayor Hargis started for us, establishing a long-term solution to our water supply, and making our growing senior population and immigrant population feel welcomed and valued.

What could current city leadership be doing better?

Listening and embracing our diverse residents at a more personal level.

The Metropolitan Council expects Woodbury to add 20,000 residents by 2040. The city's 2040 Comprehensive Plan addresses this. What is your opinion of the plan and how will you begin to implement it?

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan might be trying to address this, but, read the plan carefully. Read Chapter 11 — Water Supply. Aside from estimating the potential location of wells and the fact we need flat water usage through 2030, there isn't a single quantifiable goal mentioned. When we don't know where we are going or how we might get there, how can we expect to succeed? It is set up for failure.

Read Chapter 7 — Transportation. It is 40 pages long, of which 12 pages are maps and one page spent telling us we do not have an airport.

Surely we could do better.

I find no fault by the author. I learned a long time ago that authors tend to write what the reader wants to read. Maybe that's what you need to write to make the Met Council happy, but it sure doesn't pass muster with me.

Hannah Black

Hannah Black is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. She is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism. Outside of reporting, she enjoys running, going to museums and trying new coffee shops. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her dog, Wendell.

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