Willmar Ward 4 voters face the choice of incumbent Jim Dokken or challenger Susana Hunnicutt. This Willmar City Council race will be a decision about an obstructionist council member or a newcomer candidate.
We cannot see a clear decision in this race.
Dokken has owned his own business and worked as a school bus driver. He has served 10 years on the City Council. Retired from the Air Force, he is highly involved in veteran affairs. We commend him for his service -- past and present. We also like his idea of broadcasting the City Council's committee meetings.
However, Dokken's weakness lies in his inability to lead or inspire. He often tends to be part of the obstruction, instead of seeking and developing workable solutions. More importantly, he often lacks a positive perspective for the future of Willmar and doesn't understand the importance of investing in the city's future.
He was one of four council members to walk out of a City Council meeting on Westwind earlier this year. He tends to follow others' cues, rather than make his own decision. Frankly, his negativity is counter-productive and his contribution is often limited.
Hunnicutt is a concerned citizen who cares about Willmar citizens. She has served since 1999 on the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority board of directors. She is sincere. Her key issues include improving infrastructure, solving the city's storm water challenge and improving employment and education.
However, as a first-time candidate, she does not have the depth of understanding needed on the City Council. If Ward 4 voters really believe they need a change, then Hunnicutt is their choice.
In our opinion, Dokken has not earned re-election and Hunnicutt is not ready for office. The West Central Tribune does not endorse either candidate for this office.