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Candidate Profile: Taylor wants to be liaison to citizens

Rich Taylor said he is a candidate for the Ward 2 seat on the Willmar City Council in the Aug. 12 primary election because he wants to be the liaison for citizens.

Also running are incumbent councilman Ron Christianson and challenger Steve Gardner.

“I believe strongly in the city of Willmar. I want to see Willmar grow in a positive direction and I want to be the political voice of the people that feel that their voice is never heard.

“I hear too often citizens will bring their concerns to city officials and they feel that concerns are partially or even never addressed. Every citizen of Willmar should be able to voice their concerns to a city leader and if they do not feel they are able to do so, I want to be their liaison.’’

Taylor, whose father Bill Taylor served as Spicer City Council member and mayor, said he has seen very positive outcomes that city council members can make in a city. City council members may not agree with each other on every topic that is brought to them. This is not realistic because everyone is an individual with individual thoughts and beliefs.

“What a council member must do is place their personal beliefs aside and sit back and analyze what is in the best interest of the city and the citizens of the city,’’ he said.

What’s right with Willmar?

Taylor said the city is financially stable. He also said Vision 2040 is good vision to adhere to. He wants to focus on the future, put the past aside and do what is in the best interest of Willmar and its citizens.

City’s role in encouraging economic development

Taylor commends Jennie-O Turkey Store for the expansion of its corporate offices. He said Jennie-O is a great company and a great asset to the community. He said the City Council needs to be proactive and support industries, which he thinks they are doing. He feels the industrial park area is growing but at a pace that he thinks could maybe be developed a little quicker.

Changing culture

He said Willmar is becoming a melting pot with people coming here from overseas.

“Change is going to occur, just like our ancestors. We were once the newcomers as well. We have to accept them coming into our community and help with whatever way we can.’’

He said Willmar is increasingly a diversity community, which shows it is a great community to live in with great potential for people to move here.

“Change is occurirng all over the U.S. and is going to occur whether we like it or not. Change is hard to deal with and makes people do things they are not accustomed to. I know humans can adapt to change over time and this is what we need to keep in mind. Diversity is a challenge because it is reaching into the unknown for many of us. We as a city have to accept them. We have to learn from them.’’

Privatization of city services

Taylor said he is not about micromanaging and believes in the teamwork approach.

“When it comes to privatization, yes, it does need to occur at some level, but working as a team is the ultimate goal.’’

Solution for street repairs

Taylor said he likes to follow policy. But if the policy does not seem to be working, “then you have to take another look at it.’’ Taylor said he would like to talk to the city engineer about the policy and see what other cities do in budgeting plans and repairs and see what’s working and what’s not.

Low morale among city employees

Taylor said this is a question among many citizens. He said morale is huge and he said things won’t get done if morale is poor.

“What needs to occur is they need to work together as a team and look at the best interests of the city and citizens. Positive morale equals positive outcome.’’

Candidate’s comments were taken from appearances on KWLM’s Open Mic program and the Willmar Area League of Willmar Voters’ Candidate Forum.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150