Plowman: Make next 25 years better than last
WILLMAR -- Andrew Plowman says he is a candidate for the Ward 1 seat on the Willmar City Council in the Nov. 4 general election because he cares greatly about the future of the community, families, children and neighbors.
WILLMAR - Andrew Plowman says he is a candidate for the Ward 1 seat on the Willmar City Council in the Nov. 4 general election because he cares greatly about the future of the community, families, children and neighbors.
Plowman, 31, who is seeking the four-year seat currently held by Bruce DeBlieck, said 9 out of 10 people he has talked to have opinions and concerns about the community, but don’t always have the time or energy to do “politics.”
“I don’t blame them,’’ said Plowman. “The one way that we can affect things locally is by being involved and part of that is electing people who we feel share those same concerns and will represent us honestly and communicate openly. The next 25 years need to be even better than the last. This is our opportunity to do that.’’
Plowman said he is longtime citizen of more than 30 years, a taxpayer, a voter and a concerned citizen.
“That qualifies any of us to be involved and elected by our peers. Beyond that, I have worked for a local manufacturer working with business professionals for 11 years. I have served on local political organizations, along with state and national delegations. I have the ability to learn and adapt quickly to a process. I enjoy and look forward to learning and growing from those who have gone before me,’’ he said.
When asked what he believes are the top city priorities, Plowman said Willmar will only be as good as the people who live and work here.
“If our economy is growing, specifically with job and business opportunities, then all residents will benefit. With job growth comes increased demand for other growth, specifically food and recreation for families, young people, professionals, etc.,’’ he said.
Also, he said an atmosphere of participation, openness and honesty is needed.
“We need to feel comfortable with our leadership, to understand what is going on and how our money is being spent. Solid relationships between citizens, the council and city staff will be vital for moving our community in the right direction,’’ he said.
Plowman said maintenance is the solution to catch up on unmet infrastructure needs for street repairs, city buildings and parks. Plowman said infrastructure is an investment.
“We need to develop (or rebuild) a plan for each area and then stick to it. It has been proven over and over again that solid maintenance saves far more money over the long run as opposed to letting things fall into disrepair and then building from scratch,’’ he said.
“If we need a new plan and some new construction to get back-to-speed, fine. But moving forward, a transparent plan needs to be developed by citizens, the council and city staff, and then used. Like with everything else, it’s only a good investment if we take a financially balanced approach,’’ Plowman said.
Plowman said many things are right with Willmar, which is why his family is here and also why he has hope for the future. He said the city can be a business hub in west central Minnesota with its location along major travel lanes.
“We have modern/expanding health care facilities and senior care. We have diverse and growing options for education and we have solid infrastructure, including water distribution, a new airport, tech campus, industrial park and so on. We have people who have rural Minnesota values, regarding family, responsibility and freedom,’’ said Plowman.
When asked if he believes the City Council is dysfunctional, Plowman said the council “hired an expert and decided his opinion/suggestions were worth a lot of money, not only if we liked the outcome. This expert basically put their business on the line to give a piece of professional insight that many did not agree with 100 percent.’’
Plowman said that even if the expert was 75 percent right, “we should still acknowledge what they say. Experts only say that something is dysfunctional/irreparable if they do not believe that existing individuals are willing to meet in the middle, putting aside personal feelings. If that is ‘dysfunction,’ then yes, I would agree. I expect new leadership/council to help put this problem in the past, where it belongs.’’