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Willmar Ward 2 candidates want to serve their city

WILLMAR -- Both the candidates running for the open Willmar City Council seat in Ward 2 became interested in city government last winter and now want to take a more active role in the process. Vicki Davis, owner of the Goodness Coffee Shop, and C...

Erica Dischino / TribuneChristina Nelson, a web programmer and developer, answers a question during the 2018 League of Women Voters Willmar City Council Candidate Forum Tuesday at the Willmar Municipal Utilities building in Willmar. Nelson is running for the seat in Ward 2.
Erica Dischino / TribuneChristina Nelson, a web programmer and developer, answers a question during the 2018 League of Women Voters Willmar City Council Candidate Forum Tuesday at the Willmar Municipal Utilities building in Willmar. Nelson is running for the seat in Ward 2.

WILLMAR - Both the candidates running for the open Willmar City Council seat in Ward 2 became interested in city government last winter and now want to take a more active role in the process.
Vicki Davis, owner of the Goodness Coffee Shop, and Christina Nelson, a web programmer and developer, are running against each other to fill the open Ward 2 council seat.
Davis and Nelson shared their ideas and visions for Willmar during the candidate forum held by the League of Women Voters of the Willmar Area Tuesday night.
"I just love this city. I love Willmar for the rich place it is and what it can be," Nelson said. "I am a critical thinker, problem solver and planner. I can help design a vision for where we all see Willmar 20 years from now, but can also study and understand everyday decisions that will lead us in that direction in a positive way."
Davis said raising her 11 children and owning a small business will help her on the city council.
"I feel like I see things as a small business owner that would help me on the council," Davis said. She also feels she has the skills to be able to work with people who have different ideas than she does.
"We are neighbors, we should be friends," Davis said.
The questions asked at the forum, submitted by the audience members and on the League's website, covered a range of issues from plans for downtown and how to attract and retain families and seniors to politics on the city council and communication.
Streets and stormwater were top priorities for both Nelson and Davis, as well as housing and childcare which can be difficult for many income levels to find.
"It is not just low income, it is professionals that still can't afford, like teachers," Nelson said.
When it comes to activities for seniors, Davis and Nelson agreed a new community center is needed, in the current location, perhaps as a place to bring multiple generations together.
"It is very important and I do think we need a new one," Davis said.
Downtown was also a topic during the forum. Davis' business is located downtown and she said she loves it there, with its diverse communities and great people.
"Downtown is such a great place. It is so diverse," Davis said. "My hope is we can make it a beautiful place, to draw people there."
Nelson believes a vibrant downtown is essential to a city and she is glad Willmar has an active one. Both of the candidates also want the city hall and auditorium to remain downtown.
"I do believe a city hall should take place in the heart of the city and that is the downtown area," Nelson said. "I see it as an opportunity to create one central location for our city business. Everyone will know where to go."
The Willmar City Council is suppose to be non-partisan and Nelson and Davis both said they were act that way if elected.
"Getting proper streets, taking care of our flooding is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is a Willmar issue," Nelson said.
The council and city could also do a better job of communication with residents, perhaps by even changing how the public meetings are run.
"It could be improved," Davis said. "I feel like the meeting is intimidating, standing at the podium."
Nelson and Davis both said they love the city of Willmar and want to be a part of its future.
"I have lived here for a long time and I love Willmar," Davis said. "If you vote for me I would be honored to serve, to serve you all."
"I love this city and I believe in this city. It is a city worth investing in for the future," Nelson said.

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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