Editorial: Calvin is our pick for mayor in Willmar
The city of Willmar is at a crossroads in 2014 as citizens go to the polls to decide on a new mayor. For several years, this city has experienced a leadership vacuum in the mayor's office as well as conflict and infighting within the City Council.
The city of Willmar is at a crossroads in 2014 as citizens go to the polls to decide on a new mayor. For several years, this city has experienced a leadership vacuum in the mayor’s office as well as conflict and infighting within the City Council.
The city needs to restore new leadership to rekindle respect, revitalize trust and develop a collective community vision, which in turn can improve this city’s image and stature within west central Minnesota.
It is time for new leadership to move Willmar forward into this 21st century. Willmar citizens have a choice for mayor of two declared candidates - Marv Calvin or Zack Liebl - and one write-in candidate - Bob Skor.
Calvin, 58, is a strong candidate with proven leadership, vision and collaborative skills. Currently, he is the fire training liaison for Minnesota State Colleges and University System. A paramedic graduate of Century College, he has also served in firefighter and/or paramedic roles in Pennock, Apple Valley and Burnsville. A Willmar native and graduate, he returned to Willmar in 2000 to work as full-time fire chief and fire marshal in Willmar, serving more than 12 years. He has extensive community service including Kandiyohi County Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, Kandiyohi County Area YMCA, Lake Andrew improvement Association, Willmar Community-Owned Grocery and Willmar Lakes Vision 2040.
Liebl, 25, is also a candidate with a record of leadership and community involvement. Currently, he is an Army National Guard officer and an outreach coordinator for the Willmar Community-Owned Grocery. A Kandiyohi County native and a home-schooled graduate, he is also a graduate of Ridgewater College and St. John’s University. His community involvement includes: Vision 2040, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, The Barn Theatre, Willmar Noon Rotary, Willmar Downtown Development (formerly Willmar Design Center) and Kandiyohi County 4-H. He has also been active in Republican and Independence parties, including running for the House 17B seat in 2012.
Skor, 62, did not file to run for Willmar mayor, but chose to run as a write-in candidate, which enabled him to avoid the August primary. Currently retired, he is a certified structural and pipe welder for 35 years and a former railroad employee. A Willmar graduate, his community involvement includes Neighborhood Watch, Tri-County Street Roads and Minnesota Street Rod Association.
Liebl is a young leader with good potential, but we believe he missed an opportunity by passing on a city council run in 2014. He is smart, enthusiastic, involved and has a willingness to serve. He has positive objectives for the city, but this is not the race nor the time for him.
Skor is not the type of candidate Willmar needs at this time. One of his primary reasons for running is to “educate” those who are here on how to be a “proper” Willmarite. Such a view is borderline nativism, a belief or policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants. That is not the type of leadership Willmar needs now, especially in the 21st century.
Calvin is an experienced leader, who has demonstrated the critical skills to listen, build collaboration and consensus, make decisions when necessary, maintain respect, work with people, be a community cheerleader, make public appearances and, finally, efficiently and properly manage a meeting.
He wants to re-engage Willmar’s leadership for the benefit of the city, Kandiyohi County and west central Minnesota. He is an experienced civic manager with strong budget experience. He understands the importance of infrastructure, the importance of adequate maintenance and the wisdom of planning for that investment. Overall, Calvin has the leadership, wisdom, respect and optimism that Willmar needs now in the office of mayor.
The West Central Tribune endorses Marv Calvin for election as Willmar mayor on Nov. 4.