Tribune Opinion: Doug Reese is the best choice for Willmar mayor; City Council candidates are unopposed
For Willmar City Council, voters will elect Carl Shuldes to Ward 1 seat, Vicki David to Ward 2 seat, Rick Fagerlie to Ward 3 seat and Audrey Nelson to Ward 4 seat.
The candidates for the next Willmar mayor are Steve Peppin and Doug Reese.
Willmar voters have a choice between significant city experience versus little city experience.
Reese brings great experience as a public official — first with 26 years on the Willmar City Council and then one term on the Kandiyohi County Board. A Willmar resident of 40 years, he has a strong knowledge and understanding of Willmar, its history and its needs. Most importantly, he is a good leader and knows how to work with the City Council members and staff.
At a candidate forum, Reese outlined his top priorities: improving the city streets and infrastructure, including identifying a stable funding source and policy; improving single-family housing opportunities within the city; improving public safety and supporting law enforcement; and identifying and moving forward on a new city hall option.
Reese also has a strong focus on economic development — pointing out during his tenure the city’s development of a new airport, the Willmar Industrial Park expansion, the Willmar Wye and attracting new businesses. As a retired businessperson, Reese has that experience and understands the need to support the city’s current businesses and their growth, such as the new FexEx building.
Since coming to Willmar in 2003, Peppin is raising a family and opened several businesses here. He is grateful for his opportunities and wants to give back to the community. That is not enough to meet the role of mayor and the city's needs for the next four years.
For the next four years, Willmar needs a mayor who has management experience, one that can be a community and organizational leader, can work well with the City Council and staff, can work in partnership with private businesses, will envision strong city objectives, work collaboratively to achieve them and is not driven by a partisan political agenda.
Reese is the best candidate running for mayor and he can meet those city needs. He is our recommendation to be the next mayor of Willmar.
Willmar City Council
The City Council candidates are: Ward 1: Carl Shuldes, Ward 2: Vicki Davis, Ward 3: Rick Fagerlie and Ward 4: Audrey Nelsen.
All four candidates are running unopposed.
The Willmar City Council needs members that will work collaboratively, will listen to counsel and wisdom from staff and legal counsel, will work to build consensus, are not afraid to make decisions, are supportive of the Willmar Lakes Area and do what's right for Willmar residents.
Incumbents Vicki Davis and Rick Fagerlie have served well and deserve re-election. Newcomer Carl Shuldes is a first-timer candidate in Ward 1 and is a retired educator and coach. They are good choices for voters in those wards.
Incumbent Audrey Nelsen will be re-elected but this council member must work harder to bring solutions forward, not just criticism and problems. She should also bring more guidance and wisdom to the council from her board roles with the League of Minnesota Cities and Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities organizations.
This Tribune Opinion editorial is the opinion of the West Central Tribune Editorial Board, consisting of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan.