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Tribune 2016 Endorsement: Elect Fernando Alvarado to Willmar's Ward 3 seat

Voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8 between Bob Enos and Fernando Alvarado for the open Ward 3 seat on the Willmar City Council. The winner will replace Steve Ahmann, who did not seek re-election.

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Fernando Alvarado

Voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8 between Bob Enos and Fernando Alvarado for the open Ward 3 seat on the Willmar City Council. The winner will replace Steve Ahmann, who did not seek re-election.

Ward 3 contains most of downtown Willmar and eastward along U.S. Highway 12, ending along U.S. Highway 71/23 Bypass.

Alvarado is the reasonable choice for this Ward 3 seat opening. He is a Navy veteran who relocated from New York to Minnesota for his college education. He later moved to Willmar, raised and educated his family here and has participated in the community.

A longtime insurance manager in Willmar, Alvarado recognizes that Willmar is changing and it is not the city it was a half-century ago. "This is Willmar 2016," he said. "This is the new Willmar. We have to embrace it" and build for the future.

Alvarado is a strong individual with a positive attitude, working for what's best for Willmar. He wants to help develop a vision for the city to help it grow and prosper, and make sure the city's infrastructure is in place for business growth.

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During a West Central Tribune interview, Alvarado said it is important for Willmar to make investments in the city. He is supportive of the proposed local option sales tax and its three regional-impact project areas.

Alvarado wants to help downtown Willmar embrace its future, work with all the people who live and work in the neighborhood and seek improvements where needed. He said downtown has a global mix of grocery, retail, legal, insurance, medical, government and nonprofit sectors.

His priorities on the City Council are to help develop a vision, set policy and priorities, work together with staff to build trust in city government, help find and hire the next city administrator and make Willmar a better place for future generations.

Alvarado said the city has a different energy and residents are looking for positive change. He is seeking to give back to the city and help build bridges between community sectors and groups. He wants to help the city and its residents work together to help build our future.

Meantime, Enos has been running another antagonistic campaign for a City Council seat. He is not a viable choice for the future of Willmar.

He moved from the East Coast to Willmar with his brother and is commended for serving as his sibling's primary caregiver. He also is not afraid to speak out about his concerns.

In general, he seldom has anything positive to say about our fair city. He tends to criticize and belittle those who disagree with his beliefs. Appointed to the Kandiyohi County and City of WIllmar Economic Development Commission's Operations Board in early 2013, he soon resigned after criticizing the EDC's direction, use of taxpayer funds and the City Council's approval of a business subsidy for a Willmar hotel/restaurant project. He has recently joined other nativist speakers in Midwest appearances and speaks disparagingly about Willmar and refugee resettlement.

Enos often is condescending, telling one Willmar audience recently he is overqualified for this City Council position. He has been a frequent critic of Willmar city government and its staff. He castigates the local business community. He bashes the local poultry industry and related businesses. He condemns downtown Willmar, even calling it a ghetto during an appearance this week. He disparages the quality of Ward 3 housing. He berates Willmar Public Schools and the new elementary building project. He lacks the understanding that the City Council has no role in the local school district, which is governed by a separate board.

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Enos' acrimony is not how Willmar works. His negative attitude would not benefit the city or the CIty Council, nor would it be conducive to addressing the challenges the city faces now or in the future.

We recommend Ward 3 voters elect Fernando Alvarado as their new City Council member on Nov. 8.

This editorial endorsement is the opinion of the West Central Tribune Editorial Board of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan.

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