City primaries: Candidates outline their goalsThe City Council has two races that, due to the number of candidates, has triggered a primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
The City Council has two races that, due to the number of candidates, has triggered a primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
The outcome from the primary will reduce the number of candidates in each race to two. Those two candidates go on to compete in the April spring election.
Here are profiles and explanations by the council candidates of their positions:
Tom Caflisch (incumbent), age 72, 508 Roosevelt Court; retired from a sales career; graduate of UW-River Falls; active in American Legion (veteran of the U.S. Navy), church activities, volunteered as a football coach at UW-RF; involved in community events; served on City Council past nine years representing District One; has also been elected to the St. Croix and Pierce county boards.
- I am running for re-election so that my experience can help keep the city on its current track. We have administrative and department head direction that is the best I've been associated with in all my years of experience. We have come to a forward direction that will keep River Falls viable for years to come.
We have one of the best industrial parks in the Midwest. We have companies who create jobs that are high tech and produce unique products and business. We need to keep this going.
The city staff has created a high bond rating from Moody's Investor service that helps us in getting low-interest loans when we need them.
The city’s portion of our tax bill has increased slightly only two times in the past decade. River Falls is a community that has a reputation for being a great place to live.
I want River Falls to stay professional in its relationship to community and business.
Robert Ebert, 55, married to Mari and has three sons: Brad, Tom and Ben. Ebert is a plant operator for Metro Council Environmental Services, has been in the U.S. Air Force School of Applied Science, is an environmental support specialist and has a UW-River Falls bachelor’s degree from the School of Agriculture and Science. Ebert has served on the City Council twice before. He is also on the Plan Commission and Park & Recreation Board. He enjoys trout fishing, gardening, woodworking, cooking and environmental/sustainability issues.
new and unique challenges. To meet these challenges, we will need new ideas, new solutions and a new vision for our community.
We will need to explore different ways to do what needs to be done, while forming new partnerships with nongovernmental organizations to build a leaner and greener community.
We need to be lean money-wise, personnel -- wise and policy-wise without jeopardizing our future. We need to be greener not because it is trendy, but because it is the future.
By greener I mean more green businesses, more local food production, more regional energy production and greener parks, greener homes and greener yards.
We can have both a leaner and greener city. A greener city park can be less expensive to maintain and more local food production would be good for both our economic and physical health. A green business such as a wood furniture maker using local material, local labor and local energy would be win, win, win situation.
With new challenges come new opportunities. We need new solutions, new ways of doing things, and, most of all, a new way of thinking that will lead us to a better future.
Todd Coleman,35, is a physics professor at Century College. Coleman majored in math and physics at Wittenberg University and earned a doctorate at UW-Madison. He serves on the board of directors for Heartland Montessori School in River Falls, and has coached youth soccer and T-Ball. He spends lots of time with his lively, smart 6-year-old daughter and is often known better as “Anika’s Dad.” Coleman and his wife are expecting their second child in April. Coleman is an avid follower of news and public affairs, and has many athletic pursuits (ultimate, basketball, triathlon, Nordic skiing, etc.)
- I am running for City Council because I want to serve the community. I believe I have a perspective and a skill set that would be valuable to the council and to the residents of River Falls.
I would provide a voice for parents of young children, who make up a considerable portion of our community but whose perspective is not always evident on the council. I think that city government plays an integral role in making River Falls a desirable place to live.
As examples, we have a wonderful public library and a Parks and Recreation program that is the envy of other communities. In times of economic hardship for the city and its citizens, we should strive to provide smarter, more efficient public services -- not simply fewer or lower quality services.
My main goal for River Falls is to maximize the value of city government -- high quality at reasonable cost. We need to plan for the future growth of our community while preserving and enhancing our city services.
We can and should explore mutually beneficial partnerships with other stakeholders --local businesses, our local colleges and our excellent public school system -- to provide better government at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.
Josh Hudek is 35 and has lived in River Falls since meeting his wife, Anna (Huppert), 12 years ago. Hudek has been a small-business owner at J Squared Systems, graduated from UW-River Falls with a political science degree, founded a nonprofit corporation Grow to Share and began a family. He has a 5-year-old daughter, Alexa. For the past five years Hudek has worked at Lund’s Hardware & Fly Shop.
- I made the decision to run for council because I care greatly about the growing economic issues now facing our community and the impact they will have on our children's future.These include funding and purchasing decisions and increased levels of homelessness, hunger, and domestic violence.
Many of these issues have been at the forefront of local discussions over the past year and the council has taken some action on them. My concern is that some of the steps taken and those being discussed could potentially miss their intended target.
For example; I'm not against the city purchasing land for future development. My concern comes when the existing corporate park has vacancies and is home to businesses that could be occupying vacant retail/office space downtown. Zoning must address this at the new park.
Additionally, why give a no-interest loan for a four-plex homeless shelter that only accepts families and passes the collection and enforcement of the loan on to future councils? This is not an answer. Our leaders must face these issues by offering honest solutions for the situations we face and those involved. I intend to do so if elected and ask for your support.
Nick Carow, 28, graduated from River Falls High School in 2001 and attended UW-River Falls for political science. Carow served in the Marine Corps infantry from 2002-06. He is married and in management for Caribou Coffee.
In his leisure, Carow loves to read about history and politics, work out, fish, and spend time with his family and at church and with his animals. He recently took the “Polar Plunge” with his company in White Bear Lake, Minn.
- I'm running to bring common sense accountability to City Hall. I will strive to help elevate the discussion of the future of River Falls and to bring a fresh, dynamic voice to government.
I believe in finding cost-effective solutions, and I want to help revitalize our economic climate while staying true to our small-town ideals. We have great industrial parks, and we should continue to bring great businesses to our city.
I would like to help develop a neighborhood partnership for citizens who need the help with shoveling and plowing snow. I would like to work with UW-RF, the mayor, and City Council to create a city wellness program.
I would like to use common-sense education to help encourage us to be healthy without mandates and regulations. When you look at what the school district is seeking this April, it reinforces the importance of being fiscally responsible, and preserving what we have.
As a young Marine, I did not take my oath for one side or the other. I took the oath as an American, and I would be honored to take that same oath for all the residents of River Falls.”
Randy Kusilek (incumbent) is 47, married with two children, 10 and 11, and is a funeral director’s apprentice at Cashman-Hill Funeral Home.
, and I think that in that time the council has made some very good choices for River Falls.
Some examples are the renovation on the south side of Lake George; changing refuse haulers to save the citizens money; being conscious about projects that are a need and not a want; and, most recently, the purchase of the land west of town for future needs.
Being from River Falls all my life, I have seen the city grow into one of the nicest cities around the area. Being on the council has opened my eyes on the bigger picture of the needs for River Falls.
We need to be looking to the future and what is best for the people of River Falls.
I think we need to bring more industry for jobs into the area and use our local resources for our benefit.
I have enjoyed being on the City Council and have enjoyed working with the city staff and employees as well as with the citizens of River Falls.
WHERE TO VOTE
Tuesday primary also feature an election for state Supreme Court justice.
In the city, voters go to one of four polling places
- District 1 (Wards 1,2,3,4 &13): National Guard Armory, corner of West Division and Grove Street.
- District 2 (Wards 8,9 &10): UW-River Falls University Center, with the entrance reached off Sixth Street from Cascade Avenue.
- District 3 (Wards 5,6 &7): Meyer Middle School, 230 N. Ninth St., north entrance.
- District 4 (Wards 11&12): high school, 818 Cemetery Road.
Call the City Clerk’s office at 715-426-3408.
Town residents voting in the state Supreme Court primary do so at their town halls.
All polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.