1. Why are you running for office at this time?
2. What skills and strengths do you bring to the council and city? What should people know about you and your qualifications for this office?
3. What makes you most proud of your city?
4. What do you feel are the top three challenges for the city today, and how would you suggest resolving them?
5. What do you believe should be top spending priorities for the city’s limited funds?
Frank Eder (mayor)
[did not return questionnaire]
Brenda Carlson (mayor)
Occupation: Managing Director of Operations
Government/City experience: 4 years Watkins city council, 2 years Watkins EDA committee, 8 years Watkins Lioness, 4 years as Lioness Secretary
1. I love the Watkins community. We have a great little town, outstanding community members and I want to see us all prosper within our city. I enjoy working within the government policies and guidelines to benefit the members of our community. I want to continue to find ways to support our existing businesses while bringing in more business opportunities for our community.
2. I have 20 years of experience in managing a multi-million dollar annual budget and the day to day operations of a large facility. I thrive on policy and procedure and work to find efficiencies, while providing the best possible solution for a particular audience as needed. I am dedicated to the improvement and betterment of our community. I believe that as mayor, it is an honor and a privilege to serve the community; to listen and understand what they want for their town and act accordingly.
3. Our community members make me most proud. When disaster or tragedy strikes, we pull together. We look out for each other and come together to help each other out when the worst has happened.
We are Watkins Tough! and I am always proud to say I live in Watkins.
4. Stagnant local business and affordable housing are the two biggest issues facing our community.
We can’t afford to lose local businesses and we need to bring in more business opportunities to sustain our city. We don’t need to be a metropolis, as we all enjoy our small town atmosphere; but we need to be able to provide jobs, local shopping and essentials within our own community.
As mayor and an ongoing member of the EDA committee, I will continue to look for ways to help our existing business owners prosper, while bringing new business to town.
Of course, in order to bring in new business; we also need to have affordable housing available to local workers and their families. I will continue to work with the EDA and find developers to assist us in providing single and multi-family housing options within our city. We have several acres of available property ready to be developed for housing; we need to make this a top priority.
5. We need to run our city like a business to increase our business. We need to invest in our future to ensure we can all live in a safe, economically stable community. This includes offering opportunities to businesses to attract them to our community or help existing businesses stay. We need to provide affordable housing to attract the workers. Increased businesses and housing, increases our tax base to help support our infrastructure.
Kathleen “Tootz” Tschumperlin (council)
1. I am running for this office at this time because I have been a council member for some time now and I feel that I can keep on doing what has to be done for the good of the town.
2. I have been living in the Watkins area all my life and I care what happens in Watkins. I am proud to be living in Watkins.
3. It is great how the people pull together if someone needs help. We can walk down the street and people will greet each other.
4. a. We have got to support our local businesses in order to keep them here. It’s what keeps our city prosperous. We must also keep trying to get new businesses to want to come here.
b. Another area we are working on is affordable housing. We have to have space available for people to live and that will also help to keep our businesses and help to bring in new.
c. I feel that we must keep improving our city.
Jason Laumer (council)
1. I am running for Watkins city council because our family has been given so much by our community and I feel that I have the time and some perspective to be able to give back by serving on the city council. I think we have great people working for our town, and I would like to be able to help them move our town forward. I have gotten to know several of them by serving on the city planning and zoning board over the past five years; they are wonderful people to work with, and I look forward to serving our town to the best of my abilities.
2. I have lived in small-town farming communities my entire life. I grew up on a farm outside of Danube, Minn. It had a population of around 500 people when I was there. I know how small towns work. I have lived in Watkins for 16 years and have gotten to know who people are and what is important to our community. I do not have a lot of history here, which I think is a good thing. I don’t come in with preconceived ideas about people. I will be fair and make decisions that are best for the entire community. I have been on the planning and zoning board for five years and have learned how Watkins Works; that experience I believe is very valuable to taking the next step to serving on the city council.
3. I am proud of Watkins because of the people who make up this community. Our faith, families, and friends are what make us an amazing town!
4. a. We need to figure out how to lower taxes in our small community; we have one of the highest taxes of any of the surrounding towns. I think the only way to lower the tax burden is to attract business and grow to spread the tax burden out.
b. Housing needs to be available and affordable. Good single-family housing and multi-family housing units need to be available and kept up to attract new families and keep our current residents here. You can keep it affordable by getting taxes lower.
c. We need to keep our current business that we do have in town and providing jobs for our residents. If we lose businesses, we lose our jobs and people. We need to do everything we can to make good decisions about our future.
5. I really would like to take a look at our police coverage and see what we can do to improve the amount of time we have a physical presence in town. It takes too long, in my opinion, to get someone into town when there is not a deputy in town. We need to take care of the great people we currently have employed by the city; they do a great job and we need to keep them here! Our town is a great place to live, and I will do my best to make good decisions that will benefit our entire community.