Two Incumbents, Two Newcomers Vie For Waite Park Council Seats
WAITE PARK -- Four Waite Park residents are looking to fill two open seats on the city council.
Newcomers Gary Morgenroth and Shawn Blackburn are challenging incumbents Vic Schultz and Frank Theisen for the positions.
Schultz is one of two incumbents seeking re-election. He's lived his Waite Park for about 32 years and is very passionate about the city. Schultz is a small business owner and has worked for the state for 35 years. He says if re-elected he would like to continue working to keep taxes in check.
We work hard to pay our taxes and I don't think we should be wasting our money. I'm very frugal on how we use our taxes. If you think about our tax rate in Waite Park the mill rate has not raised in over five years.
He says the city has gone through some tremendous advancements over the years and he would like to continue to be a part of that movement.
Morgenroth moved to Waite Park in 2002 after previously living in St. Cloud. He grew up in New York Mills and spent 28 years working for the trucking industry. His interest in politics began about 18 years ago. He decided to run because he could no longer sit back and watch from the stands. Morgenroth says there are major issues going on in our society and we need to stand up for our rights and freedoms.
You go to a city council meeting, if there is six to ten people there in attendance that's a big number. These rooms should be full of people holding the people they voted for accountable for what they said they were doing to do for you. There should be someone going to the microphone every time something is brought up for open discussion, there should be someone standing there challenging what is put on the table.
He says there is a problem with city infrastructure and management and changes need to happen. He adds this is an important election and we need to work toward getting the sanity back into our society.
Blackburn has lived in the Waite Park for the past 8 years. He first got into city government three years ago when he first ran for city council. Blackburn now serves on the Stearns County and Waite Park Planning Commission and is involved with the Waite Park Amphitheater Committee. He says he's learned a lot since his first attempt at the city council.
I'm impressed with the process and the people we have involved on the local level. It seems to me a lot more people are getting involved by showing up for hearings and making their opinions heard. It's a great progression and I think we need to wake that up a little more.
Blackburn says there is a lot of great things happening in Waite Park and he would like to continue to play a role in making that change.
Incumbent Theisen has been serving on the city council for the last 17 years. He has been volunteering in the community since he was about 8-years-old. He is married and has a daughter that attends St. Cloud State University, where he currently works. Theisen says if re-elected he would like to see more beautification to the city.
I would like to see more beautification brought to 3rd Street, one side looks great but the other side not so much. I would also like to plant trees in the boulevards of original Waite Park. They are gone now and I remember them being there and would like to see some part of that come back.
Theisen says he's always been a proud citizen of Waite Park. He adds he's put a lot of work into planning and developing many of the city's amenities and believes his experience on the council will be an added benefit towards the future.
The city council positions are four-year terms. The general elections are on November 6th.