ST. CLOUD -- Natalie Ratha is one of six political newcomers running for three open seats on the St. Cloud City Council. All three of the incumbents are also in the race.

Ratha is a native of the Milwaukee area and has lived in St. Cloud for the last 16 years.

She says she decided to run because she thinks more women need to get involved in local government.

I felt the need to run because I want to see more female representation and people my age -- I'm 42.  And, I think with my background and experience I have a lot to contribute.

Ratha says the city's budget deficit is a top concern. She also says if she gets elected the community's arts scene would be a focus for her.

The arts in St. Cloud have a major economic impact and I feel that supporting the arts in this community can really help out with any future development.

Ratha says she sees a lot of potential for more arts in town and envisions more murals in the downtown area similar to what was installed next to the Metro Transit station.

She says she also wants to help get more teenagers into the workforce.

She has a master's degree in public administration.

All of last week and this week we have been featuring each of the nine candidates running for St. Cloud City Council. Absentee voting is underway right now for the August 11th primary election, the top six people with the most votes will advance on to the general election in November.

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