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ELECTION GUIDE: Cloquet Mayor

 

October 21, 2022

CLOQUET MAYOR

Roger Maki (Incumbent)

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (limit 50 words)

I was born in Cloquet, raised in Esko and my wife, Peggy, and I moved to Cloquet in 1971. I have a B.S. degree in social science, political science from UMD. I served as Ward 3 councilor for eight years and mayor since 2019. I'm also a Realtor Emeritus and still work in real estate.

What made you decide to run for mayor this year? (limit 35 words)

I decided to run for reelection because I believe that with my honesty, integrity, knowledge and experience, I have much to offer our citizens.

Inflation and insurance are driving city costs up. If elected, how would you prioritize the various expenses and departments? (limit 100 words)

We have recently completed the process of setting our preliminary budget. Our city administrator and department heads have worked very hard to estimate the money that will be needed to fund the city's business in 2023. However, we don't know what will happen in the next year that will cause adjustments to be made. I believe that my job, along with the council, is first of all to protect the health and safety of our residents. I will continue to strive to meet all city needs at the lowest possible expense.

Name one other top issue facing Cloquet and how you would like to see it addressed. (limit 100 words)

Another top issue facing Cloquet is housing. We have a tremendous lack of rental property, which is keeping some people from taking jobs in Cloquet and also causing some homeowners, especially senior citizens, not to sell their homes because they can't find a suitable place to live if they did. I believe we need to "think outside the box" to come up with land where apartments or condos could be built. I want to consider selling lots in our industrial park, which has city water and sewer and many available lots. This serious issue needs to be fixed.

Elaborate on one thing you think the council handled well over the past two years. (limit 75 words)

Our city council has four new members since the election of 2018, along with a new mayor. The previous council went through a two-year period of disagreement and in-fighting which had Cloquet in the news, but not because of good accomplishments. Councilors and the mayor treat each other with respect. Members know they can state their opinions without fear of causing a fight. It's an honor to work with this group.

Why should people vote for you? (limit 35 words)

People should vote for me so that I can continue my commitment to working hard to better the lives of the residents of Cloquet. I appreciate the honor of serving as our mayor.

David Bjerkness

Briefly summarize your personal background and qualifications. (limit 50 words)

I am a lifelong resident of Cloquet and raised three sons here. I served on the City Council for 17 years, the Economic Development Authority for 15 years as well as multiple boards and committees. I am a retired Architect - a professional listener, consensus builder and problem solver.

What made you decide to run for mayor this year? (limit 35 words)

We enjoy a quality of life here that many take for granted and others envy. I can offer the leadership required to sustain what we have and for residents and businesses to continue to prosper.

Inflation and insurance are driving city costs up. If elected, how would you prioritize the various expenses and departments? (limit 100 words)

Public Safety and Public Works need to be our financial priorities. The health, safety and welfare of our residents and businesses is critical to our success as a community. Funding our basic needs such as safe drinking water, adequate water supply to our large and small business consumers, plowed streets and crime reduction allows us to thrive.

These basic services enhance our economic viability. They are not always visible, but they make us attractive as a place to visit, build or purchase a house, raise a family and start or grow a business.

Name one other top issue facing Cloquet and how you would like to see it addressed. (limit 100 words)

The workforce of a thriving economy requires adequate and affordable housing. Cloquet struggles with the challenge of a housing shortage. We aren't unique, it's a national problem but solutions need to be driven locally.

We have made strides with some innovative projects and partnerships but the gap still exists. We need to continue to seek collaborative opportunities and funding with our state, county, tribal and private partners.

Land availability served by utilities is a hurdle. I recommend reviewing and updating portions of the comprehensive plan and policies that deal with housing development and utility extensions.

Elaborate on one thing you think the council handled well over the past two years. (limit 75 words)

The Police Department has undergone significant change due to new leadership and the retirements of our most experienced officers. This change has been well planned and managed. Unlike most cities, we have remained fully staffed and seen a reduction in crime during what was a challenging time. I support funding continued training of these young officers and focusing on Community Policing and public engagement.

Why should people vote for you? (limit 35 words)

I offer Proven Experienced Leadership. I'm retired and can be a fully engaged mayor, always willing and available to meet and work with residents, businesses and our political partners.

 
 

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