ROCHESTER, Minn. – Come November 8th, voters in Rochester will be deciding on who they’d like to see lead the city council for the next four years. Incumbent Randy Staver and challenger Sean Allen are running for City Council President.
Staver was elected to the council in 2010 serving the 5th ward. He was then elected to council president in May of 2013 after a special election. He’s seeking a second term. Staver has more than 20 years of experience in various community service positions, and said he’s running again to ensure the city continues its policies to promote fiscally responsible growth.
“A dominant task for myself personally will be to transition our government to the future,” Staver explains. “We have a fair number of senior staff that will be retiring within the next few years, we have a great number of opportunities to revamp our government so that it better reflects where we’re trying to head as a city.”
Staver is being challenged by Sean Allen, who moved to Rochester in 2001 to run the First Homes program for the Rochester Area Foundation. During that time, Allen helped develop or finance over 1,000 affordable housing units in the Rochester and surrounding areas. In 2012, he left that and started doing his own real estate development and consulting. Just last year, he and his wife opened the Forager Brewery in Rochester.
“The next four years are going to be pivotal for how we grow, changing some of the systems that we have that are outdated, and catching us up,” says Allen. “So, I really wanted to be apart of that and bring my talents as a business person and somebody that has been an advocate for neighborhoods and somebody who has been a real estate developer, I think those skills are not on the council right now and I wanted to bring those to the council.”
Both candidates agree that there are several challenges elected officials will be facing within the next four years, including tackling affordable housing and transportation concerns. We asked each of them about some top priorities they would have if elected.
“Depending on who we talk to, we could talk about housing or transportation, or things like food trucks and Uber things of that nature,” Staver explains. “So there’s just quite a variety [of priorities] and of course there will be limitations in resources in terms of tax revenues and staffing resources so I think the challenge will continue to be balancing priorities and resources.”
“We have to put DMC into context,” Allen explains. “We’re a big community, we’re growing, DMC is just one small part of it really. I think that it’s important how we grow, the downtown is just one part of our community as well, all the neighborhoods, the places in our community that are growing and changing is also a priority for me.”
Something we like to ask all the candidates running is to tell us something they want voters to know about them.
“I’m a passionate guy, I love problem solving, I love strategic, kind of systematic approaches to solving problems and I don’t think our current council has been doing that,” says Allen. “Everything is kind of a one-off situation where, we have a project and we look at that particular project. I don’t want to just build a series of projects, I want us to build a city, I want us to build a community and it needs to be inclusive of everybody in the community. It needs to take into account the views of the people that already live here and I’m really passionate about that,” he continues. “I think we need to enhance the voices of the community.”
“One thing I continue to believe, and I know there’s been a lot of talk of outside influence, but I believe very passionately in our community and the people that live here,” says Staver. “That’s my number one goal is to listen to our community and try to make the best decisions possible.”
Besides At-Large, there are three city council seats that will be on the ballots; wards 2, 4, and 6. For information about the city council candidates and financial reports, follow the link below: