Meet the candidates running for Isanti City Council

The Isanti City Council primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 14. Filing for the two open four-year council seats are John Booth, Kimberly Horst, Adam Johnson, Rick Wegwerth, incumbent Steve Lundeen and Michael Streiff, who was appointed June 5 to an interim council seat.

The primary election will narrow the pool of candidates down to four. Two of the four will then be elected during the Nov. 6 election, along with one candidate for an open two-year seat. Running for the seat with an unexpired term ending December 2014 are Thomas Aleckson and Dan Collison.

The seats of council members Steve Lundeen, Jim Kennedy and Ross Lorinser will be open this fall. Two of them are four-year terms, while Lorinser’s term was set to expire at the end of 2014.

The Isanti County News asked candidates in the primary election about their qualifications and their priorities for the city of Isanti if elected to the city council. Five of the six candidates submitted responses; John Booth did not respond.

Kimberly Horst

Please tell us about yourself and any experience that makes you qualified for the position of Council Member.

Kimberly Horst

Kimberly Horst

I have lived in Isanti since 2001 and teach in the community. I have been a teacher since 1994. I began my journey into politics by working on an election campaign in 1996. Since then, I have served by working for several other elections, and as much as I have enjoyed campaigning, I am more proud to just be a citizen of Isanti. I have also been involved in  Isanti County Human Rights Council, and serve on the Isanti Parks and Recreation Board. I am actively involved in my church on leadership teams. I am eager to serve Isanti by bringing forth and standing behind ideas that work to enhance our community presently and into the future through common sense planning as we look forward to future generations.

If elected, what would be your priorities for the city of Isanti?
Isanti is a great place to live, work and play. My priorities include improving on safety and infrastructure, and preserving our historic downtown. They also include making Isanti competitive by bringing in more small businesses and supporting them instead of making it so hard for businesses to succeed.

Adam Johnson

Please tell us about yourself and any experience that makes you qualified for the position of Council Member.

Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson

I graduated from Cambridge-Isanti High School in 2002. After graduation I attended Bemidji State and Cambridge Community College. I entered the workforce as a CNC machinist and used my skills and knowledge to become the Quality Control Manager (QCM) of a young company that I have helped grow and prosper over the past five years. I am married to my wonderful wife Ashley, and we have a beautiful 4-year-old son, Austin. We have chosen to stay and build our lives and future in Isanti because of its strong sense of community. My wife and I are small business owners in Isanti County. As such, I believe I can help bring “good business sense” to the city of Isanti. I’ve worked hard to get where I am today and would love to work just as hard for you and help guide this city into the future. I have a broad perspective in dealing with daily issues. I see the big picture and am data driven. As a small business owner, I am well aware of the challenges we face in today’s economy. It takes sacrifice and tough decisions to survive. I am objective and can make the tough calls necessary to serve the citizens of Isanti well.

If elected, what would be your priorities for the city of Isanti?
If elected, I want to build the economic base in Isanti and bring in businesses that are profitable and growing. Businesses are important to the success of Isanti; we need to make our town a top destination for new business. I will work hard to remove the hassles and headaches that business owners often face when coming to our town. Building a strong economic base will allow Isanti to become a town of success and growth that all citizens can be proud to call home.

Steve Lundeen

Please tell us about yourself and any experience that makes you qualified for the position of Council Member.

Steve Lundeen

Steve Lundeen

I have been on the Isanti City Council for the last two years, along with the Public Works Board, Planning Commission and Property Committee, and I am a lifelong resident of the county. I have lived in the city of Isanti for several years and own my own business, SDL Services LLC, providing plumbing, heating and air conditioning services to people in the area. I had served on the Isanti Volunteer Fire Department for several years, and I am an active member of Faith Lutheran Church, having served on many church committees. I worked with my father’s business, “Don’s Plumbing and Heating” for several years. This gave me the opportunity to both meet and know many of the residents of Isanti and an understanding of the infrastructure of the city. As a plumber in the Local 15 Union in Minneapolis, I was the foreman on many jobs, running projects ranging from three to 25 people. This provided me with the experience to run budgets, manage labor, and ensure the projects were completed within budget and time frames.

If elected, what would be your priorities for the city of Isanti?
The biggest issue for Isanti is controlling costs for the residents of Isanti. I plan to continue to work to add commercial businesses to our community, keeping tight spending controls on city budgets and finding efficiencies in how to operate our city in a more cost-effective manner. Listening to the residents of the city of Isanti in answering their questions and concerns is always the most important responsibility of a council member, as well as making sure financial responsibility is followed in the city of Isanti by using common sense in each situation.

Michael Streiff

Please tell us about yourself and any experience that makes you qualified for the position of Council Member.

Michael Streiff

Michael Streiff

I feel I am most qualified due to my extensive background. I grew up on a farm, which provided a solid background in common sense, the meaning of hard work and pride in a job done correctly. I have a degree in business administration, which offered me the opportunity to take the everyday real-life experiences of operating my father’s farm and reinforce them with the knowledge I gained in college. I have worked for a community bank for 10 years, currently as Vice President, Credit Risk Manager. I am in charge of creating financial solutions for business lending customers in the bank’s very diverse footprint ranging from Lakeville, Minn., to Minot, N.D. I have served on the Isanti Planning Commission and as a current member of the Isanti City Council. It has been an honor to help guide the direction of our city as well as the planning and zoning of Isanti for the past five years. On top of all of this, my wife and I are currently raising six children here in Isanti. My background as listed above provides me with a good perspective on what the majority of Isanti residents and businesses experience on a daily basis.

If elected, what would be your priorities for the city of Isanti?
I would work to carry the will of all in each piece of legislation. I do not seek this office due to hidden agendas or personal opinions that do not exercise the best interest of all citizens. I will utilize planning/budgeting and policies that make sense to the common person. The city needs to utilize common sense and ideas that are fresh and new. For example, public works could share resources with surrounding communities, resulting in cost-cutting measures to Isanti. The state is handing fewer of our tax dollars back to Isanti, causing us to take a hard look at which services are essential. It is important that the voices of all are considered in making these decisions. Isanti needs to decrease dependence on funding from the state. Fewer businesses are spending on expansion and growth into Isanti. The city continues to experience high levels of foreclosures, plaguing the residential tax base. The council will need to work to enhance the tax base and reduce foreclosures. Citizens cannot afford any additional taxes. I will not support legislation to increase taxes. I will work personally to bring in businesses and fine-tune unnecessary spending of your tax dollars. I’m up to the challenge of working as a council member to promote Isanti.

Rick Wegwerth

Please tell us about yourself and any experience that makes you qualified for the position of Council Member.

Rick Wegwerth

Rick Wegwerth

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Rick Wegwerth and I am running for Isanti City Council this fall.  I am a relative newcomer to the city (since 2010). I’m married to my wonderful wife Anna, and have two stepchildren Ryan and Rachel. I am an Field Application Engineer for a global connector manufacturer. I believe that local government is the last remaining area of politics that an individual can make a positive difference. I believe I can serve the city well if elected because of my experience in problem solving and my enthusiasm to take on new challenges. I have served in business management for over 17 years. My positions of responsibility included management of employees, budgeting and solving complex business issues. I will use my 17 years of experience in business management to serve the people of Isanti.

If elected, what would be your priorities for the city of Isanti?
If elected, I would work closely with my fellow council members to promote economic growth in our city without compromising the best interest of the citizens. We must provide opportunities for the development of local businesses and promote the city as a great place to live, work and spend money. The city council must work closely with the mayor and city administrator to create ways of funding our necessary services without placing an overwhelming tax burden on the residents. I am a newcomer to the city; however, I am committed to seeing Isanti become a vibrant small town without losing its small town charm. I would enjoy the opportunity and look forward to working with the residents and businesses to make Isanti a great place to live and raise a family.

up arrow