Alexandria Mayor Candidate: Mark PedersonRunning for Alexandria Mayor
Q: Please list your background and specific qualifications for this position.
A: I am a lifelong resident of Alexandria. I have been married 33 years to Jan (Raap), have three grown children and three grandchildren. I am a graduate of Jefferson High School. My background is in construction as a carpenter, contractor and developer. I attend St. Mary’s parish and am a member of the Knights of Columbus. Other organizations I belong to include Eagles Lodge, Elks Lodge, where I served as exalted ruler and on the board of trustees, Viking Sportsmen, and I am a life member of the NRA and Minnesota Deer Hunters. I was a member of the Alexandria Economic Development Board until 2006. I know many of the fine people and businesses in this community and will work hard to serve all of their best interests.
Q: What do you view as the biggest challenge facing Alexandria right now and how would you deal with it?
A: I believe the biggest hurdles Alexandria faces right now are similar to what many other cities of the same size are facing: maintaining and updating existing infrastructure, attracting new businesses and keeping our taxes at a fair level so to encourage growth and development. I would like to hear from members of our local business community as to what they think is necessary to promote our city and what the city could do, or not do, to lend assistance.
I want our city council to make fair and informed decisions that will benefit all. Our city budget must remain in the black but should not be made up only on the backs of the homeowners whose assessed values have dropped and taxes increased. City government needs to cut where necessary to the benefit of the voting public. Cooperation with county officials would also be a high priority to avoid duplicating services and fees.
Q: What are your feelings about having an event center in the city? How much involvement should the city have in such a project?
A: An event center is an issue that I am not familiar with. I would like to know how big, how much, where located, who is using it and who is running it before making an opinion. However, I am not in favor of paying a consulting firm for its study of the issue. That is what your council was elected to do.
Q: Is Alexandria doing enough to keep local property taxes low? What are some specific cost saving ideas you have for the budget?
A: I’d love to see property taxes go down, but with the recent annexations and extension of the city’s infrastructure to those areas, I just don’t see it happening. I hope, after examining the budget, we will be able to implement specific cost-saving measures in some, if not all, of the city departments.
With the recent downturn in the economy, it is only fair for the city to do its part by tightening its belt as well. I am most certainly not in favor of raising any more taxes or fees. If anything, they should be lowered to make Alexandria a more attractive place to future business growth and employment. Bottom line: we need to live within our means!
Q: Considering the fact that the mayor does not vote or make motions at council meetings, how will you accomplish your goals? Describe your style of leadership.
A: I’ve been a boss, had employees, and know there are challenges. The position of mayor puts you front and center as the point man for the city. I would strive for a spirit of cooperation on the council. The dialogue should be informative and civil. All need to be heard.
My goals for the future are to promote Alexandria to the max. We have a fantastic business park, so let’s go after more businesses. Our work force is second to none. Let’s keep them all busy.
We absolutely need to be in touch with the commissioners to eliminate, or at the very least, diminish wasteful duplication of services. Sometimes, the trait of “gentle persuasion” may need to be employed to accomplish this.
I will do my very best to serve the citizens and businesses in Alexandria. This community has been my home for more than 50 years, and I would be honored and humbled to serve as its mayor.