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Mayoral candidates answer a question

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For the first time in eight years, a mayoral race is taking place in Alexandria.

Voters will decide between incumbent mayor Dan Ness and challenger Virgil Batesole. The winner will serve a four-year term.

In an effort to give voters more information, the newspaper gave each of the candidates a "homework assignment."

They were each asked to answer, in 200 words or less, a simple question: Why are you running for mayor?

Here are their responses:

Dan Ness

"I am running for mayor again because the momentum from the past eight years pushes me along. I would like to see a few more things come to fruition.

"We have an excellent, professional city staff working for us, our city council members are all very dedicated and hard working and the economic professionals we have do a tremendous job for us. Our various boards and commissions work very well. ALP provides dependable and economical utilities for our comfort. We have beautiful parks and recreational facilities. Our public safety departments are top-notch in every respect. The north Broadway beautification pro-ject continues to make that area one of the nicest in town.

"I believe my CPA training and experience has contributed to the leadership and foresight these past eight years. We came through several years of difficult budgeting without eliminating jobs or cutting services. I am the past president of the Minnesota Mayors Association and the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. I served three years on the Board of Directors of the League of Minnesota Cities. I am on the Fire Service Advisory Board and DNR's Statewide External Advisory Committee for their Shoreland Rules Update Project.

"Go big mo!"

Virgil Batesole

"My interest in Alexandria city government spans nearly two decades. I've regularly at-tended city council meetings during the terms of the last four mayors, all of whom have held that position for eight years or less. I sincerely respect their service and dedication to our city and applaud their decision to make room for new leadership.

"Our present mayor is seeking a third four-year term (12 years); an unprecedented move in local, modern history. A periodic change in command is not only in the best interest of city government, but also an assurance that new ideas for our growing city will continue to flow and be debated.

"With my passionate concern for the future of our city, combined with my experience and education, I can make a difference.

"Our city budget has been raised significantly every year for the past eight years. As a conservative spender, I will work to reverse this troublesome trend. To have an opportunity to work with council members, city staff and city residents, the challenge of making our community a better place to live, work, raise our families and retire can be attained. We must reduce ex-penses."