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No limo for the mayor

Editor's note: The following story was provided by Gerry Hoelscher and his 5th grade class at Washington Elementary School in Alexandria.

This past month, the 5th grade classes at Washington Elementary School studied the U.S. Constitution and the three branches of government.

Knowing that the grandson of Alexandria Mayor Dan Ness is one of our classmates, we thought it would be a good idea to ask the mayor to come to our school and answer some questions about local government.

He graciously accepted, so we began to script more than 30 questions that we wanted to know about his job as mayor. The remaining article is about his responses to some of those questions.

When asked what his education was that prepared him for mayor, he replied, "In elementary school, I liked reading and math classes. I graduated from Jefferson High School and from there I went to the University of Minnesota and received a degree in accounting. I have been in an accounting career for over 35 years. I had served on the city council many years before deciding to run for the office of mayor."

Being a mayor hasn't taken too much of his family time. With two council meetings a month that last about two hours a time and the occasional signing of important papers, he still manages to have supper with his family and see his grandchildren's events, even if it is in front of a classroom setting.

As the discussion centered on council meetings, he shared that only a few people consistently attend meetings and that he wished more people would take a more active role in learning what is going on at them.

He said that in the near future these meetings will be broadcast on cable Channel 7 television so more people will be informed as to what is taking place at these meetings.

When asked what his goals were as mayor, he said, "I am concerned about maintaining the beautiful environment that Alexandria has to offer and as this city grows with new development such as Woodland Elementary School, we can't endanger that resource for future generations. If we can do this at a minimal expense to the taxpayers, then I have accomplished my goal."

As children usually do, we strayed from the script and asked a few personal questions, like how much money do you make and do you drive a limo? Being the gracious man that he is, he said that he makes $7,200 a year and he doesn't drive a limo.

We want him to know that we are grateful to him for coming to our class and sharing his experiences with us and we took a vote and we think he deserves a limo.