Get to know the candidates for Rochester mayor and city council
For the first time in 16 years, Rochester voters will head into a mid-term election cycle without Ardell Brede's name on the ballot. The longtime mayor is retiring from office — leaving the position open for one of seven new candidates to fill. And the stakes could not be any higher. Rochester is the midst of unprecedented change — not only because of Destination Medical Center efforts, but also thanks to recent turnover at City Hall, where there is now a new administration managing the city's day-to-day affairs.
The office of mayor is one of four elected positions in Rochester government on the ballot this cycle. The other three — for Rochester City Council Wards 1, 3 and 5 — combined will likely be just as critical, as voters decide whether to embrace a more progressive agenda or stick with the politics that have shaped the city for much of its recent history.
Ahead of Tuesday's primary elections, we asked candidates running for local office a series of questions related to DMC, affordability and the role of government. For each of the seats, only the top two candidates will move on to compete in November's general election (Note: the two candidates for Ward 3 were not interviewed because they do not face a primary.)
Candidates for mayor
BW (Brent) Coggins
"My background in engineering will fit what Rochester needs in a mayor to help understand the development and growth."
"I am running for mayor because I love our city. I love the values my children are learning in school, church and in their extracurricular activities. I want to ensure that as we grow we do not lose these values."
"Throughout my career, I have earned the reputation of being a person who works hard to allow all voices in our community to feel heard."
"I am a huge supporter of expanding our public transit system, and I believe this can help bring the benefits of the DMC to our neighborhoods."
"Leadership is not a top-down proposition. I don’t have a political ideology, or a strict political narrative. I see the mayor’s office as a public service post, and I would always treat it that way."
"We have an opportunity in front of us to create a community for everyone. As mayor, I’ll work each day to ensure everyone is provided equal opportunity to thrive in Rochester."
"I will work to ensure our decisions are in-line with our citizens’ goals. We need someone who wants to be accountable to the people when these important decisions are being made."
Candidates for ward 1
"I am running for the 1st Ward again because I am very concerned that we get someone in there with conservative values and fiscal responsibility who understands the workings of local government, business, and the people of the 1st Ward." (No photo)
"I began thinking of the qualities I would want to see in my representative: common sense, honesty, and integrity, someone who has my best interests in mind ... I’m running because I can bring these qualities to the council and our community conversations."
"As a city council member, I want to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live, a reliable way to work, and livable wages."
"I will bring creative problem-solving skills to address the issues young families are facing, and I have the energy and the empathy to successfully represent our seniors and their unique demands on our city."
Candidates for Ward 5
"Growing up in Rochester gave me every possible blessing. I am standing for election in the hope to pass those blessings on to the next generation of Rochester families."
"I am running for city council because our community is working through a lot of change. I feel that I can bring a fresh perspective to Rochester’s city council."
Shaun C Palmer
"Making the process of the city’s decisions more transparent and inviting to everyone is something I would like to see happen."
"Rochester has given my family so much and grounded my life in many aspects and I want to contribute my skills and talents to creating a sustainable, supportive community for all to succeed."
"Council members need to provide leadership and work for compromise by demonstrating problem solving skills. Working for consensus is important to good governance."
Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the city website. To find your polling place, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.