Candidate profile | Patrick Keane
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Rochester at this moment? If elected, what specific position(s) would you take to address the issue?
Our city’s top issues are: taxes, a forward-thinking approach to solve housing need, public safety, improvements to public transportation, and the implementation of the new comprehensive plan. The solutions to these issues are interconnected and we need to start thinking differently about new, creative solutions and not trying to tackle each issue by itself.
Tell us one decision made by the city over the past two years that you disagree with. What would you like to see done differently?
Our city council approved a citywide social media policy back in the summer of 2017. I would have rejected it. The issue came up in 2016 when a police officer posted inappropriate cartoons on his personal Facebook page. By the time the policy came to the council for a vote, the new issue was city volunteers and how they might reflect poorly on the city. Elect competent leaders and delegate authority to department heads to make judgments on the behavior of their employees.
The city is experiencing an economic boom. Still, many residents and business owners remain concerned about affordability. How would you work to ensure the city's growth is managed responsibly?
As a city councilor I will support policies that balance the goals of DMC with the needs of the greater, non-downtown, community. Specifically, I want to see DMC focus more on transportation, transit oriented develop, and community amenities. DMC should be more than on luxury hotels. Incremental growth and balancing the needs of Mayo Clinic with the needs of the greater, non-downtown, community both need to be priorities in the coming years.
Some cities have decided to take the lead on issues such as minimum wage and paid leave. Do you feel Rochester should be doing the same, or are these issues best left to the state and federal levels?
Having full-time jobs that pay enough to live in Rochester is an expectation. Our factory jobs of the 50s and 60s has been replaced with service sector work that offers less career growth. And while I am not in favor wage mandates that at this time, I do think the city should reserve that tool and I do not support state preemption.
The city council is responsible for oversight of the largest public-private partnership in Minnesota history. What criteria would you like to see applied to developers seeking public assistance?
Developments getting DMC funding should include community benefits. Those that complement other DMC initiatives like improved transportation should get greater consideration for assistance. Luxury developments that provide little public benefit should have a very, very high bar for assistance consideration.
Destination Medical Center is focused on a relatively small chunk of the city. What initiatives or policies could be adopted to strengthen our neighborhoods outside the downtown?
We can invest more in our parks with an eye toward city trails and trail connectivity to the neighborhoods. The city should create incentives for smaller, relevant commercial projects that complement and improve neighborhoods instead of disrupting them.
As you have been campaigning this summer, what have you been hearing from residents in your ward? Tell us how you would work to address at least one issue specifically affecting your ward.
After 35 years in Ward 1, I still can learn more from my neighbors. Storm water management, neighborhood park access, neighborhoods isolated from our trails because of transportation safety issues. The one issue that I aim to address is boulevard trees and ash borer. Our city foresters are working hard to get ahead of problems both treating and removing trees, but communication with our citizens is lacking. We can get this resolved with improved modern communication and someone to link our citizens to their city.
What else should voters know about you?
I joined the Rochester community 38 years to work for IBM. Originally from Chicago, I moved to Minnesota for school, and had a successful career retiring as a Senior Development Manager in 2015. My wife, Lori, and I have lived in our Ward 1 home since 1985, and are the proud parents of three adult children, and four grandsons.
I have been an engaged Rochester citizen for many years. I am currently on the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals, the Olmsted County Community Services Advisory Board, and the Rochester Public Library Foundation Board. I am also active with our Morning Pride Lions Club.
I have made a study of our community over the past couple of years; our assets, our issues and our opportunities. 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.
Primary elections are on Tuesday, August 14. You can use your address to view a sample ballot on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.