Candidate profile | Shaun C Palmer
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?
Keeping the small town feel as Rochester meets the demands of growth is one of my goals. Rochester has always been a welcoming, affordable city. New demands on the infrastructure, transportation, and housing needs as Rochester adds new residents and business will be the biggest challenge. We will need to provide other transportation options that include Rapid Bus, and more parking for patients and employees. How we handle the 35,000 commuters into Rochester will be an important discussion as well. A mix of housing solutions will be required, with a change to charging a percent for fees not a single amount, more efficient processes for permits and protecting our existing neighborhoods.
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?
Making the process of the city’s decisions more transparent and inviting to everyone is something I would like to see happen. I would make sure all meetings are being placed on the internet and local access TV. I would also have the Committee of the Whole meetings at a table not at the council bench, so it is more much more inviting. Having neighborhood meetings at different times and places, and fully communicating with everyone in the ward would help increase trust in the council. The St. Cloud Mayor has an old city bus to meet in different areas of his city. I would like to implement something like that for Rochester, and have the city council come to the neighborhoods.
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?
Most cities in the United States would love to have our opportunities. I would rather live in a growing city than a dying city. We need to ensure that the policy we enact keeps ALL the residents and es in mind. I have promised to make all my decisions based on “what is best for the residents of Rochester.” I do not belong to a party or group. I will always remember that the tax payer’s money is hard earned and needs to be treated as such.
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?
This is a state and federal responsibility. Rochester has enough to do without having to add more employees to enforce this requirement.
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?
Making sure that it matches all the goals of the DMC plan, and that it is a plus for Rochester. If TIF is being used we need to make sure it meets the objectives of TIF. With my experience in the construction industry for over 35 years, I will be able to make knowledgeable decisions based on facts. I would also make sure that transportation and housing needs have been met.
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?
DMC is an economic driver for the entire state. Rochester is very fortunate to have this program. The job of the city council is to make sure all the needs of Rochester are being met, and with a good balance. I have been a big proponent of making sure the parks of Rochester receive much more attention and that public safety is fully funded. Parks are important to the quality of life for all the residents. We can do all the improvements and not have a safe and affordable city and we will still have nothing.
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.
Meeting with neighbors, the discussion usually starts with DMC. The primary concern is on how the DMC affects their property taxes. The next concern is the parks in Rochester and the safety in the parks. A group of people have started the Silver Lake Friends, who are going to be improving Silver Lake Park, However, safety in all the parks in Rochester is a big concern. By adding cameras to the park system and throughout Rochester, if crime does happen you can observe who is committing it and assist the police department.
What else should voters know about you?
I have enjoyed meeting the people of the 5th Ward during this campaign. I have made the promise that all my decisions will be based on “what is best for the residents of Rochester.” I am proud to have lived here my entire life and raised my family here as well. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Industry with a Construction Option from Winona State University and an Associate’s Degree from Rochester Community College. I am currently a Project Manager with Great Lakes Superior Walls. I am also a Swim Instructor and Member Service Representative with the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. I am a member/supporter of a dozen nonprofit organizations around the community including Camp Olson YMCA, Quarry Hill Nature Center, Rochester Arts Center and others. I have also held numerous leadership positions at these organizations including Past Chairman of Olmsted County Environmental Commission and President of Camp Olson YMCA board.
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.