What experience and qualifications do you bring to your candidacy for Eden Prairie City Council?
Professionally, I am a partner in the Corporate Group at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Minnesota’s largest law firm. In that role I was named to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list and have been repeatedly recognized on the list of Minnesota Super Lawyers. In addition, I am an Eden Prairie small business owner, currently in the process of remodeling 7500 Office Ridge Circle, a 20-plus year-old office building.
As an Eagle Scout, I earned the Gold Congressional Award, the highest honor the U.S. Congress confers on youth for distinguished public service. I am a long-time member of the board of directors of Northern Star Council – Boy Scouts of America, which serves communities across central Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
I am a first generation college graduate, and I hold a B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and a J.D. and M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota.
What personal values and qualities do you believe are especially important for a City Council candidate?
The most important value to me is to lead by serving – and that begins with listening. Too often leaders begin with talking and attempting to convince others of their position. In contrast, I believe that the best leaders listen carefully – and with an open mind.
In combination, courage is essential for anyone running for elected office who has the best interests of his or her constituents in mind. It is vital for our leaders to have the courage of their convictions and to act with integrity, even – especially – when doing so may be difficult. Careful listening must be accompanied by honest and candid responses.
I believe that the combination of listening, courage of convictions, and unwavering integrity are the foundation of public service. A leader should be ready to communicate his or her plans and ideas only after ensuring careful application of these principals.
Why should Eden Prairie voters choose you for the City Council rather than other candidates who are running for the Eden Prairie City Council?
Without question, Eden Prairie is one of the best places in the entire world to live, work, and raise a family. Our community has so much to offer and is populated by so many generous and caring people. I am passionately committed to preserving Eden Prairie’s positive and appealing aspects, while working to address important issues relating to public safety, infrastructure, integrating Southwest LRT safely, affordable housing, and other community challenges.
My experience speaks to my creativity, empathy, and determination to accomplish my goals. It is my desire to bring these to service on the Eden Prairie City Council. This includes collaboratively working alongside others – even those with whom I may disagree occasionally. The present time calls out for leaders who can unite and focus on positive solutions as opposed to those who divide and are unwilling to compromise toward positive – if not perfect – solutions.
How do you believe the Eden Prairie City Council should be involved in addressing COVID-19, and why?
First and foremost, we must do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our residents. This includes ensuring the protection of, and assistance to, our elderly population who are particularly at risk. As the son of elderly parents, whom I care for and assist, I have a heightened awareness of the challenges.
In addition, we must consider every opportunity to help Eden Prairie’s small businesses through this unprecedented time. No plan for help should be dismissed without consideration. Too many small businesses have been forced to close – never to re-open.
While many solutions required action by federal and state governments, we must look to do what we can to assist – and encourage – each other. The solidarity and generosity of Eden Prairie residents during this crisis have been amazing and one of the things that drives my passion to give back to Eden Prairie residents.
What are your top three priorities for Eden Prairie City Council, and why?
My priorities include getting Eden Prairie through the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly and safely as possible, the safe and effective integration of Southwest LRT, and diligent management of our city’s finances.
Before we can move forward, we must first emerge from the present pandemic and associated necessary restrictions. In the meantime, we must focus on those most in need. To help ensure Eden Prairie emerges stronger than ever from the present challenges, our leaders need to work to encourage every individual, business, and community organization to engage in the fight to help those suffering – especially our most vulnerable. Our city should encourage and emphasize partnering with non-profits to limit as much as possible the lasting destructive effects of the present crisis on its residents and businesses.
My website referenced nearby includes further information on my plans for managing through the pandemic, integration of Southwest LRT, and budgeting responsibly.
Is your candidacy informed by a political perspective? How does that perspective inform your priorities? (Alternatively: If your candidacy is not informed by a political perspective, why not?)
As a non-partisan office, I chose not to seek or accept the endorsement of any political party. I am open to working with anybody who is sincerely seeking solutions. Too often, partisan politics have stood in the way of practical solutions.
As to the political perspectives that inform my beliefs, one of the most important is my belief that the best government is that closest to the people. That direct voter accountability is one of the things that encouraged me to run for Eden Prairie City Council. Our leaders should be accessible and open to hearing from those who elected them. And this I promise to do if elected to the Eden Prairie City Council.
My additional commitment is to enter the Eden Prairie City Council without prejudice on any issue and serve without any agenda other than what is best for Eden Prairie and its residents.
What will it mean to you, personally, if you are elected to the Eden Prairie City Council?
From my time as an Eagle Scout to my service on the Northern Star Council – Boy Scouts of America, community service has been an important part of my life. I believe those who have been afforded the ability to do so are obliged to give back to their community and fellow residents – especially to those most in need of assistance.
The opportunity to serve one of the most wonderful communities in the state would be a challenge and opportunity of the highest honor for me personally. As good as Eden Prairie currently is, I believe its best days are yet to come. Indeed, the future is bright!
How can interested voters learn more about your candidacy (website, public phone/email etc…)?