Dana Graham

Age — 57

Education — Bachelor’s from the University of Vermont

Occupation — Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments

Family — Wife, Marin Amundson-Graham; sons, Scott, 26; Luke, 16 and Collin, 15

Previous Experience — Previously served as a Northfield City Council member and Northfield Planning Commission member, member of Rice County Planning Commission.

Describe your leadership style — It’s one of inclusiveness and good communication. I believe that because we were given two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we speak. I also believe that if the conversation is about you, it should include you. Because of my management experience, I will be effective at directing people through the process of what we are trying to accomplish. I will make sure that our processes are well defined. I will check my ego at the door, roll up my sleeves and get things done.

What type of economic development is essential for Northfield and why? — We should be open-minded about any and all economic development opportunities. To do that, we have to put ourselves in a position to respond when these opportunities arise. We would all like high paying jobs for people that want to live and work here. It’s important to have economic development incentives, along with environmental controls, in place to help create and maintain jobs. Growth helps us keep our taxes down and our quality of life maintained.

What role do you think government should have in people’s lives/businesses? — Government has some basic responsibilities. These would include necessary services such as public safety, streets, sewer and water, and social services. In addition, our parks, trails, and library provide us with a great quality of life. Northfield has a strong reputation for being a great place to live. We need to ensure that services are continued and resources are effectively and efficiently used. That means we must also collaborate more in these challenging times.

Why are you running? — I am unabashedly pro-Northfield. I have a passion to be part of the process that forms our future. I want to promote all of Northfield while being mindful that our unique downtown is the focal point of our community. What separates me from my opponent is my thirty plus years of business management experience. I have the particular quality that is necessary in this position: Leadership. That is why people should support my candidacy for mayor.

Rhonda Pownell

Age — 41

Education — Bachelor’s from St. Olaf College

Occupation — Home educator

Family — Husband, David; five children ages 7 to 16

Previous/related experience — League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors, Northfield Economic Development Authority Board and 3. Founded, established and directed a church Women’s Ministry Program

Describe your leadership style — I am an enthusiastic, decisive, and hard working leader that inspires and serves others. Much of my previous experience was involved in leading volunteers where leadership was based on my ability to gather a team, give them direction, and inspire and encourage them to fulfill the mission. The ability to work with people, see what needs to be done and to accomplish it are core strengths. I lead, listen, and get the job done.

What type of economic development is essential for Northfield and why? — Our downtown is core to who we are as a community and its health and vibrancy are essential to attracting and retaining businesses. On the same token taking care of our medium and larger sized businesses is just as important. They provide necessary jobs and decrease the tax burden on our downtown businesses and community as a whole. Therefore, providing land for expansion and for new businesses to locate here is just as essential.

What role do you think government should have in people’s lives/businesses? — Government should provide the framework or foundation in which people and businesses can thrive and grow. At the most basic level, this foundation consists of providing adequate police, fire, streets, water and sewer services. Anything more than this should reflect the desire and vision of the community. For this reason I would also include parks, transportation, and library services for our city.

Why are you running? — I care about our community and the people that live here. I have been a student, young single, employee, volunteer, newly married, and mother of 5 in this community. Over the past 23 years my love for the community and the people has continued to grow, change, and expand. I can think of nothing more important than setting it on a solid course of success for both now and the future.

Regional Managing Editor of The Le Center Leader, Le Sueur News-Herald, St. Peter Herald and Waseca County News.