What is one city issue you believe the city should pay more attention to?
Pam Hanson: One thing I think Nerstrand residents need to be aware of and monitor is having one small group control the path that this town is on. We have a very small group of people that are politically active. They work very hard to get candidates into the mayoral role or on the council, and this minority group determines the course of the town. When people outside this group ask questions or bring up concerns they are shut down very quickly. I think it is important to have a diverse group, to ensure all voices are being heard, not just the loudest voices. It is very important to have a mayor in office that does not have a connection to this group.
Nikki Portillo: I believe that Nerstrand City Council should focus on long-term planning by engaging with the citizens over how to shape the city over the next 20 years. Where does Nerstrand see itself in 20 years and how do we make the roadmap to get us there.
What capital improvement projects do you believe the city should focus on in the coming years?
PH: The most pressing capital improvement project we have is our city water supply. We are in danger of losing water supply at any minute and we need to figure out how to fix this issue. I promise as mayor that I will find out what our options are as far as cost, financing and viability. We need to be sure our whole village understands what we need and what it will take to get there. I also want to work on saving our city hall. It is a historic building that we can use as an event space as well.
NP: The City Council has done a good job to this point of addressing the City’s infrastructure needs. It will be up to the new City Council to continue that good work. We need a plan to address the water tower maintenance, a plan for long-term maintenance of our streets/sidewalks and trails and park.
3. What experiences in your background do you feel are particularly relevant to the task of serving as Mayor?
PH: I will make a great mayor in Nerstrand because of my history as a teacher, volunteer and coach. As a teacher I have worked with a variety of students and learned how to work with students that may not like school, but need to pass my class. They may come in not wanting to listen and completely shut down. I have learned how to work with these young adults and build relationships so we can meet our goals. I can use this skill in working with the council. Not all members may want to work on a project that is not a part of their particular agenda, but if it is the will of the people we serve, we need to come together and do what is right for the village.
NP: Probably the most significant experience in my life is growing up with foster brothers and sisters. My parents took in children with various needs and made us all part of a bigger family unit. I learned at an early age to be an empathetic listener, to walk in another person’s shoes and to adjust my style of communicating based on another’s needs. I currently work for a local municipality training to be the next city clerk. One of the most fulfilling aspects of working in civil service is the ability to enhance the quality of life for the citizens I serve. I would bring both my past and present experiences in to the mayor position.