2020 West St. Paul Mayoral Primary: Budget Challenges

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West St. Paul voters will take to the polls on August 11 (or earlier) to decide who will compete to be mayor in the November general election. There are three candidates contesting the mayoral primary in 2020, and the top two will advance to November.

We’ve asked the candidates a series of questions to see where they stand on the issues. We’ll share one question and the responses at a time leading up to the election. We’ve already covered the biggest challenge facing West St. Paul, what the candidates hope to accomplish in their two years in office, how they’ll handle packed and highly charged City Council meetings, and how they’ll support trails. Here’s the fifth candidate question.

West St. Paul already had budget challenges before the pandemic and now it looks like it could be worse. How will you handle continued budget woes?

We posed this question to all mayoral candidates (Jeramie Torkelson has dropped out, though his name will still appear on the ballot). Here are their responses:

Jonathan Diamond

(no campaign site)

Watch spending and take care of the important projects first while not forgetting others that are not critical.

Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson

(campaign site)

I will maintain the city’s focus on reducing the $14 million in debt by seeking out projects that will bring revenue to the city and that qualify for grants that will further help the city’s debt reduction. I also look forward to using the platform as mayor and my role on the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to celebrate existing businesses and bring in new businesses that represent and meet the needs of our increasingly diverse community.

Dave Napier

(campaign site)

I have implemented a weekly call with the city manager for us to discuss various topics. One weekly topic we discuss is the budgetary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing these weekly calls allows us to be proactive in our approach to the budget. Additionally, we keep in direct contact with our state legislators to capitalize on any opportunities that might be available through the State of Minnesota. We have maintained ongoing monthly (minimum) communication with Congresswoman Angie Craig. Angie continues to voice our opinions and concerns at the federal level. As mayor, I will provide the strong leadership necessary to control spending and minimize the tax burden on our residents.

Vote on August 11

The primary election is on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. The West St. Paul city website has details on where and how to vote. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.

See our 2020 election coverage for more on where the candidates stand.

Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Support West St. Paul Reader to ensure local election coverage can continue.

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