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Meet the five city council candidates

Joe Nathe1 / 5
Jim Snyder2 / 5
Randy Anderson3 / 5
Alan Larson4 / 5
Laura Backes5 / 5

Five candidates are running for two positions on the Osakis City Council.

In an effort to help voters make a more informed decision on Election Day, Nov. 6, the Osakis Review sent questionnaires to all the candidates. Here are their responses.

Randy Anderson

Please list your background and qualifications for the position. (Include experience, education, job, family, etc.)

I was born in St. Paul. My parents moved to the Alexandria area when I was 2. I graduated from Jefferson Senior High in 1984 and enlisted in the Navy just months after graduation. I was trained to be a machinist mate on nuclear reactors, spending three years onboard the USS Enterprise. My work history includes Douglas Machine as an electrician, installer and serviceman.

I also worked as a boiler/maintenance worker at Northern Milk Products. Most recently, I have worked as an engineer at Alomere Health/ Douglas County Hospital since 1995 and I participate in the decontamination team and emergency management committee. Eleven years ago I was promoted to engineering director and this past year was appointed safety director. I have lived In Osakis for 13 years and am married with three children and one spoiled cat.

My work at the hospital prepares me well to make decisions about the city such as budgeting, water and power system maintenance and operation. I have also been a past member of the City of Osakis Planning and Zoning Committee and have served as chairperson.

What prompted you to seek this position?

I want to help people. I think getting involved is the best way to help. When I first became involved with serving on the council, I thought things were usually black and white. Now I know that is not always the case and I try to make the best decisions I can for the people of Osakis and hope to continue.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the city of Osakis right now and how would you address it?

The biggest issue facing the city is the budget. The state government is going to keep cutting funding to cities so we need to become more responsible with our budget. We are still trying to work to impact MPCA restrictions on our sewer plant to avoid the expenses of an added mechanical plant, which we feel would have a minimal effect on the downstream water quality. We also need to closely monitor and support the liquor store to do whatever we can to keep viable for its continued support of the city funds.

Laura Backes

Please list your background and qualifications for the position. (Include experience, education, job, family, etc.)

I graduated from Osakis Public School and then went on for my two-year degree at Willmar Community College. I have served on many committees and boards — Osakis Chamber of Commerce, Osakis Onward, helped host the Minnesota Design Team Osakis visit, Junior Class After Prom Party Committee, Comprehensive Plan Committee and Moonshine Madness Committee. I am married to Jon Backes and we decided to move back to Osakis and raise our two daughters here — Emily, 22, and Jena, 19. We have owned Osakis True Value since 1997.

What prompted you to seek this position?

I decided to run for this position because I feel like we need more of a downtown business presence on the council. We need people who are very invested in our community. I have had several people tell me that I should run for council and now that my children are grown and out of the house, I feel like I have more time that I can devote to a council position.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the city of Osakis right now and how would you address it?

One of our biggest challenges is remembering what is important to OSAKIS. Many times we get wrapped up in what people do in our surrounding communities. It is important to know what goes on in other communities, however, we are a wonderful and unique town and we need to focus on what works for our town and the people who live here and visit here. The only way to address this issue is to talk to people in the community, young and old we need to know what their wants and needs are. I work six days a week at my business right in downtown Osakis so I am very easy to get ahold of and will listen to your concerns and ideas.

Alan Larson

Please list your background and qualifications for the position. (Include experience, education, job, family, etc.)

I have been married for 31 years and have four kids and one grandchild. I have lived in Osakis for 20 years. I was raised on a farm. I am a Persian Gulf veteran. I went to law enforcement school and am currently a sergeant with the Minnesota Department of Corrections. I enjoy hunting, fishing and going on family vacation.

What prompted you to seek this position?

People from the community encouraged me to run.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the city of Osakis right now and how would you address it?

The city liquor store is not making a profit and needs to be evaluated to see what can be done to make it profitable again. If it can not be made profitable again, unfortunately it might have to close.

Joe Nathe

Please list your background and qualifications for the position. (Include experience, education, job, family, etc.)

My name is Joe Nathe. I have lived in Osakis for 11 years. I have two boys, ages 10 and 11. I am a production supervisor for Felling Trailers. I know how to solve problems and find the best solutions.

What prompted you to seek this position?

I feel I can help solve issues for the city. I am quite sure I can save the taxpayers money. A new set of eyes is always a good thing.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the city of Osakis right now and how would you address it?

Our city is divided. We need to all come together and make Osakis the best it can be. We are a small town and need to work together. I would make changes to reinforce it to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Jim Snyder

Please list your background and qualifications for the position. (Include experience, education, job, family, etc.)

Council member current, EDA member six years current, League of Minnesota Cities trained, married 52 years, Vietnam veteran, three children, Lions member, VFW member, Let's Go Fishing volunteer and occupation, retired sheet metal worker and shop superintendent, with 18 years education.

What prompted you to seek this position?

I am prompted to seek re-election because I am passionate about the betterment and enhancement of our community and quality of life for the residents. I am fairly good at problem solving and putting my efforts into the resident's needs and wants while protecting the city at the same time. I take great pride in our city and its reputation throughout the state of Minnesota and would like to continue doing so. I value my freedom to make decisions without any ties, obligations or links to anyone but the residents and the welfare of the city.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the city of Osakis right now and how would you address it?

The biggest challenges are, of course, our economics, jobs, housing, downtown, etc. water quality, city infrastructure and providing for the future. And doing so by getting the largest return for the resident's tax dollar. Also seeking aid from grants, district representatives and congressional help. I always listen and consider both sides of every story. I also thank the Osakis Review for giving me the opportunity to share this information with the people.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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