Inver Grove Heights candidates focus on public safety and growth of the city


George Tourville

Tom Bartholomew

Kara Perry

John Weiser

With two seats up for election, current council member Tom Bartholomew is hoping to hold on to his seat against his opponents Kara Perry, Jarid Friese and John Weiser. 
Incumbent Jim Mueller will not appear on the ballot due to a filing error. He has indicated he has launched a write-in campaign.
Mayor George Tourville is running unopposed this election cycle.
The Review asked the candidates what skills and experiences they think they'd bring to the council, what they think are the top challenges facing Inver Grove Heights, and what issue or project they'd prioritize if elected. They answered via email.
Friese did not respond by the print edition deadline.

City Council 
Tom Bartholomew, 61, lives with his wife Mary and is currently finishing his first term on the city council. 
He works full time at ReliaFund Inc. as a controller. He has a bachelor's degree from Concordia College. He previously served nine year on the Inver Grove Heights Planning Commission, five of those years as chairman. 
He has been in the private sector in finance, operations, business development and quality control for 37 years. 
"As a community volunteer with Inver Grove Heights Days, Best Foundation and Park and Rec youth baseball, I have established ties to the community that will be with me forever and guide me in decision-making," Bartholomew said. 
He said the top challenges facing the city include attracting and maintaining commercial development, transportation and public safety.
"The city has recently been successful in streamlining processes and removing barriers to commercial development. I will encourage and promote the continuation of that policy," Bartholomew said.
He said transportation must reflect the desires of the residents and that the growing population of Inver Grove Heights will require increased public safety resources.  
"Public safety, police and fire, infrastructure, roads and utilities, along with commercial and residential development will be a priority for me." 
He said funding these initiatives will be critical and that a review of budget items will make improving public safety and infrastructure successful. 
"The experience I have from the private sector will be a valuable asset in working with city staff, developers and council members to find resolutions to existing problems," Bartholomew said.

Kara Perry, 36, lives with her husband Ross and works full time at Creative Wonders Childcare as the lead infant teacher. She has an associate's degree in education and business from North Hennepin Community College.
Perry worked in banking for more than 12 years before changing careers in September. She said her work in banking industry gave her the knowledge of budgeting and the ability to work in a high-stress job. 
Perry said the top challenges she sees facing the city include the budget and finding ways to attract businesses and to keep them in Inver Grove Heights. 
"We also need to find a way to capitalize on the Vikings headquarters going into Eagan, a location that is a stone's throw from Inver Grove's border," Perry said.
If elected, Perry would prioritize attracting businesses to fill empty storefronts and to make city government more transparent for residents by making the city website easier to navigate. 

John Weiser, 32, resides with his wife Annmarie and is a revenue tax specialist at the Minnesota Department of Revenue. He is also the owner of Weiser Choice LLC, a wedding photography and officiant company. 
He has a bachelor's degree in economics, business finance and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. 
Weiser said he has served as president of his condo association, worked with youth to teach them to be productive citizens and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol. 
"From past experiences, I have managed budgets and funding, as well as established effective policies for the betterment of my condo residents. As a small business owner I have worked with businesses large and small as well as non-profit organizations," he said. 
One of the top challenges facing the city is the out-flow of businesses, Weiser said. "As long as I have lived in Inver Grove Heights, more businesses have left than have come into our community." 
He said public safety and community development are also challenges the city will need to address in the future. 
If elected Weiser said he would prioritize actions to bring businesses back to the community of Inver Grove Heights. 
"I will work to build a city where families can grow, businesses can flourish, and both work together to build a strong future for our community," Weiser said. 

Mayor
George Tourville, 66, has been mayor for 14 years, and is a senior sales manager at Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. He and his wife, Barb, have three children and six grandchildren all living in Inver Grove Heights.
"I am respectful, accountable, experienced and involved in the city, and we Love IGH," Tourville said.
He is also a member of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and serves as chair of the NDCTV Cable Commission. 
Tourville said it is important to balance growth and demand for services while keeping taxes affordable. He said it is also important for the city council to help existing businesses grow and prosper, while at the same time attracting new quality development that can bring jobs and increase the city's tax base.
He said it is impossible to pick one issue that is the most important "because we provide many services and programs that are important." He used the acronym PIE to explain this. 
The "P" stands for public safety, and Tourville said Inver Grove Heights has a great police and fire department and needs to continue to provide the correct staffing, training and equipment to continue this essential service. 
The "I" is for infrastructure, which is the backbone of the city. Tourville said the city needs streets that are safe and sustainable. 
"We need facilities and open space that can provide the services and programs for all ages and needs," Tourville said.
"E" is for economic development. Tourville said the city council needs to find ways to help property owners fill their empty retail buildings so residents "will and can shop local." 

Election Day is Nov. 8. To find your polling place, visit http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto.

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