By Anne Holzman
Lauderdale voters will choose a mayor and two new members of the City Council in November.
Mayor Mary Gaasch is running for re-election, challenged by Moses Hungiapuko. Council members Roxanne Grove and Andi Moffatt are not running for new terms, so their seats are open. Two candidates are seeking those two seats: Sharon Kelly and Evan Sayre.
Mary Gaasch is seeking her fourth term as Lauderdale’s mayor. She works for Hammer and Northeast, a housing nonprofit.
“I have led the city in making strategic investments in housing, infrastructure and green spaces.” Gaasch wrote in an email. “These investments allow Lauderdale to offer high quality services with low taxes.”
Gaasch said her priorities if elected for another term would be “Keeping taxes affordable while maintaining quality services; supporting a thriving and walkable business district on our main street; and continuing our work on race and equity.”
She said she’s running again because she is committed to “building a community where everyone can thrive” and added, “My relationships with surrounding communities and our legislature means we have strong partnerships to support us as we invest in our future. I piloted the Smallest Cities Race Equity Cohort with the League of Minnesota Cities, and I am excited to continue this work.”
Moses Hungiapuko is running for mayor for the first time. He works at Project for Pride in Living and has been a school liaison person in Minneapolis.
Hungiapuko wrote, “It is my goal to advocate for the people within the community and allow their voices to be heard within our local government.”
He said his priorities would be public safety, rebuilding community connections in the wake of the Covid pandemic and improving transparency.
“Being able to increase public safety will hopefully increase community engagement and reduce frustration of barriers in the community,” Hungiapuko said.
He would like to see the city add more community events to connect neighbors.
“I also believe with the impact of the pandemic within our community we have been unable to build connection with each other in ways we could previously,” Hungiapuko added, “so I believe there is a need for more communal events to re-engage and re-connect with our neighbors.”
There are two candidates on the ballot for two seats on the Lauderdale City Council.
Sharon F. Kelly
Sharon F. Kelly said she is running because of concern about “community safety and vitality.”
She said the city needs to focus on “caring for people aging in place and disabled.”
Kelly said it is important to her that “welcome is extended to those who are renting in Lauderdale and to those who are buying.”
She said that if elected to the council, she would start by “understanding what is possible and what is limiting in our budget.”
Kelly added, “I want to be present and accountable in Lauderdale.”
Evan Sayre wrote that he is running because, “In the current political climate, I feel now is the time for rational people to step up and get involved in their communities. I have experience listening to both sides of an issue and making decisions that are best for all involved.”
He said the top three issues he sees for the city right now are public safety, housing costs and maintaining quality of life.
If elected, Sayre said, “I will support the police so they feel empowered to increase enforcement but maintain a high level of accountability.”
He added, “I will be creative in continuing policies that increase usable space to further create affordability in housing.”
Finally, he said, “I will be cognizant of the impact of all decisions on how they will affect the people and businesses in Lauderdale.”
Anne Holzman covers governmental news in Lauderdale for the Bugle.