Seven Falcon Heights residents are running for two open seats on the Falcon Heights City Council. Pamela Harris, who has been on the council for more than a decade, is not seeking re-election. Tony Fischer, who was elected to the council in 2015 to fill a two-year term vacated by Keith Gosline, is seeking a four-year term.
The filing period closed Aug. 15. The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7. Here is a list of the candidates:
Tom Brace ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council in 2015. Brace served as the Minnesota state fire marshal for 16 years and the Washington state fire marshal for 10 years before moving to Minnesota. His 26 years working in public safety is experience that would be helpful in the next few years in Falcon Heights, he said, as the city prepares to contract with a new police agency. Brace has lived in Falcon Heights for 26 years and has served on the city Planning Commission.
Ronald Dixon, a recent college graduate, is a revenue examiner with the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Dixon is running on a platform “of police accountability, community action, fiscal discipline and progressive solutions,” he said. He would also like to focus on issues that impact renters and hopes to encourage young people to get involved in local government.
Tony Fischer is a transportation planner with the Metropolitan Council. In his filing statement, Fischer said the past year has been challenging “but also an opportunity to begin to address long-standing suffering in the wider community. We have spent a lot of time thinking about policing and being more inclusive. I would like to continue to be part of putting that experience into practice.”
Melanie Leehy has served on city commissions and committees for the city of Falcon Heights for more than a decade. Most recently, she served as co-chair of the Falcon Heights Task Force on Policing and Inclusion, which came together last year after the killing of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony Police Dept. officer. “I want to continue building upon the work that I have done, and strengthen who we are as a city,” Leehy said. “This past year of hardship has shown that strong leadership is needed, and I believe that I provide that for Falcon Heights.” Leehy runs the nonprofit Mobilizing and Releasing Caring Hearts, which works with churches and other organizations in their outreach missions.
Mark Miazga is a research coordinator with the University of Minnesota and chair of the Falcon Heights Environment Commission. He has served on the St. Paul Long-Range Capital Investment Board and was health-care liaison assistant in the office of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. His priorities are “healthy and strong citizen-police relationships and safe neighborhoods, vibrant parks and public places, responsive public services and reasonable property taxes, green city initiatives and healthy schools.”
Paula Mielke, a Falcon Heights resident since 1990, is a member of the Ramsey County Library Board and served on the Falcon Heights Parks and Recreation Commission from 2006 to 2008. Mielke helped form the Falcon Heights We Can Do Better group after the Castile shooting. The group advocated for changes in policing in the city. As a council member, Mielke says she wants to ensure the community values developed by the city’s Inclusion and Policing Task Force guide all decisions in strategic planning, policies and procedures, and budgeting. Mielke owns Grahn’s Upholstery in Minneapolis.
Michael Wade served on the Falcon Heights Task Force on Policing and Inclusion. He has lived in the city for more than three years and is an author, poet and publisher at Mizchief’s Ink Publications. His book “Mirror on the Wall: Reflections of Racism and Social Justice” was published in 2016. Wade could not be reached for comment before the Bugle’s deadline.
The Bugle will have more about the election in the November election guide, which will be published Oct. 31.