St. Cloud City Council Race – Fall 2018

Last Fall, the St. Cloud City Council passed a Welcoming Resolution, making it clear that ALL are welcome in our city. On November 6th, St. Cloud residents will be voting for 4 open seats on the council and there are 8 candidates to choose from. We asked each candidate questions about the Welcoming Resolution so you, the voters, could get to know where each one stands on the issue of St. Cloud being a welcoming city. 4 out of the 8 candidates answered our email and we will share those answers with you below.

But first, who didn’t answer?

John Libert, Ward 3
Paul Brandmire, Ward 3
Mike Conway, Ward 4

While Liz Baklaich, Ward 2, did not answer our email, she posted this response on her campaign Facebook page , including screenshots of the questions we asked:

Text of the post:

“Any reply to this, see pictures, will be spun. I have requested a debate on several occasions; a set debate with rules, a time clock and a moderator.

In a structured environment, I would be happy to discuss what I have read (Sharia Law Manuals) and what I have been told first hand by friends (victims) who have had to flee from Islamic states (after child marriage, FGM, rape, etc…) The other option which might be even better is if she is able to bring someone along. I would be happy to have a debate with her and her friend Jaylani Hussein, Mpls. leader of CAIR – 1 to 1 or 2 on 2 you let me know…

Enough of this game playing, your “lets have coffee (quietly in a dark corner where I can call you a hateful names)” or your writing up articles with false accusations about being picked on (examples include the Red Hat Forum and Facebook posts about the Baptist Church in town) or most recently the large HIT list published yesterday by the Star Tribune from CAIR & ISAIAH.

Natalie: It is time to come out from your protective safe space and have the conversation out in the open in front of everyone using facts. To thoroughly educate and inform the public and ALL of our neighbors, including the Daee, about what is really going on, time to remove the blinders, to show your biases due to your profiteering from this situation and open it all up for everyone to see.

BTW: St Cloud Times is this another article for your paper?”

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Now, on to those who did answer our questions!

THE CANDIDATES


Dave Masters, Ward 1

John Palmer, Ward 1

Steve Laraway, Ward 2

George Rindelaub, Ward 4

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

All answers were copied and pasted exactly as they came to us via e-mail. 

1. Will you support this resolution if you are elected to the St. Cloud City Council?

Steve Laraway: “Absolutely.”

Dave Masters: “Yes.”

John Palmer: “I support number one of the resolution but find number two of the therefore be it resolved to be an opinion not grounded in fact and therefore should not be part of the therefore portion of the resolutions. My support of the first therefore should not be interpreted as agreeing with all of the where as statements.”

George Rindelaub: “I support the welcoming resolution.”

2. If yes to question #1, please list a few specific instances that may come up in the St. Cloud City Council’s work in which you could ensure that this resolution is upheld.

Steve Laraway: “This question comes up in terms of budget items that apply to immigrants /refugees. Pure and simple, there is no specific expenditure or line item that refers to this. We remain responsible for public safety, roads and infrastructure, utilities and parks. There are no special funds for anything beyond that. We need to welcome to our Community: they are employers, employees, consumers and citizens.”

Dave Masters: “If after the election new council members are elected, I will continue to support the welcoming resolution.”

John Palmer: “Every matter that comes before the St. Cloud City Council should be free of bias based on the ‘Welcoming Resolution’ to at otherwise would be in violation of MN Statutes and the Minnesota and US Constitutions.”

George Rindelaub: “I can’t think of any. The resolution speaks for itself.”

3. If no to question #1, please state which parts of the resolution with which you disagree and explain what your plans are for working on a council that has already adopted this resolution per council vote.

John Palmer: “A resolution unlike and ordinance does not bind or prohibit action. A resolution is a statement of belief of the group that passes the resolution. With the election of a new city council a new group has been formed and they may or may not share the beliefs of prior councils. As stated in my answer to question number 2 and consistent with the oath I will take if elected councilman I will uphold the Constitutions of the USA and the state of MN and follow the laws adopted by the state and federal government.”

4. Do you believe that everyone should be welcome in St. Cloud?

Steve Laraway: “Absolutely, positively.”

Dave Masters: “Yes.”

John Palmer: “No. The laws of the USA define who may be allowed to take up residence in the USA and I believe federal law must be respected and we should not be welcoming to people who have no legal right to live anywhere in the USA.”

George Rindelaub: “Yes. Everyone is welcome.”

5. Do you believe that a person’s religion, ethnicity, or race should disqualify them from public office or civic leadership?

Steve Laraway: “Absolutely not.”

Dave Masters: “No.”

John Palmer: “The USA Constitution prohibits religious, ethnic or racial test for public office and by extension civic leadership should be open to all legal residents.”

George Rindelaub: “There should be no disqualification for participation in public office other than minimum age, and already established criteria regarding criminal convictions, or legal status.”

6. Will you make a motion or support a motion to reverse the Welcoming Resolution adopted by the St Cloud City Council in 2017?

Steve Laraway: “Absolutely not.”

Dave Masters: “No.”

John Palmer: “No.”

George Rindelaub: “No. I subscribe to the current welcoming resolution.”

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We encourage you to be an informed voter on November 6th – local elections matter! #GOTV

About the Author

Natalie Ringsmuth

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Natalie grew up in Central Minnesota and received her Music Education degree from Concordia College in Moorhead. She taught middle school choir in Georgia and worked in the church sector for over a decade. She now works as a legal assistant at Tripiciano Immigration Law, a trainer with the CARE (Community Anti-Racism Education) Team at SCSU (St Cloud State University), and as Founder and Director of #unitecloud, a non-profit working to reduce racial, religious, and cultural tensions in Central MN. She is a member of the Community Impact Team at United Way of Central MN and is currently running for the St Cloud District 742 school board. In her spare time (haha) she loves to spend time with her husband and 3 children.