FAIRMONT - Three candidates are competing to represent Ward 4 on Fairmont City Council, but only two names will appear on the ballot.
Terry Anderson and Jim Hardt both filed at City Hall, and Wayne Hasek is running a write-in campaign.
If Anderson's name seems familiar, that's because he previously served on the council from 1994 to 1998.
"I lost re-election by one vote," he said, but looking back, it worked out.
The retired silversmith began traveling more and checking off items on his "bucket list," but over the past two years, people started talking to him about running for City Council again, and he decided he is ready to serve another term.
"I'm serious about it," he said. "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I want to do what's right for the right reasons, because it's the right thing to do."
Anderson grew up on a farm outside Huntley, and served in the military in Vietnam from 1967-1969. He is a life member of the VFW, Disabled Veterans of America and the Military Order of Purple Heart, of which he presently serves as adjutant for Minnesota Chapter 807.
Anderson has been a resident and business owner in Fairmont for more than 38 years. He is married to Susan Anderson, and the couple have four children, 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. The Andersons are members at Bethel Evangelical Free Church in Fairmont.
According to his campaign literature, Anderson's accomplishments during his tenure on the council include:
o Initiating televised council meetings;
o Helping establish commuter air services for Fairmont;
o Assisting in curbing unneeded expenses and increasing care for Friendship Village residents;
o Assisting local industries with financing from Fairmont Economic Development Authority;
o Working with the council and county commissioners to create the Martin County Multi-use facility.
If re-elected, one of Anderson's priorities is to "protect at-risk people from being abused" by representing "the little guy."
"They have a tough enough world as it is," he said.
He would also like to set up an oversight committee for accounting, as a safeguard for the community; encourage an open-door policy at all levels of city government; reduce wasteful spending and unneeded overhead; and support programs that will help the community and businesses grow.
Hardt is also a name formerly connected to the local political scene. Six years ago, he ran for mayor against Randy Quiring.
"I learned a lot the first time," he said.
He admires the current councilman, Andy Lucas, for the job he has done representing Ward 4.
"It's an older part of town ... with a lot of elderly and a variety of backgrounds," Hardt said. "There's a big economic variance."
If elected, he plans to continue with the biennial ward meetings Lucas started hosting.
"I'd like to be an advocate for the ward," Hardt said. "I'm not afraid to take on a challenge."
Hardt was born and raised in Fairmont. After graduating high school in 1976, he worked at Stokely's, first as a packaging mechanic, then as maintenance foreman. When the plant closed, he enrolled at Southwest State Technical College in Jackson, training as a construction electrician. He now works as a union electrician.
He believes his experience in the Guard helped him develop good communication skills, and his time at Stokely's gave him a connection to many of the people he would represent if elected.
"A lot of people I worked with at the plant are now living in Ward 4," he said.
His goals for the council include making park improvements, like installing a ramp outside a shelter house at Lincoln Park and updating older playground equipment at smaller neighborhood parks.
"Eventually I would like to see a youth center again," he said. "Not all kids are good athletes."
Money is tight though, he realizes, and the challenges the city will face are only going to increase.
"Costs aren't going to go down," he said. "Right now I think they're doing a good job holding the line, but there are more challenges to come. ... There will be hard choices with where to cut and what to let go."
Hardt has three grown children, and he continues to remain active in their lives. He has coached summer CER softball, and he enjoys walking and cribbage.
Hasek has the toughest challenge of the three competitors, as a write-in candidate. The reason he did not file for election is because he thought another person was running who would be a good candidate. When he found out that person had not filed, he decided to throw his own name in the ring.
"I've always had an interest in politics, local and national," Hasek said.
He has not previously served in a public office, partially because he was busy raising a family.
He does, however, claim to have a good understanding of how cities operate and the challenges they face. Hasek has worked in insurance for 29 years, and currently is an insurance adjuster for GMC Employers Mutual Company.
"I used to do a lot of work for Fairmont's insurance company, so there was a conflict of interest at that time for me to run for office," he said.
That experience was very beneficial, he said, in helping him understand the ins and outs of Fairmont City Hall. The position helped him make connections with local officials and city employees, as well as several higher ups with the League of Minnesota Cities.
"I have some contacts that might help the city and businesses," Hasek said. "... I also know where cities can be negligent. I know of immunities in the system, and I have a basic knowledge of how city infrastructure works."
Some of his priorities if elected to council include working to retain and assist existing businesses, and promoting Fairmont's assets.
"A lot of people in Fairmont take these lakes for granted," he said.
Hasek has lived in Fairmont for almost 20 years. He grew up in Sac City, Iowa, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business management from Simpson College.
He and his wife, Christine, have three children, two in college and a senior at Fairmont High School. He is an avid hunter.