Two seeking mayoral seat in Mabel
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:40 AM
As Mabel voters go to the polls next Tuesday, they will find two names on the ballot to choose from to elect their city's mayor. Incumbent Melissa "Liz" Folstad is seeking reelection against former city council member Brian Street.
Current Mayor Melissa “Liz” Folstad, at left, is seeking reelection during the general election on Tuesday. Running against her is former city council member Brian Street.
Folstad has been the mayor the past two years. She works as a lead accountant for Top Hat, Inc., in La Crosse.
Street works in retail and formerly served on the city council for nine years, leaving the council in 2010.
The two candidates responded to a questionnaire sent out by the News-Record and their responses are printed below.
What has motivated you to file for this office? If you are an incumbent please note how many years you have served and why you wish to continue.
Folstad: I have had the honor of being the mayor for the city of Mabel since January of 2011. In the two years I have been in office a lot of change has taken place. I am running again because I feel I still have a lot to accomplish. As most people know, I was very new to politics and the ins and outs of how Mabel was run. I feel I have come around to understand everything and am excited to help lead Mabel into the future.
Street: In the two years since I was on the city council I have seen a need to address issues that were at the time, and still are, a concern to the city's future. With nine years on the city council, three of those as acting mayor, I have the experience and ability to ensure that those issues, as well as any concerns of the citizens of Mabel, are looked into and properly addressed.
Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office?
Folstad: I have always been a person willing to listen. There have been numerous times that a resident has approached me with a question or concern. I am able to listen and talk with them. I may not always agree with them and they may not always agree with me, but I believe that listening and understanding is the major key to this office. It's good to know that so many people still care for our city.
Street: I have the ability to objectively look at all sides of an issue and weigh all opinions and concerns equally before making a decision as to what would be best for Mabel and its future.
In these difficult economic times, how would you prioritize the needs for the city?
Folstad: Staying within our budget would be a high priority for us right now. There haven't been too many years where excess spending is done, but with costly projects in the near future, we need to make sure we can complete those and not have a large impact on taxes.
Street: First and foremost, we need to look at bringing new businesses and opportunities to Mabel. This would provide jobs, increase the tax base and provide a place for our citizens to shop locally. Revitalizing our Main Street and business district would also provide an increase in property values. We also need to address issues with the city's infrastructure. There are problems with some of the sewer mains and one of the water towers that needs to be repaired or replaced. However, we also need to finance these improvements with the least amount of cost and tax increase to the citizens of Mabel.
Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the city?
Folstad: I believe the issue people are most concerned about right now in Mabel is the closing of our grocery store. There is nothing directly that the city can do, but there are ways we can try to help. I currently do volunteer grocery delivery so I know how important having a grocery store is. People counted on the store being here and now we have to look outside of town. If there is a way to work with groups or individuals to make this happen, I think it would benefit all of us. When we get a store back, I think we will see more people shopping locally and, of course, it will provide more jobs in town.
Street: A current and ongoing issue that needs to be addressed is bringing additional businesses to serve the basic needs of our community. Of high importance is a grocery store so people would not have to travel out of town when they are in need of just a few items. Elderly and young alike have stated the need for a grocery store in Mabel.