Justin Fosso

Justin Fosso

Age: 38

Occupation: Brand Advisor Delta Air Lines

Spouse/family: Wife, Kalee, and children: Kaitlyn, 15, Tyler, 13, and Conner, 5

Memberships in organizations/clubs: Hibbing-Chisholm Breakfast Rotary Club (Second Vice President), Hibbing Community Vision Steering Committee, Hibbing Public Access Television Board (Secretary of treasure)

Past experience as a candidate: None

• If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

Making Hibbing a destination city for business and leisure activities, creating an open two-way communication forum with the residents to keep everyone informed and moving forward with an efficient and within budget public utility plan that works for the whole city.

• What is your understanding and opinion of Hibbing Public Utilities and its commission?

HPU’s job is to provide utilities to our residents as cost effectively and as efficiently as possible, while the commission’s job is to develop policy and oversee the management of HPU. Both entities should work as a team, focused on lowering costs and moving Hibbing forward.

• What is your view on the recent proposal to develop additional community wellness opportunities via a master plan for the Memorial Building?

It is centrally located and would be great spot to add a city wellness center, if space could be found and it is desired by the community. One thing we lack is indoor areas for activities and a master plan that involves increased use of the facility is important.

• Do you think Hibbing’s downtown is healthy and successful? If not, how would you change that?

A healthy downtown doesn’t have empty storefronts. To support existing business and help new business grow, I’d create activities that draw people in and get them to spend time downtown. It’s important that we shop local, and get people outside of our community to spend money here as well.

• How would you involve residents in the city’s decision making process?

Two-way communications are the best way to engage the community. I’d focus on utilizing the newspaper and creating a web page or Facebook page/group where overviews of city projects could be posted and residents can post their questions and receive direct responses from the council in a public forum.

• Evaluate HEDA’s recent successes in promoting economic development. What should the city’s next steps be to promote economic development?

HEDA has been doing a good job in providing assistance to businesses through business and store improvement loans. When businesses look for a destination they look for healthcare, high-speed internet, transportation and educated employees. Focusing on these things will make Hibbing the answer for expanding and new businesses.

• How can the city attract people to serve on city commissions and boards?

First a review of existing boards to ensure they are being utilized, then I believe that getting our youth involved will help to drawn people into our committees. I would focus on creating a junior city council, made up of students, that highlights the younger generations needs within our city.

• What is fair compensation/benefits for a council member?

I believe that fair compensation for a councilor is a monthly payout to recognize the work and time being given. I do not support any additional benefits like access to city medical plan, in fact that would be a great way for the city to save some money.

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Nicholas Hill

Nicholas T. Hill

Age: 55

Occupation: Retired

Spouse/family: Wife, Nancy; children, Hannah and Tomy; and grandchild, Oscar

Memberships in organizations/clubs: No answer

Past experience as a candidate: None

• If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

We as a city need jobs in manufacturing, technology. Jobs outside of mining.

Infrastructure to attract businesses to come to Hibbing and be successful.

Tourism: We as a city need to take advantage of the multimillion-dollar tourism market by offering new and existing attractions for more appealing tourist destinations.

• What is your understanding and opinion of Hibbing Public Utilities and its commission?

I cannot say without knowing all that is going on. So as a council member, I would make it a priority to visit the PUC and find out the problems and work to fix them to keep everyone safe and at work in a secure environment.

• What is your view on the recent proposal to develop additional community wellness opportunities via a master plan for the Memorial Building?

I think we need the Memorial Building to expand and contribute opportunities for our youth and community.

• Do you think Hibbing’s downtown is healthy and successful? If not, how would you change that?

No, I do not think our downtown is healthy. We need to attract businesses to fill our empty storefronts and help our local citizens obtain jobs.

• How would you involve residents in the city's decision-making process?

I would hold meetings with our citizens for them to voice their opinions and do all I could do to accomplish what they need. They are the people who vote you in. You need to listen to them and be their voice.

• Evaluate HEDA's recent success in promoting economic development. What should the city's next steps be to promote economic development?

I admire the progress HEDA has accomplished — and we need to continue attracting jobs and getting local citizens to open businesses.

• How can the city attract people to serve on city commissions and boards?

People need to get involved and interested in local government. Let people know what is needed and be surprised by how many people show up. Let people know they are being heard. Join the commissions and boards.

• What is fair compensation/benefits for a city councilor?

I think the compensation/benefits are fine, as long as the council accomplishes what they have said they are going to do. Let’s make Hibbing a town to be proud to be from again.

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Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson

Age: 48

Occupation: Bar/Restaurant manager

Spouse/family: Wife, Lynda

Memberships in organizations/clubs: Hibbing Fire commission, Algonquin Club, Ducks Unlimited and Mn Deer Hunters Association

Past experience as a candidate: No answer

• If elected, what will be your top 3 priorities?

If elected my top 3 priorities will be: keep money local, economic development and the future of the Hibbing Public Utilities.

• What is your understanding and opinion of Hibbing Public Utilities and its commission?

The Public Utilities Commission has been striving to make our utilities more economically sound for our community and with the LEA buyout money coming in, there will be some difficult decisions that will have to be made on how to move forward.

• What is your view on the recent proposal to develop additional community wellness opportunities via a master plan for the Memorial Building?

The Memorial Arena has come a long way from back in the ‘80s when I worked on the ice crew. We need to continue to modernize and expand the facility to meet the needs of our community both in sports and economic impact of the area.

• Do you think Hibbing’s downtown is healthy and successful? If not, how would you change that?

Hibbing’s downtown has seen a few new businesses come in the last few years, but we still need more. I believe that we can attract more new business with some very subtle changes in what we offer or how we provide assistance to them to choose our great city.

• How would you involve residents in the city's decision-making process?

With an open door policy, which every elected official should have, be willing to listen to our residents to hear there issues and suggestions to make a better community for everyone.

• Evaluate HEDA's recent success in promoting economic development. What should the city's next steps be to promote economic development?

HEDA has done a good job. However, we need to continue to try and entice new business to our community while supporting our local businesses by talking to them about their issues and concerns on the future of doing business in Hibbing.

• How can the city attract people to serve on city commissions and boards?

Having time to commit to boards and commissions is a difficult decision. It can be rewarding, as it has been for me working with the fire department commission. If we communicate with residents about what is needed, I believe citizens of Hibbing will step up and contribute what is needed.

• What is fair compensation/benefits for a city councilor?

While I don’t think that compensation should be the driving force behind civic service, the National League of Cities shows that $12 an hour is adequate based upon a 25-hour work week. In speaking with other candidates, compensation isn’t why we’re doing this — it’s for the betterment of our community.

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