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Hibbing mayoral candidates

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Rick Cannata

Rick J. Cannata

Age: 57

Occupation: MN Laborers Local l097-Marketing Manager

Spouse/family: Married to wife, Jackie, and three children: Ryan Cannata and Justin and Darin Murrer (both deceased)

Memberships in organizations/clubs: 39-year member Laborers Local 1097, vice president Iron Range Building Trades, Iron Range Labor Assembly, Northeast Area Labor Council, Range Mayors Association, MN Building Trades Board Member and Hibbing Historical Society member

Past experience as candidate: Mayor of Hibbing for 8 years (2010-2018)

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

As mayor, I will continue to promote all economic development projects to create new and retain current jobs, fight to increase our Local Government Aid to provide core services and continue to improve our roads and infrastructure.

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

HPUC is governed by five commissioners, which are appointed by the entire city council. The council needs to work with the commission to assure the residents that the Laurentian Energy Authority money is spent responsibly to upgrade equipment so it runs efficiently and reduces consumers monthly bills.

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

The city has prioritized community wellness and has done roughly $4 million of upgrades to the Memorial Building to upgrade the Curling Club, the HVAC in the arena area, numerous lighting upgrades and have renovated the east side locker rooms and built new locker rooms on the west side.

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

As downtowns around the state and country change, Hibbing has been able to evolve to house numerous financial institutions, businesses and restaurants. Now with ADA accessible sidewalks, we hope the downtown continues to evolve and draw citizens to the areas.

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

I will continue to have an open door for all citizens and visitors to voice concerns or give input on how our city is run.

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

Hibbing has had many successes including the new hotel, both new restaurants and the revitalization of old restaurants, local business expansions and support and

monetary upgrades to the new Mine View and the Senior Center. I will continue to promote Hibbing for all new businesses and our current businesses.

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

As is the case in many communities, some boards and commissions receive many applicants and some receive very few. We will continue to promote all boards and commissions and continue to work to try and fill vacancies as they occur.

• What is fair compensation/benefits for a mayor?

I won't speak for others to define fair compensation. I’ve not received any healthcare benefits from the city and go out of my way to put all $10,800 the mayor receives yearly back into our community. I do this because Hibbing is my hometown and my passion — not for compensation.

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Gary Oie

Gary Oie

Age: 49

Occupation: Financial Advisor for Security Investment Solutions

Spouse/family: Wife, Candy, for 28 years, three children and two grandchildren

Memberships in organizations/clubs: Chair of the City of Hibbing Planning & Zoning Commission and the City of Hibbing Board of Adjustments & Appeals (13 years as a member); member of the Hibbing Lion’s Club; volunteer work for the United Way and other organizations

Past experience as a candidate: Ran for city council (12 years ago) and school board in the past

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

The 3 top priorities are: (1) to promote business growth in the community, which includes industrial, retail and dining; (2) to make the Public Utilities be accountable and a profitable entity; and (3) to promote transparency and open doors within all levels of government within the City of Hibbing.

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

The Public Utilities provides utilities to the residents of Hibbing. The commission is the oversight committee for the Public Utility. In my professional and personal opinion, we need to make the Public Utility accountable and a profitable entity for the City of Hibbing while reducing and eliminating wasteful spending.

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

The recent proposal to develop community wellness opportunities will be positive for the community. When there are many things distracting us from being healthy, both personally and as a community, our community taking the initiative to promote community wellness is a positive. We just need to promote this.

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

Our downtown was healthy, successful in the past. Currently, we have a number of vacant storefronts and several buildings that are beyond repair that need to be removed. Let’s work together to fill these store fronts. Let’s also remove these dilapidated buildings and bring in some green space downtown.

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

Involving residents in the decision making process is a priority. By promoting an open door policy, I will, first, invite all residents to come to my office and state their concerns. Second, I will be hosting regular Town Hall meetings to invite all residents to discuss anything openly.

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

Past President Marcus Damjanovich and current President Shari Majkich Brock have done a great job leading HEDA and promoting local economic development. However, there is always more that can be done to promote economic development in our community.

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

Residents in our community will want to serve on city commissions and boards if they feel that their voices are heard. Currently, many feel their voices are not being heard. By maintaining an open door policy, holding Town Hall meetings and leading by example, residents will want to be involved.

• What is fair compensation/benefits for a mayor?

The stipends councilors receive are adequate. No elected official or appointed board member should ever receive a health care package as a benefit. Those benefits shouldn’t be granted unless you’re a full-time vested employee. No elected official or appointed board member, past or present, is a full-time vested employee.

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