Attention Highland Park: We want to learn what neighborhood issues matter most to you!

2021 Election – HDC Board Candidates

The HDC Election for At-large and Grid Representatives will run online from Thursday, April 22 at 7 pm to Tuesday, April 27 at 10 pm via Survey Monkey. Mail-in ballots will also be accepted and must be received by April 29. If you would like to receive a mail-in ballot, please call Kathy at 651-695-4005 or email info@highlanddistrictcouncil.org.

The following positions are up for election this year:

  • Three at-large alternative representatives from any of the grids in Highland Park. You may vote for up to three candidates.
  • One representative from each of the odd-numbered grids (Grids 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11). Click here to find your grid. You may only vote for candidates in your grid.

Learn about all of the candidates below. At-Large candidates introduced themselves during HDC’s Annual Meeting on April 22.Click here to watch a recording of the first 1 hour of the Zoom Meeting. At-large candidates introduced themselves at 00:54:00 in the recording.

Vote for At-large and Grid Representatives Here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HDC2021election

HDC members are also asked to vote on changes to our by-laws. Click here to view the proposed changes.

Vote on the Proposed By-law Changes Here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/bylawhdc

At-Large Candidates

There are three (3) at-large positions to fill this year. You may vote for up to three candidates.

Brad Reinboldt, Grid 5

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have lived in the greater Highland Park area for more than 24 years. During this time, I have volunteered for numerous school and sporting activities in roles including fund raising and supporting local teams – most recently I have served as an At-Large representative of the HDC. My objective in again seeking an At-Large Seat is to utilize my strengths in effective communication and listening skills to further contribute to the community and assist wherever I am able so Highland Park can continue to thrive well into the future.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The interconnected nature of the themes called out culminating in the foundation on which Highland Park is built a vibrant, welcoming, and safe neighborhood. For me, this means providing tangible, ongoing confirmation to each resident of their individual value as well as what their unique world view and talents can contribute to enhance the diversity of the entire community. Each of us must play our part in fostering this to ensure a robust and nurturing environment for the greater good.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

When considering new development, balancing the desires of the present and future community members I would begin by asking what sort of city I would want our children and grandchildren to live in? For me, it would be one that emphasizes environmental sustainability along with flexible, cost effective living options for different income levels and lifestyles. Integral to this would be the protection of the long-term wellbeing of every resident with an emphasis on equal opportunity and justice for all.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Prioritizing transportation resources must be aligned with the new development framework (described above) to maximize livability and provide residents with options for navigating within their community. Walking, biking, and driving along with effective public transportation options each plays a critical part in any strategic, well-conceived plan. By balancing the needs of all stakeholders, a vibrant and holistic transportation vision can be achieved that will serve the community now and well into the future.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Consideration of the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process begins with removing barriers and ongoing outreach.  Effective HDC community engagement involves providing every resident with innovative options to have their voices heard, such as alternate ways to attend HDC board meetings (perhaps held in different times and locations throughout Highland Park), social media interaction, and language translation services among others. Another critical aspect of outreach is to actively seek out candidates who face obstacles to serve as board members doing these activities will make the HDC a more productive and welcoming organization.

Cheryl Calloway, Grid 12

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have more than 30 years of experience in discussing issues and representing people and organizations, both public and private. This experience will help me in learning the issues of concern to renters in the Highland Park Community and appropriately represent those views to the Council. This will help ensure that the voices of renters are represented and heard by the Council and Community.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The implied desire to work together for a shared current and future that recognizes the needs and rights of all people who are within Highland.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

By analyzing the needs of the current community, developing a blueprint for what we want Highland to look like in the future and what we anticipate the needs will be of the future community members and focusing on those that overlap. Redefine what constitutes “affordable” in the context of housing, transportation and provision and acquisition of services and ensure that those are all available within the community. By looking to enhance the diversity, equity and inclusion activities in the community.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

By examining the transportation needs of the current community and comparing them to the current transportation opportunities and focusing on maximizing the opportunities to enable current residents to get to and from school, work, shopping and recreational activities, affordably, reasonably and safely. By examining the anticipated needs of incoming residents and making recommendations accordingly.  By focusing on the transportation needs of the disenfranchised, the elderly and the disabled.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Avidly, compassionately and reasonably. Identify the obstacles and the reasons therefore and then work with appropriate individuals and agencies to resolve the obstacles.  Engage in public education measures.

Josh Braaten, Grid 5

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I’ve lived in Highland Park since 2008 and have served on the Highland District Council for the past year. In my time as at-large alternate representative and member of the Community Engagement Committee, I’ve leveraged my organization, marketing and communication skills to help serve the HDC. You can learn more about me at joshbraaten.com.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

These past few years have been very divisive in our city, state, and country. Organizations like the HDC are vital to the unification of our community and they can only happen when service-minded individuals donate their time.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

Change without structure is chaos. In order to make true progress, we need to make well-informed decisions about the changes we make to our community that are based on data and the voice of its members. Everyone’s concerns should be heard and then we should make choices that benefit the greater good.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

It’s important to achieve a transportation that works both today and in the future. We need to proactively create a public and cleaner transportation infrastructure, but it’s also vital to today’s residents that we consider traffic congestion, public safety, and other factors to keep Highland Park an enjoyable place to live, work, play, and travel.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

As a current member and co-secretary of the HDC Community Engagement Committee, I have helped to create communications plans for important community events, served as a marketing/technology resource to scale the HDC’s communications efforts, and spearheaded outreach attempts to business owners, renters, and other groups who have traditionally been underrepresented within Highland Park. After a year of service on the board, I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of things and could be even more impactful in the next two years to come.

Kathleen Anderson, Grid 4

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

My name is Kathleen Anderson and I am a clinical social worker who is currently home with our three young children.  We moved to St. Paul from Brooklyn, NY in the summer of 2019 and quickly found our community here in Highland Park, made more urgent by the limits (and opportunities!) of the pandemic and the reckoning forced by the murder of George Floyd.  I used my engagement and community building skills, as well as a healthy dose of humility and sense of humor, to organize neighbors and identify ways – including joining the HDC Community Engagement Committee – to ensure that Highland Park is a welcoming and vibrant community for all.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

At one of my first committee meetings, a departing Board Member shared that there are essentially two Highlands:  Upper Highland and Lower Highland.  This has stayed with me: we are a large, populous, and diverse neighborhood, but in many ways still unknown to each other.  As a relative newcomer to the area, I am hopeful about the opportunities to grow forward together, creating connection between homeowners and renters, established residents and newcomers, elder and youth, white and BIPOC, and residents and business owners, as well as a sense of belonging for all.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

I pledge to talk with, and truly listen to, diverse community voices in assessing the desires of present community members.  As a parent, I believe leadership mandates recognizing the critical needs that need to be prioritized now for a sustainable, relevant future:  environmental consciousness, mixed use spaces/more density, low carbon transportation, and abundant, affordable housing.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

My East Coast perspective is showing a bit, but I would like to see increased walkability and more sidewalks along scenic parts of the neighborhood (e.g. along Edgecumbe and the east side of the golf course).  I think the pandemic has made us all appreciate getting outdoors where we can and I would like neighbors to be able to do so safely.  I am pro-cycling and also want to maintain the roads for drivers.  I push back on this idea that we have to choose and seek balanced support for all. 

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Since becoming a formal Community Member on the HDC Community Engagement Committee in late fall of 2020, I have been a part of a small group critically examining obstacles to participation in the HDC as a larger part of forward movement on our Equity Plan.  One of the largest barriers was lack of information (57%) about the HDC mission and goals, so we proposed ongoing transparency updates on our website and holding a quarterly orientation/welcome for Highland residents interested in learning more about the Council, along with other outreach and engagement ideas developed through the committee.  Virtual meetings have improved the accessibility of meetings and so a commitment to a hybrid model once we can meet again in person is another consideration.

Lindsay Claire Shimizu, Grid 7

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

As a software consultant, I spend every day developing processes and coordinating projects to achieve mutual goals. I’m also able to step back and see things from a variety of perspectives, which helps solve problems before they occur. Highland Park has been my home for the past 5 years (you can often find me walking to our library) and I want to play an active role in bolstering the community for my future family.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

I feel connected to the mission of improving opportunities for all our residents, no matter where in the neighborhood they might live. I also think I bring a unique perspective to the table as an ally for racial and social justice. I hope to lend my passion and skills to make an impact for all our community members.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

As a resident who plans to be here for a long time to come, I definitely understand the desire to maintain the great community we’ve built, and that traffic, parking, useability, and beauty all have an important impact on the neighborhood. At the same time, one truth about life is that things will change. That’s why I think it’s vital to partner with the city on projects like the new Highland Bridge development, which present an incredible opportunity to envision a more equitable, environmentally friendly future.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Safety for everyone regardless of their mode of transport is my first concern. After that, maintaining roads, parking considerations, and increasing charging stations has to be balanced with investing in more eco-friendly options such as walking, biking, and public transport. When you have limited resources, building the future we want to see will only come with compromise.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

As a community rep on the Community Engagement Council this past year, I helped develop specific recommendations to tackle some of the barriers to participation that I faced as a first-time participant in the Highland District Council. I’d like to continue that work to enable more diverse voices to get involved, as well as improve visibility and execution on the HDC’s Equity Plan.

Rabbi Moishe Kasowitz, Grid 8

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I am a Rabbi, teacher, BWCA Guide, husband of a wife who is an outstanding teacher of children who have learning difficulties, a father of 6 and a grandfather. We have lived in Highland for decades and think we have a good understanding of the needs of the community .

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

My views sync well with the above mission statement of the HDC. I would strive to be a good advocate for my neighbors.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

Highland Park must be a welcoming community for people of all backgrounds. In addition, it’s important that we have smart community development to be inclusive of new neighbors and working in collaboration with current residents.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

In conjunction with the cities various transportation plans, I would be an advocate for multimodal forms of transport including biking and pedestrian walkways. I would work closely with locals to hear their concerns regarding prioritizing transportation needs and how to balance that with wider community needs.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Technology has enabled most to fully participate in all discussions and decision making. We must reach out to any who might not have that access to enable them to engage as well. It is important to have a transparent process in place so that residents feel welcome to take part.

Terri Fishel, Grid 9

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have lived in Highland Park for close to 30 years.  My strengths include having a positive attitude, attention to detail, and I love to solve problems.  I have the time to devote to putting in the time and attention to participating in the community and listening to the concerns of community members.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

Having a neighborhood that is safe and welcoming is essential to me.  My neighbors have connected during the pandemic to stay in touch and maintain a community during times of isolation, especially during this winter.  We developed a small neighborhood cooking coop to keep connected and help us get through the tough winter and it was a great success.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

I am not opposed to change, but I think it is important to balance the needs of the current residents with the changes proposed for a future population.  I think there needs to be a balance to consider a diverse population that includes seniors, young professionals, young families, ethnic and religious diversity, and economic diversity.  In order to balance, we need to listen and learn, and better understand how different groups envision the future and respect the diversity of opinions to find the right balance.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Transportation is critical for Highland Park and a balance of resources to provide better mass transit (improve routes and schedules), safe bike lanes, and improve driving challenges such as the 5 p.m. Ford/Cleveland gridlock requires better planning.  Anyone who lives near the Mississippi Blvd. knows how popular the shared walking/biking paths are and with the planned increase in population we need to make sure that there is adequate space for people to engage in safe walking/biking/driving in the same shared spaces.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

I think there are ways to connect to people based on their comfort level.  It is hard to meet in person right now, but that won’t be forever and providing opportunities to ask questions and respond in a timely manner can be done by phone, email, snail mail, or by virtual chat and all are types of communication that I am comfortable using.  If language is a barrier, there are a number of ways to facilitate communication whether through interpreters or using other means to make sure that all voices are heard and responded to in a meaningful manner.

Grid Candidates

Only odd-numbered grids are up for election in 2021. You may only vote for candidates in your grid. Click here to find your grid.

Grid 1

Raymond Konyn, Grid 1

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have lived in Highland Park for the past 10 years along with my wife and our two dogs.  My career has been in operations and supply chain management, which has included abundant experience with detailed planning, teamwork, and project management. I am optimistic, positive, and detail-oriented, and I aim to apply my analytical, problem solving, and collaboration strengths to the decisions that support the continued vitality and appeal of our neighborhood.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The engagement and connection elements are meaningful to me.  The events of the past year have made me appreciate even more the value of the supportive and caring neighbors, convenient local businesses, and accessible community and natural resources that make up Highland.  I have personally benefited from the time and efforts of the people that have worked to make our neighborhood special, and feel compelled to volunteer to continue to foster that mission in support of the well-being of all members of this community.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

I want Highland Park to be an inclusive not exclusive neighborhood, and am in favor of investment in our community that provides resources and amenities of value to both current and prospective residents and visitors.  Present community members also fall into the future community members group, and I believe that elements of development that both attract and retain residents are more aligned than not.  My intent is to evaluate each opportunity on its potential to deliver a net benefit to the most people.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

I support and agree with the transportation goals and priorities stated in the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan.  I believe safety should be the first priority for all modes and users, and that prioritizing and advancing additional opportunities for safe and efficient walking, cycling, and transit will benefit our community in terms of equity, climate, and public health.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

I would like to support the council to reduce and remove obstacles to participation by leveraging potential technology, communication, and direct outreach modes and solutions.  I want to proactively engage and solicit input directly from underrepresented community members to learn and understand versus assume what their needs and desires are. 

Thomas (Tom) Romens, Grid 1

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

My professional background is in strategic planning, project management/implementation, grant writing, and budget management.  I was the successful author of a number of federal and state discretionary fund grants that provided services to Veterans and to the unemployed.  I am former President of the Snelling-Hamline Community Council and with that additional experience I can be helpful with planning activities and would be able to apply my research and grant writing skills to help secure funds from the City Council to make those plans a reality.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

I have lived in St. Paul for 40 years and Highland Park for 10 years which gives me insight into current issues before the Council and energizes me to work together with my neighbors to achieve goals that recognize differences of opinion while seeking consensus.  During my year as a council member I approached issues before the council from the standpoint that, as neighbors, we should compromise to be able to move forward.   I was personally involved in helping the council connect with neighbors via my participation in the Council’s Highland Fest presence, the Home Improvement Fair, the Neighborhood House food give-away, and the Highland Neighbors Together dinner sponsored by the Highland District Council.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

New development represents change and is an opportunity for civil discussion of alternatives and hopefully, a consensus decision.  While the desires of future community members are somewhat unknown, the study and analysis of similar developments already in place should be informative. My starting point would be to consider how a development proposal integrates into the community and does not isolate itself from the existing community due to development type or development scale (for example, heavy manufacturing would not be good fit in a residential neighborhood).  

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Transportation resources need to be balanced between current identified needs such as better road maintenance and future needs which include enhanced pedestrian and bicycle safety.  During my year on the HDC I authored and submitted a proposal to improve bike trails in Hidden Falls, authored and submitted three Capital Improvement Budget  proposals (one involved a painted pedestrian crosswalk for enhanced safety, one involved improved separation of pedestrians and bicycles on the Mississippi River Blvd. shared trail, and one involved improving traffic flow on Cretin Avenue) that were subsequently endorsed by the executive board and submitted to the City’s Capital Improvement Budget Committee.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

The Community Engagement Committee of the HDC needs to continue its outreach efforts to meet neighbors on their own turf, where they live and work – the aforementioned Neighborhood House food give-away being an excellent example of such an effort.   I served on the 2019-2020 election task force that recommended policy changes to allow the HDC to conduct the annual meeting and the annual election remotely, and helped audit and validate the election process.   The election’s voter participation data totals clearly demonstrated that technology is a partial solution that enhances participation and eliminates some of the obstacles that limit in person participation.

Grid 3

Mark Rachac, Grid 3

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have lived in Highland since 1991.  I am a co-owner of a business in Saint Paul with eight employees.  My family moved to the area in 1910 so my Saint Paul roots are very deep.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

I am grateful that Saint Paul has the district council system so community issues can be addressed on a very localized level.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

It is very important to study the impact of any development with detailed,  multi-faceted data and input from residents.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

It is important to leverage transportation infrastructure to the optimal level for all modes.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

It is important to seek input.  It is important to analyze impact data and seek a balanced approach for all constituencies.

Mikael Asp, Grid 3

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I am a University of St Thomas graduate (finance major / mathematics minor) and a 20 plus year resident of Highland Park.  I currently own / operate more than 10 restaurants across the metro area including Agra Culture, La Grolla and Yumi in St Paul.  I believe my business background will allow me to successfully navigate HDC decision process which will almost always have both economic and social implications.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The ability to not just speak of but achieve the goal of combining resident’s ability to live, learn, work and play while all respecting goals and wishes means an enormous amount to me personally and I would assume all Highland Park residents.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

New development is required for any community to continue investing in its city for improved economic and social needs today and for the future.  Balancing respecting the past and our history while achieving this goal is very difficult yet achievable as I believe there is a way to respect and honor our history yet make strong investments in development.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Highland Park is incredibly for people who love to walk and bike in our current set-up including our vast number of parks and trails.  I also believe if we do not provide resources such as parking and roads for local business we will not maintain our fantastic array of successful local businesses.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Everybody has a voice and everybody should be able to express this voice no matter what as long as the voice is lawful and respectable in of itself and others.  We need to ensure everybody feels comfortable sharing and expressing their voice.

Grid 5

Mark Triola, Grid 5

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I am a local attorney with years of experience organizing community support at the grassroots level. I have an understanding of the importance of localized decision-making and the lasting impact even the smallest decisions can have on our quality of life. I am not one to make quick, reactionary decisions and instead strive to focus on the long-term gain and overall health of the community.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The HDC’s mission is an inclusive statement that strives to bring all stakeholders in our community together to work towards mutual and sustained prosperity. By focusing on keen aspects of our quality of life, the HDC is in a great position to help Highland Park flourish when times are good and weather the storm when inevitable hardships strike. The Council’s mission seeks to find common grounds that unite us in our community which is sorely needed in an environment steeped in division.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

Communities are always evolving and adapting. By taking a balanced and measured approach to development, I would focus on the long-term impact of the current stakeholders in our community while doing my best to guide sustainable growth as to not lose the charming character of Highland Park.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?

There is no denying that there will be a massive influx of residents, businesses, and capital coming into Highland Park with the Highland Bridge development. A realistic approach to the needs of our community will look to accommodate transit options for all residents and businesses. Forcing specific options to the detriment of others can have unintended accessibly issues and cause economic and environmental downstream effects that are not easily foreseeable from our current vantage point.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Civic engagement and participation are bedrock principles of strong local communities. My mother has cerebral palsy, so I know first hand the hardships and barriers people face in accessing and participating in governmental and community programs. We should strive to lower the burden of entry of participation to better reflect the unique and often underrepresented members of our community.

Stephanie A Moncada, Grid 5

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

Passionate advocate and ambassador for Highland Park and the City of St. Paul. More than 20 years of experience leading Marketing, Communications, PR and Community Relations for Fortune 500 Companies. Proud member of the Board of Directors for ServeMinnesota, a chapter of AmeriCorps’ voluntary civil society program.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

The mission of HDC is aspirational and I’m inspired by it because I believe it’s achievable if we can focus on the fundamentals: the safety of our community; ensuring sufficient resources are directed to public transport and ensuring the integrity of our roads + bridges; equitable economic opportunity; and support for our business community.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

Create a collaborative, diverse and inclusive group of HP’ers to develop a clear vision and a supporting 2, 4 and 6-year strategy. Solicit feedback from the broader community and work to gain alignment. The strategy then serves as the roadmap and filter for decisions on current, new and potential development in our community.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Safe roads and accessible public transportation is the engine of equitable economic opportunity. This is fundamental to fulfilling the mission of the HDC and I believe should be a top priority. 

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Diversity and inclusion is critical, and I firmly believe that every voice has the right to be heard and every opinion has value — especially in the public process. Identifying and removing obstacles that prevent anyone from easily participating in a community discussion should be addressed regularly.

Grid 7

Andy Flamm, Grid 7

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

My wife and I have lived in Highland for 34 years, raising two daughters here and enjoying our wonderful neighborhood. I am a recently retired small-business owner, so I understand the challenges faced by our community’s entrepreneurs, as well as the many opportunities coming our way due to local development efforts. I enjoy outdoor recreation, reading, and playing games with friends, and I love digging into a challenge knowing I can help improve life for my neighbors.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

Having several years of experience on another district council board, I’ve seen how beneficial it can be to bring community members together, listen to their concerns and suggestions, and lobby the City on their behalf. It’s clear that Highland residents are knowledgeable, engaged and determined to make our neighborhood the best it can be, and the Highland District Council is the best way to focus that energy into action.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

I would listen carefully to all perspectives and try to understand why they are important to the community before determining how to balance competing interests. Usually all parties have legitimate concerns, so it’s critical to acknowledge viewpoints even when they cannot be accommodated. In most cases, creating balance means that no one gets everything they want, but rather that reasonable compromises are reached which satisfy as many community members as possible.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

As a member of the HDC’s Transportation Committee for the past year, I have learned much about current and prospective developments in our neighborhood. While there is admirable momentum for enhanced walking and biking options, we need to remember that driving is still a dominant method of transportation and that streets and parking are key aspects of financial health for residents and businesses alike. We also need to address safety concerns such as dockless bikes and scooters as well as speeding and recklessness on paths and trails.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Outreach to everyone in our district is critical so that all can benefit from representation by the HDC. Underrepresented community members can be reached via the local schools, businesses and organizations with which they interact, and efforts should be made to include them on the board and committees.

Matt Clark, Grid 7

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I grew up here, played sports, graduated from Highland Park High School and the University of Minnesota with two degrees and now have a family of six going to school, playing sports and building their futures here.  I want to help guide that future in a vibrant, safe, equal and thriving Highland community for everyone.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

HDC’s mission is meaningful to me because our community welcomes and serves people of all ages.  Families plant roots here, kids come to daycare here, young adults play sports here and work part time jobs, adults stay to work and go to school and eventually, adults retire here.  All of these life stages have accompanying businesses and services that make our community vibrant.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

We should build on our history as a streetcar developed community with vibrant intersections and businesses, nestled with rental and single-family homes.  These development uses don’t have to be in conflict with each other.  In fact, future development can and must coexist in order to retain the vibrant interactions that occur at our key intersections between businesses, education, recreation, and places of worship.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

We have to prioritize the pedestrian environment while balancing the needs of cyclists and drivers.  If we cannot ensure safe pedestrian access, the lifeblood of the Highland Village and our other key intersections is endangered   However, we cannot block current modes of transit that prevent new and future residents and visitors from getting to our neighborhood.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

As representative for Grid 7, I will be available by phone, email, and in-person discussions to listen to the needs of our neighborhood and to advocate for the views and beliefs of my fellow neighbors.  On the playground, at daycare, at school and around Highland, I will be a voice for neighbors that want to see a thriving Highland Park.

Grid 9

Beverly Brending, Grid 9

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I love the neighbored, the warmth, friendliness and amenities.  I enjoy people, like to hear what is on your mind and the concerns you have for our district.  I will do a good job being a voice for you.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

It is all encompassing, and represents the people who live in our neighborhood.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

Listen to our community, engage with and study proposed changes. Communicate and Listen.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Work toward a peaceful and respectful experience for everyone.

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

Find out how we can become more available to them and implement those changes.

Grid 11

Kiros Berhe, Grid 11

Tell us about yourself and how you can best leverage your strengths to represent your grid and the Highland Park Community.      

I have lived in Minnesota for 5 years.  I am from Ethiopia. I will bring a fresh International perspective to the Highland Community and represent all the people in my grid/community.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?    

I wish to help the community where I live and for Grid 11 to integrate with the rest of Highland.

When considering new development, how would you balance the desires of the present community with those of future community members?    

I would survey my community and prioritize the current needs with the future, to the best of my ability.

How would you prioritize transportation resources (such as space and funding) for people walking, biking, and driving?                

Every form of transportation is valid and necessary. I would encourage the transportation resources to be distributed equally. 

How would you consider the needs and desires of members of the community who face obstacles to participation in the public process?

I care about my community so I will listen to what the needs are.  It will be my priority to know the concerns of my community.