Highland Together Oktoberfest at Wandering Leaf Brewing on October 12

2023 Special Election – HDC Board Candidates

Due to several vacancies, Highland District Council is seeking to fill a Grid 9 and a Grid 11 position on HDC’s board of directors through April 2023 and an At-Large representative to serve through April 2024.

The following applications were received by the January 31 at 5pm deadline.

Grid 9

No candidates submitted an application for the Grid 9 position. We will seek to fill this position during the Annual HDC Board Election in early spring 2023.

Grid 11

No candidates submitted an application for the Grid 11 position. We will seek to fill this position during the Annual HDC Board Election in early spring 2023.


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.

I have been an active member of the Council for the past two years participating in a number of special projects, writing proposals for funding of projects in Highland, and volunteering for numerous events. I believe the most important role of a District Council representative is to interact with the community, to listen — doing so provides community members the opportunity to express their wishes, thoughts, and concerns regarding Highland, and have those thoughts and concerns presented to the District Council and to the St. Paul City Council. I have attended 8 Neighborhood night out meetings over the past two years to provide such an opportunity to neighbors in my Grid and in an adjoining grid.

What makes the Highland District Council mission (below) meaningful to you?

Community engagement is the grassroots of citizen participation in democracy. Interacting with the people who live, work , and play in HIghland Park allows district council members to listen to their concerns and raise them to the first level of government, the City of St. Paul. Obvious priority concerns are basic infrastructure and supporting the local business communities.

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

There is clearly a need for new development in HIghland. Developers should be open about their potential impact of proposed new developments on a neighborhood and should actively pursue engagement with neighbors to address any concerns they might raise. Compromise and consensus with respect to how development moves forward serves everyone.

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

Walking should be encouraged and attention to safe street crossings is a starting point. Street maintenance has been underfunded and mil overlays are long overdue for most residential streets in Highland. As a regular biker, safe biking routes are also important while at the same time recognizing that not all streets can accommodate safe bike routes.

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

Continue the use of hybrid meetings and continue to set aside a period for public comment and interaction on regular meeting agendas. Continue to sponsor special topic meetings for those interested in transportation and in proposed major development initiatives.


The At-Large candidate, Tom Romens, is running unopposed, and will be appointed during the HDC meeting on February 2. No individuals submitted an application for a Grid 9 or Grid 11 position, so HDC will seek to fill these positions during the Spring 2023 election.