Spring clean up in Highland on April 20 from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

HDC 2023 Special Election

The HDC Special Election for an At-large and a Grid 3 Representative will run online Thursday, July 20 at 7 p.m. through Tuesday, July 25 at 10 p.m. via Survey Monkey. Mail-in ballots will also be accepted and must be received by July 27 at 5 p.m. If you would like to receive a mail-in ballot, please call Kathy at 651-695-4005 or email [email protected].

The following positions are up for election this year:

  • One at-large representatives from any of the grids in Highland Park.
  • One representative from grid 3. Click here to find your grid. You may only vote for candidates in your grid. If do not live in or represent a business in grid 3, you may vote for one of the At-large candidates.

Click here to find your grid and use the search box in the upper left corner of the website to enter your address.

Candidates will introduce themselves during HDC’s July Board Meeting on July 20 at 7 p.m. at the Highland Community Center. Get the link to join online.

Vote

Vote online here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HDCspecialelection2023 (this link will go live on July 20 at 7 p.m. and close on July 25 at 10pm)

If you prefer to submit a paper ballot, please email [email protected] or call the HDC office at 651.695.4005. Mail-in ballots must be received by Wednesday, April 5 at 5pm. You may only vote via online ballot or via mail-in.

Candidates

At-large

Caryn Lindsay

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

I’m a big picture person so running for an at-large seat makes sense for me. I grew up in the Merriam Park area, graduated from St. Thomas and then spread my wings across the world as a U.S. diplomat and international educator until my return 2.5 years ago. As important as having long-time residents on the Council is considering new perspectives and ideas such as what I can bring from my experiences living in other states and countries.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?

The ideals expressed in the HDC’s mission align with my core values of respecting each person and supporting each individual to reach their full potential. I have been fortunate to contribute to these goals throughout my life in both professional and volunteer capacities. I currently volunteer with Neighborhood House’s preschool location at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and am helping my church to support an Afghan family. I am excited to continue to work toward these ideals as an HDC board member.

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

The speed of change seems to increase each decade. We want to hold onto what we value in our community while also insuring it adapts to new social, economic, and educational realities, values, and needs. Questions I would ask about new development include: In what ways will the proposal contribute to the community’s values and priorities, both now and in the future? Can we identify the consequences (intentional and unintentional) of the development? What are the non-monetary costs associated with the development?

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

Past Highland Park planners have ensured that the infrastructure for walking, biking, and driving all exist in our community. My first priority would be to make sure that sidewalks, residential streets, and designated walking and bike paths are well maintained. For the sake of the environment and those unable to walk or bike, we must continue the transition to transportation options such as e-vehicles and public transportation.

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

The most effective means to inform and include as many as possible in public processes is to meet people where they are: in schools, senior housing, ethnic festivals, etc. It requires extra effort, but is vital if all voices are to be heard in important decisions.

Casey Ulrich

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

I am a husband, a father, a teacher, and currently support licensed educators new to Saint Paul Public Schools to learn, grow, and feel supported in their new position. My ability to listen and build relationships across difference will allow me to make connections with community members and board members. My experience in education will allow me to balance the diverse perspectives of the community while also advocating for those in the community who are traditionally underserved or underrepresented.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?

I believe connected and engaged communities are the cornerstone to building a foundation of opportunity for our young people and traditionally marginalized populations. When we learn to celebrate, understand, and advocate for each other, we learn that our community’s diversity is our strength and allows us to build a more thriving neighborhood for all residents. The mission of the Highland District Council aligns with my core values of service, democracy, and community.

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

New development needs to take into account the diverse perspectives of the current residents – both the families that have long histories of living in Highland Park and the more recent immigrant populations that live, learn, work, and play here. Development proposals must be shared widely among all community stakeholders along with a transparent decision making process so that those with more affluence or social capital do not carry an unfair advantage in decision making. As a member of the board, I will encourage the community to intentionally include diverse voices in planning for the future to ensure Highland Park continues to be a neighborhood for people of all backgrounds and lived experiences.

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

I will advocate for transportation options that incentivize the use of more climate-friendly transportation options – bike lanes, EV charging stations, bike share. I would also prioritize the nuts and bolts of transportation issues like working with the city to make sure roads are plowed and potholes are filled and with neighbors to ensure sidewalks are shoveled and drains are cleaned.

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

As an educator, I have experience working with students and families who face barriers, and I’ve learned the importance of the assets and values they bring to a school community. Similarly, it is imperative we seek out those that have been traditionally left behind – immigrants, black and brown residents, the housing insecure, our very young and our very old – and encourage them to be part of the conversations happening at the Highland District Council. Building on the outreach already established by the HDC, I will encourage partnerships with local schools, religious organizations, and community organizations like the Neighborhood House to tap the wisdom of local institutions with long histories of service in Highland Park.

John Krenik

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

I have been a property owner in Highland for 32 years. I for the last 37 years I have been a special education teacher working with students who have Emotional and or Behavior Disorders and Adult Basic Education (GED_. I have been very active in my community having been appointed to the SPACE planning committee of St. Paul Public schools and serviced as chair for 12 years and appointed to numerous community committees.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?

Highland Park needs to be a welcoming and safe place for all. A place where people feel safe, are engaged and the community is a vibrant place to live and work. I have had the honor of serving on the HDC Transportation committee for the last three years. Exciting things are happening, and Highland is growing so fast with the Ford development. The ability to listen to the concerns of residents while sitting on the Transportation Committee has been very rewarding to hear what the community wants and needs and what is working. Our committee only makes recommendations, but it is through these recommendations that the people’s voice is heard. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this.

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

Listening and communicating! Any good project or plan needs to be based on listening to the concerns of the community. As a special education teacher, I listen to the needs of my students and that is no different here. If you are talking, you don’t hear the needs of the community. As a teacher I learn from my students, I hear what they are saying, and I help them achieve their educational goals for academic success. The same process I would employ on the HDC. Getting the total picture, listening to the needs of all involved makes a better project that will be enjoyed by all for years to come.

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

Highland Park needs to be a safe place. A safe place for all forms of transformation and this includes roadways in good repair with preventative scheduled maintenance. Having studied accident reconstruction, I know the physical forces that are at play (speed, road conditions, weather) in vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. Years ago, our Minnesota State Representative from Highland authored the crosswalk law. I have seen people playing frogger when trying to cross the streets, not to mention the wildlife crossing our streets. Our transportation safety needs to be priority one, that includes community-based designs, but also city maintenance of the finished projects like snow plowing and filling the potholes. To accomplish this is through community meetings with the street designers, SPPD, SPFD, everyone who has or will be affected by the design of the proposed project. Listening is the key to a successful and safe project!

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

Everyone needs to be included. Our community must be safe, ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant, welcoming and inviting to all! Often it is too easy to bypass someone in need, but as a community we need to be kind, offer a hand up. Many times, I have run into homeless sleeping near the railroad tracks. I have offered help as much as I could and also gave them information on where to find help from the City of St. Paul and other resources.

Grid 3

Jennifer Rodriguez

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

I love to serve and bring a fresh perspective. I have worked with dignitaries and mayors to establish sister cities & trade opportunities. I have long volunteered in communities to establish strong economic & neighborly bonds to truly make the community as one.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?

We have so many new additions to our community. I think it is extremely important that we really grasp all of the opportunities in front of us. I truly believe we already have such a wonderful and giving neighborhood & I would love to be a part of the future of it.

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

This is an opportunity to welcome and build an even stronger and vibrant village. I believe every voice should be heard. Lets start with welcoming them with open arms and build it together. It takes a village.

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

I think we are off to a great start with all of the newly constructed roadways. First, we need to hear all of the concerns from our neighbors. Safety is a priority and funding should be guarded.

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

I truly believe that it is all the people involved in the community that make the community. We all contribute to shaping the public process and any concerns or obstacles should be addressed on their behalf. Short answer; we work together to face those obstacles and find a way to get through them together.

John Kennedy

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 attorney for 11 years and have extensive experience working in all aspects of real estate law including development, title, and lending. I am also a husband and father of four girls who wants to see our whole community flourish while maintaining the character we all love. My experience and passion will benefit the Highland Park Community and Grid 3 at a time when we are seeing greater interest in development and growth.

What makes the Highland District Council mission meaningful to you?

As a lifelong resident of St. Paul, husband, father, and homeowner in Highland Park, I have a strong interest in contributing to the health and wellbeing of our neighborhood for future generations. I also come from a large family and many of my siblings and their families continue to live in St. Paul. Contributing to the Highland District Council is the most direct and tangible way to address the needs of our neighbors, make connections with those around us, and to foster the type of community that I want my kids to grow up in and can be proud to call home.

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

Every prosperous community sees development and growth and Highland Park is no exception. As a Board member I would keep an open mind about prospective development in the community and the benefits, and drawbacks, that it may provide while also considering how to maintain the present character of the neighborhood that first drew its current residents to live in Highland. That means being willing to have a vision for the future of Highland while listening to our neighbors and their input on prospective developments.

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

“As the Highland Park Community continues to grow we need to acknowledge that while cars are still an essential mode of transportation we need to prioritize pedestrian and biking infrastructure and access within the community to promote the health and safety of residents. I would prioritize enforcement of parking space minimums on new development so that drivers are still able to access and patronize our local businesses while at the same time allowing more space for expanded access to walkways and biking infrastructure. I would also prioritize greater safety measures for pedestrians and bikers at intersections and crosswalks.

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

The Highland District Council has done a great job in the past few years spreading awareness that the Council exists and providing the means to participate. As a Board member I would continue that outreach and invite members of the community to share their needs and desires so that we can lift them up and address the obstacles they face together. Highland Park is a community for all and we need to continue to make reasonable accommodations to allow its residents’ voices to be heard.