Who did we elect; St. Cloud City Council 2020

There were 67,520 votes cast for the three open positions on the St. Cloud City Council. Photo credit: Mark Wasson

As most of the U.S. waited for the results of the Nov. 3 election, there were at least six people in St. Cloud, Minn. that were eagerly awaiting the results of not only an election, but for their election results to the St. Cloud City Council.

With St. Cloud reporting all 28 precincts had recorded 100% of votes cast as of Nov. 10, the University Chronicle reached out to the winners with some questions to get to know them better. The three city council seats would go to incumbents, to serve another four year term. They are as follows:

*In order of vote count

Carol Lewis, with 14,859 votes or 22.01% of the vote, has previously served on the St Cloud City Council for eight years.

UC: What originally drove you to be/stay on the Council?

CL: I am the only diversity that exists on the Council. I am the only female. I believe I bring a different perspective to the Council. I am also one who takes the side of the “little guy” most often. If someone is having trouble with City Hall, I try to understand what the issue is and put myself in his/her shoes to see what I would do under the same circumstances.

UC: What do you hope to accomplish in the next four years?

CL: Because of COVID-19, our budget is really tight right now. We really can’t do more than what we are doing financially. I would like to bring our city closer together and offer opportunities for civic engagement. For example, it would not cost much to get the east side neighborhood and the Hester Park neighborhood together for a meal at a park shelter.

UC: What is your favorite food for dinner?

CL: I am a pescatarian. Which means I don’t eat beef, chicken or pork. Just fish. I love all kinds of food. So, I will try most things. As far as a favorite meal, it would have to be wild caught salmon.

UC: Is there anything that you have learned about the City of St. Cloud that stands out to you?

CL:I have lived here all my life. This is my home. St. Cloud does not deserve the reputation it has. People here are not much different than other places.

UC: *Bonus question for an SCSU Alumna* Was there anything that stood out to you during your time at SCSU?

CL: I participated in study abroad and I learned so much from those experiences. They shaped me into the person I am today. I am in regular communication with my home-stay family after all these years.

Jeff Goerger, with 12,385 votes or 18.34% of the vote, has previously served on the St Cloud City Council for 13 years.

The University Chronicle reached out to Goerger on multiple occasions through his publicly-listed City Council email address. As of the publishing of this article, no response has been received.

George Hontos, with 11,150 votes or 16.51% of the vote, has previously served on the St Cloud City Council for 18 years.

UC: What originally drove you to be/stay on the Council?

GH: After serving five terms on the City Council, many residents encouraged me to stay on. I believe they have trust in my work and they know I will continue to be a voice for them.

UC: What do you hope to accomplish in the next four years?

GH: I will continue to be a nonpartisan, independent voice that will ask hard questions and hold the City Administration publicly accountable when needed. We will have many challenges facing us especially due to the Coronavirus. This includes the overall budget and making sure basic services to the public are not negatively affected. I would like us to deal with the high rate of poverty, which at 23%, is well over the State average of 9%. I would also like to tackle the low-medium household income issue which St. Cloud currently has only 68-70% of the State average.

These are not easily solved but through a strong and effectively run economic development department, we can make some progress. I will continue to be a very strong advocate for our neighborhoods. During my time on the Council, I have been a loud voice to ensure our city ordinances regarding rental properties are enforced.

Finally I take pride in making sure the taxpayers money is used wisely.

UC: What is your favorite food for dinner?

GH: My favorite food is just about anything Greek, from lamb to pastitsio, and for dessert a filo-filled baked custard dish called bougatsa.

UC: Is there anything that you have learned about the City of St. Cloud that stands out to you?

GH: What I have learned or come to accept is a better understanding of who we are as a community. In order words, what may work in other communities may not work here. We are a blue collar type of community that may not be flashy. The other thing that I have come to appreciate about our town is that we have some wonderful outdoor resources, like the Mississippi River, Munsinger Gardens, Quarry Park, great cross country ski trails on the east side, access to the Lake Wobegon trail, and over 90 parks throughout the town.

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Tim Speier

Tim is a junior at St. Cloud State and is a marketing major. He enjoys ice fishing, hanging out with his wife and dogs, and spending all day barbecuing. "In life, you should strive to be useful rather than being important. Anyone can be important."

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