A desire for public service: Kleis wins re-election

Incumbent Dave Kleis wins another term as mayor of St. Cloud. Photo courtesy of ci.stcloud.mn.us

Incumbent Mayor Dave Kleis won re-election on Nov. 3. He won 63% of the votes, beating out Steven Schiller. Kleis has served as the mayor of St. Cloud since 2005. This was his first time having opponents since the 2004 election.

“The surprising part was being unopposed [the last three times],” shared Kleis. 

Kleis shared that he was happy to have others wanting to serve the community as well. There were four names on the ballot for the primary in August. Two were voted in to run in the general election, Kleis and Schiller. 

While this year’s election was also different because of COVID-19, Kleis still tried to engage with the St. Cloud community. Kleis still held town halls, forums, and his dinners with the community. He has a long held tradition of inviting anyone from St. Cloud to his dinner table to share their story. 

Building relationships is a key to strong leadership. Like most life functions in the last eight months, relationship building has been altered in format. Rather than spending a lot of time in face-to-face meetings, Kleis explained he has had a lot of over the phone meetings since the start of the pandemic. 

Leading into the new year, Kleis will continue to provide the city of St. Cloud with strong public safety and infrastructure that the community demands. With the loss of revenue by businesses and individuals due to the pandemic, the city has had to reprioritize their budgets. However, public safety and infrastructure has remained at the top of the list. 

As a political science major in his senior year at St. Cloud State and with the encouragement of his peers, Kleis decided to run against incumbent Kermit Eastman in the 1989 St. Cloud mayoral race.

“We all decided that one of us should run, so I decided to run,” shared Kleis. “It was a humbling experience.”

He did not win that year and life took him in other directions. After graduating SCSU in 1989, he ran a driver’s education school, before serving in the Minnesota Senate. Then, he ran for mayor of St. Cloud again in 2004. 

Kleis advised that students at St. Cloud State realize how integral they are in the St. Cloud community as a whole, as well as advocating for them to be involved in their community as much as they can. 

“SCSU is really where I became engaged in the community,” shared Kleis.

Kleis shared there are many ways to be involved in the campus community, with one of the easiest ways was to join one of the hundreds of organizations on campus. 

There are numerous opportunities at the city level. Kleis mentioned that students can serve on any of the committees for the city of St. Cloud.

As life continues to change with the pandemic, St. Cloud will remain under the leadership of Dave Kleis. 

“No one expected 2020 to be the year it has become,” said Kleis. “We will be stronger and more united on the other side. Care for each other.”

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Anna Panek

Anna is a junior at St. Cloud State University and is double majoring in Math Education and Spanish Education, with a minor in Special Education. She is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle this year. When she is not at campus attending class, working as a learning assistant or math tutor, or writing for the University Chronicle, she enjoys volunteering, reading, being overly competitive at board games, and telling horribly funny puns.

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