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Two contested seats featured in town of St. Joe election

Top row, from left: Kevin Adkins, Dan Gavin; bottom, from left: Brian Gullickson, Brett Bader

Two positions on the town of St. Joseph Board of Supervisors are contested on the April 6 ballot. Incumbent Dan Gavin is opposed by Kevin Adkins for supervisor No. 1 and Brian Gullickson is running against incumbent Brett Bader for the supervisor No. 3 slot.

Dan Gavin, 55, is a 20-year resident of St. Joseph and has served on the town board for eight years. He is a 1972 graduate of Cretin High School and a 1977 graduate of the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Gavin is a network engineer for Enventis, Inc. of Plymouth, Minn. He, and his wife of 29 years, Janice have four children.

Most important issues: The short and long term forecasting and management of the town's primary needs which are public works (roads), public safety, and financial management. The electors of St. Joseph recently approved a $3.1 million dollar investment in road improvements, and this project is one of the primary focuses for the town at this time. The electors also approved a $330,000 addition to our fire hall that will make available new vehicle and working space. The town should also continue to monitor its comprehensive plan for growth, and be proactive in the process for the potential of a new river crossing becoming a reality on the St. Croix.

Kevin Adkins, 50, a Hudson area realtor, his wife Sara and son Brennan have been town of St. Joseph residents for 11 years. He grew up in Lakeville, Minn., and graduated from Lakeville High School in 1978. Adkins moved to St. Joe in 1999 from Duluth. He has served on the town's planning commission and has been an active member of the St. Croix Economic Development Committee. He unsuccessfully ran against Theresa Johnson for town board chair last year.

Most important issues: I believe everyone has a voice and I don't think we are being heard by the town board. I have continued to devote additional time going door to door to listen to our neighbors as citizens. Their overwhelming message has been to bring our town back to fiscal responsibility, maintain the rural esthetics of our community, and protect the environment. I have advocated for land owners' rights for the last five years and I have learned how to make tough decisions and still respect others' points of view.

Brett Bader, 57, has lived in St. Joseph for 36 years, coincidentally; he has been married to his wife Mary for 36 years. They have an adult daughter, Amber. The couple also served as foster parents for many years. Bader, who attended UW-River Falls and the University of Minnesota, retired from Andersen Corporation in August after 38 years. He and Mary are well-known gun safety instructors.

Most important issues: I want the town government to be more transparent. The board needs to work with the residents to make this happen. Input and suggestions from residents are important and valuable to the board members. I plan to use common sense in managing changes that the Town of St. Joseph will face in the future and work with the board members in wisely using taxpayer dollars in future projects. Improved communications between the town board and town residents on all town issues is vital. Board members need to remember that residents are our customers and we need to work with them. Money budgeted doesn't mean that money has to be spent. We need to continue to scrutinize all spending.

Brian Gullickson, 38, has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and is a program manager for Microsoft Corp. He has researched the possible options for high speed Internet solutions for St. Joe residents at a request of the town board.

Most important issues: After talking with many residents in the Town of St. Joseph, the most common issue I heard was concern over the level of spending. All of the residents I spoke with understand the need for road improvements but didn't feel this was the time to increase the tax burden for all residents. I personally feel that a level of spending on road improvements that would have left the property tax for residents flat would have been a better approach. This also leads to a second issue of getting residents more involved in their local government. We need to make sure that residents understand what is being proposed and what the consequences are of these decisions. In this instance, the motion to borrow money and increase the property tax burden came before the residents in an open town meeting in November of 2009, where it was passed by the majority of those in attendance. Thus, it is also critical to promote interest and participation by all residents in open town meetings where their vote and influence can guide the board and ultimately the board's actions.