RTSA voted sticker

Representatives for the Hudson Common Council Districts 2, 3 and 4 are up for re-election on Tuesday, April 5. Though Bill Alms in Districts 2 and Mike Kennedy in District 4 are running unopposed, the two were asked about their priorities and commitments in the city of Hudson. 

Additionally, learn more about incumbent Paul Deziel and contender Joy Knudson who are running in District 3. 

For more information on your polling place, visit myvote.wi.gov/en-us/

District 2

Bill Alms

Bill Alms

Bill Alms.

Age: 50

Occupation: Video producer, small business owner

Family: Married 21 years to my wife, Bonnie; son, Everett, will be turning 16 this year.

Prior political positions: District 2 in Hudson since autumn of 2015.

What is the primary reason you have decided to run for this position? I am running pretty much for the same reason I originally ran back in 2015: to serve the community in which I live and to represent my neighbors of District 2 at City Council. I don’t have an agenda of things I want to see get done.

What mitigation measures with regard to COVID-19 would you endorse, if any, going forward? I would not endorse mitigation measures for COVID-19 with the current St. Croix County stats. I have been steadfast in my votes when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation measures. 

The city of Hudson has staff who make recommendations on many of the issues and these staff are typically versed in the issues that come forward. Health is one of these areas that is void of experts on staff at the city of Hudson, and so we have no means of staff recommendations. This is because the health department is a function of the county. If the health department suggested directly to the city or the county to institute a mitigation measure, I would quickly endorse.

What should the city’s No. 1 priority be? I believe our No. 1 focus should be on how to update infrastructure. We are already invested in redoing the 11th Street and Heggen Street bridge, it’s just a matter of where the money comes from (grants and otherwise) and deciding on the final plan. 

We are doing this in response to higher traffic volumes and overall safety of motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Our growth as a city has not been mirrored by investment in infrastructure. I am enthusiastic that there may be funding coming to us through the federal and state governments. 

If elected, how would you work with your other council members to pass legislation? I think the key to working with others is communication. Through deliberation, out-of-the-box thinking and at times through arguing a position without losing decorum, I think we will achieve more effective results.

What is one concern about the city that you would address? Communication. I think communication is an area that could be done better by the city. With local news organizations covering larger areas and social media being so prevalent in our lives, I think putting a focus on effective communication from a governmental standpoint is needed. The mayor has done a good job in developing a newsletter, and I know we can build an even more effective means of communication.

Is there any reason to question the legitimacy of this election? Not at all. As a community, we put our trust into the volunteers and their training to carry out our elections. Further, we put our trust in our staff to manage fair and accurate elections and their ability in doing so are beyond reproach. Hats off to our city clerk and to all other clerks who do this work. I would say that if you have any doubts whatsoever, I would encourage you to volunteer in our election so you can take part in the process firsthand.

What makes you or your skill sets unique from the other candidates? I don’t know how to answer this as I am not running against another candidate. I run a small business managing everything from operations to financials. Operating my own business also allows me the flexibility to make myself available to constituents and for city meetings. I also have developed many relationships throughout the years with the private sector business, nonprofits and more.

How will you help foster community on the council and with the public? I think one way to do this is to help form a bond between different agencies within our community. I have this belief that not one entity can solve all issues within a community. 

I think at one time, the government was looked upon to solve every issue. I believe that forming strong partnerships with private sector business, nonprofits and more will help foster an even stronger and tighter-knit community. When COVID-19 hit our community, I reached out to various leaders within the community from various sectors. 

This group, which eventually became known as the Hudson Area COVID Taskforce, met every Tuesday over Zoom. Within a couple short months, Mary Claire Olson Potter took over as leader of this group. I think groups like this could really benefit our community … perhaps not tasked with discussing COVID but taking on other issues.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I would like to add three things.

First, I want to give a big thanks to our staff. We were dealt with a couple of big things in the last two years with COVID and the storm that hit our community last Sept. 17. All staff continued doing the work of the city without missing a beat. Great job staff!

Second, I wanted to encourage all citizens to get out and vote this April 5. It is one of the biggest duties we can do as citizens, and I can attest that your vote does count. Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you at the polls.

Lastly, I wanted to thank all the constituents that I currently have and my neighbors who now are a part of District 4. The district maps changed due to the recent census. If you are unsure of what district you are in, please visit hudsonwi.gov/229/Aldermanic-DistrictPolling-Place-Informa

Thank you, no matter who you are voting for in our election. 

District 3

Paul Deziel

Paul Deziel

Age: 57

Occupation: Theology teacher at Hill-Murray School and youth coordinator at Guardian Angels Church

Family: Wife, Tiffany; children Addie, Etta, Silas and Henry all attending Hudson Public Schools.

Prior political positions: Elected to the Hudson City Council in 2018 and re-elected in 2020 chair of the Public Works Committee, member of the Park Board, liaison to the Hudson Diversity Committee, and past liaison to the Hudson School Board.

Paul Deziel

What is the primary reason you have decided to run for this position? We are a community that cares about others and works together to create a strong future.

I believe local government plays a key role promoting the common good through public safety, infrastructure, outdoor recreation and setting a positive and welcoming tone for our community. I am ready to continue to serve the common good interests of the people of District 3.

What mitigation measures with regard to COVID-19 would you endorse, if any, going forward? The COVID pandemic has been a tragedy that has taken the lives of almost one million Americans and 141 people in St. Croix County, many who were Hudson residents.

My approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently been to follow safety guidelines from the St. Croix County Health Department. 

Last October, infection rates for the omicron variant were rising and those guidelines called for masking in public areas, so I supported masking at City Hall to protect both our city employees and the public.

Recently, the St. Croix County Health Department changed COVID transmission status to “low” so I initiated ending masking at City Hall. 

We longer need public safety measures in Hudson because our infection rates are low, over 60% of the county is fully vaccinated, and many others have already had the virus.

What should the city’s No. 1 priority be? I believe our Public Safety Departments, police, fire and EMS, are well funded and doing a great job, so I believe we have an opportunity to focus on improving infrastructure.

This is timely, as we are receiving $1.5 million from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. Our city engineer’s study shows that our road quality is decreasing, so we need to invest now to maintain our roads.

One specific need is widening the 11th Street Bridge to create better traffic flow. Traffic will only increase as our city continues to grow. In addition, WISDOT will be working on the Carmichael Bridge in the future, so we need to avoid having both bridges under construction at the same time. 

We also have aging sewers downtown as many of those pipes were installed in 1890. We need to upgrade them soon to accommodate future usage.

If elected, how would you work with your other council members to pass legislation? While serving on City Council the past four years, I have established congenial working relationships with all members of the council and the mayor.

I respect all members and have demonstrated my ability to compromise to best serve our community. I did this successfully when rewriting the new Memorial Policy to allow families who have lost loved ones to donate trees or benches to our city parks.

I also worked well with council members to create our new Diversity Committee that works to ensure our city is an open, inclusive and diverse place to live, work and visit.

What is one concern about the city that you would address? Another priority I have is to stabilize library funding by removing it from the city tax roll and having St. Croix County levy it. This will make funding more equitable for our partner communities and more stable in the future for our users.

I also support more affordable housing so that our hard working police officers and teachers can afford to live in our city. This is particularly important as our city’s Comprehensive Plan 2040 shows we will need to create housing for an additional 1,586 people by 2030.

Is there any reason to question the legitimacy of this election? No. Wisconsin state laws set strict rules for elections, and our city clerk, Becky Eggen, does a great job supervising our election volunteers in following those laws. I have no doubt that election results will be accurate and trustworthy.

What makes you or your skill sets unique from the other candidates? I have four years of experience serving the people of District 3 with listening, respect and care.

I am easy to approach and responsive to returning phone calls and emails from constituents. I know how the city functions, and I have developed positive working relationships with our city staff.

I make responsible fiscal decisions to invest in our future while working within the means of our annual budgets. Finally, I am the only council member with young children, which gives me a family perspective on issues facing Hudson.

How will you help foster community on the council and with the public? From listening to people, I’ve learned residents are concerned about healing divisions in our community.

They express a desire for a community based on respect, reason, good faith and compromise. I think there are a few things we can do to help lessen divisiveness in Hudson.

First, I believe we as community leaders must model respect to foster trust in and create a safer environment for public discourse.  We can honor others by listening to their viewpoints and respectfully disagreeing when necessary.

Second, we could sponsor workshops using resources from non-profit groups like Braver Angels to facilitate discussion among people of every political ideology. 

Third, our new Diversity Committee can generate strategies for raising awareness between differences and building community in Hudson.

Is there anything else you would like to add? One final thing I support is promoting outdoor recreation by creating a splash pad for families either at Weitkamp Park or perhaps the YMCA. 

River Falls has one, and it would be a great resource for families. I would like to explore extending a walking and biking trail north of Lakefront Park along Lake Mallalieu.

The new boat launch going into Lakefront Park this summer and a planned boardwalk will help our community enjoy our natural beauty and attract more visitors to support local businesses. We can fund many of these projects through revenues generated by the TID 6 District downtown, so they won’t increase property taxes.

Joy Knudson

Joy Knudson

Joy Knudson

Age: 67

Occupation: Veterinarian, small business owner.

Family: married to Dean, two adult children, Sonya and Reed.

Prior political positions: none.

What is the primary reason you have decided to run for this position? I am very concerned about the direction the City Council has taken recently. Some council members have lost their focus on the true role of city government, which is to provide for public safety and maintain our infrastructure.

Too much time is spent on issues that are not the responsibility of the city council. Unfortunately, some of those issues have been divisive to our community. We need to focus on the priorities that affect all residents. I will focus on the concerns that we all have in common.

What mitigation measures with regard to COVID-19 would you endorse, if any, going forward? I do not think that the city of Hudson should implement any mitigation measures for COVID-19 at this time.

I have confidence that the people of Hudson can evaluate the risks and best understand their own health concerns. I trust Hudson residents to make

the correct decisions for themselves.

What should the city’s No. 1 priority be? Public safety is my top priority, which involves supporting our police department with staffing, training and equipment.

It’s important to keep Hudson as a safe, welcoming town. As Hudson grows, we need to continue to provide specialized training for our police officers. Proper staffing and training requires money, time and facility space.

Supporting a top notch police department requires an ongoing commitment from the city of Hudson.

If elected, how would you work with your other council members to pass legislation? I am a good listener and pledge to work respectfully with other council members.

I am willing to consider all reasonable options when approaching an issue. I am committed to respectful dialogue, but I won’t shy away from a lively debate on issues.

As a council member, I would insist that anyone that wishes to speak to the council do so in a courteous manner. We must be able to discuss city issues, even if we agree to disagree at the end of the discussion. I want to bring common sense and civility back to the process.

What is one concern about the city that you would address? The city needs to balance our “needs and wants” in budget planning for the near future. Our planned infrastructure projects will be significantly more costly due to the dramatic increase in oil and fuel costs. It is going to cost more to plow streets and fill potholes.

Inflation rates threaten to delay city projects as costs greatly increase. The council will need to make careful spending decisions, and I have the ability to make those tough decisions. I will work to spend our tax dollars wisely, focusing on the most critical needs of the city.

Is there any reason to question the legitimacy of this election? I am confident that the election will be legitimate.

The city of Hudson has qualified staff members dedicated to the election process, as well as many volunteers that serve as election inspectors or poll workers to assist the staff.

I encourage all Hudson residents to vote in this important election.

What makes you or your skill sets unique from the other candidates? I have lived in the heart of my district for 30 years, so I know the concerns of my neighbors.

I have operated a small business in Hudson, hiring and training staff and working to control expenses. I have also managed several rental properties. I will bring a variety of experiences to the city council, having been a long-time resident, a landlord and a business owner.

I have been a leader in the Hudson community. I have served on the local YMCA board of directors, and helped lead fundraising campaigns for the YMCA and the Phipps Center for the Arts. I served as the chair of the Hudson High School senior graduation party.

I have been active in my church, leading several ministries. I played an active role in the development of Trinity Elementary School, now known as Trinity Academy.

How will you help foster community on the council and with the public? Hudson is a wonderful town with so many unique qualities.

I have lived in Hudson for 30 years, but I do remember that feeling of being a newcomer. I want to welcome all to our community, fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. Not all of the concerns of a growing town can be met by the city government.

I think it’s important to highlight the many non-profit organizations that make Hudson a special place. I want to focus on the things we all have in common. We all want to live in a safe, well maintained city.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I understand the concerns of taxpayers as we face economic uncertainty. We need to be aware of the financial burdens many people face.

The cost of heating our homes, driving our cars and caring for our families has greatly increased. While it's great news to have your property value increase, it’s not great news if your property taxes increase beyond your means.

I’m thinking of our seniors, who have likely lived in Hudson for many years. Keeping Hudson affordable means keeping property taxes affordable. I will be an advocate for the taxpayer.

District 4

Mike Kennedy

Mike Kennedy

Mike Kennedy.

Age: 53

Occupation: Owner of Wild River Marketing, manufacturing representative for the apparel industry.

Family: Wife, Sarah; three boys ages 25, 24 and 16.

Prior political positions: Although not in political elections, I am a former director at large for the St. Croix River Association and am the current vice president of the St. Croix Marina board. I also sit on the Hudson Park board.

What is the primary reason you have decided to run for this position? When I first came to Hudson in the late 1990s, my family fell in love with the city, this community, and the parks, river, and everything the Hudson had to offer.

In raising my family here, my kids went through the Hudson schools, we went to church, played sports and visited the library, parks and the Phipps countless times.

For 20-plus years, my family was the beneficiary of so many community members before us who unselfishly gave of their time and talents to create such a great city.

With the drawing of the new district boundaries, I feel I am in a position in my life where it is my turn to step up and give back my time and talents so that it continues to be the most welcoming, safe and beautiful place that I discovered 25 years ago.

What mitigation measures with regard to COVID-19 would you endorse, if any, going forward? I feel that we are at the last stages of COVID-19, and we have a lot of past material to work through in determining which mitigation practices we took as a community were effective, and which were less so.

I am a supporter of individual rights – we all have had two-plus years to study the issue and determine for ourselves how to best keep our families safe. I respect that while some may choose to continue to wear masks and avoid certain social gatherings, others do not share that same concern at this time.

Therefore, I do not support continued efforts to mandate our community to wear masks or other social restrictions with the current state of the virus.

What should the city’s No. 1 priority be? Our priority is to listen to the people of our districts, understand their priorities, and manage the city’s business in a fiscally responsible way.

If elected, how would you work with your other council members to pass legislation? We all have an equal voice on the council and we need to be open to all opinions we will hear.

We may have different views of how we identify and accomplish common goals, but it is only by collaborating with each other, being genuine and fair in our interactions, and holding each other accountable to our work where we will add value to the city as a council.

What is one concern about the city that you would address? I would like to address the issue of our large infrastructure cost estimates to repair/upgrade our existing road/sewer/utilities and balancing those costs with the future needs of a growing and evolving community, which will require us to plan for services and amenities in years to come.

Is there any reason to question the legitimacy of this election? No. The city and county have had a longstanding reputation for ethical and fair elections.

What makes you or your skill sets unique from the other candidates? I think my business approach is laid back and friendly, and I have the ability to bring the feeling of camaraderie to the council – we have a ton of talent on the current council, and we need to make sure we are making the most prudent decisions, and it can be done in a friendly and open manner.

In both my volunteering and working career, many of my responsibilities deal with negotiating contracts, working with vendors on major projects, keeping ahead of technology and social strategies, being responsive to employees, and making tough financial decisions.

I feel the lessons I have learned in both my volunteer and business involvement for 30-plus years will bring insight and add value to the council.

How will you help foster community on the council and with the public? I think that as we leave the days of Zoom meetings and masks behind us. The entire community can make a decision to be a positive member and help us guide this city.

I have run into a lot of people who have a concern about a particular issue, and unfortunately, many of them may only have part of the facts or are sharing an opinion learned through some social media group.

I encourage everybody who is interested in helping foster a positive community spirit to get involved in a constructive manner. Dive into our 2021 Comprehensive Plan, come to the city council meetings, visit the city of Hudson website and social media sites, and maybe even give a call to your council person to start a conversation – an informed citizen who is committed to being a positive member is the most valuable asset the City Council can have as we set our priorities for Hudson.

Is there anything else you would like to add? After the elections, I plan to create quarterly surveys to help the people of District 4 give input in helping me set Hudson’s priorities. Go to www.Kennedy4Hudson.com and sign up to receive these surveys and additional info. 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to jjohnson@orourkemediagroup.com.

Share your opinion

Avatar

Join the conversation

Recommended for you