Mike Kennedy has been a part of the Hudson community for 25 years. To add to the various ways he has participated in the community, Kennedy was recently elected to serve as the District 4 representative on the Hudson Common Council.
When Kennedy first began visiting Hudson, he didn’t just become fond of the landscape, scenery, locality and buildings. Kennedy was drawn by the people who live, work and raise families in the community. They’ve inspired him to volunteer, become involved and ultimately give back in the role of alderperson.
“When you value something and love it, you can’t just take from it,” he said. “You have to give back to it.”
Local restaurant: From Jonesy's Local Bar and Grill to Ziggys to Dicks, Kennedy is a big fan of local restaurants and bars.
Local place: All of the Hudson parks, especially the lakefront and the rivers.
Activities: Boating on river, biking and walking the dog.
Recommendation: Kennedy recommends trying a new restaurant or bar you haven’t been to before, encouraging residents to shop local. There’s a lot of new taste and flavors in Hudson, so maybe stray from your “go-to” pub for the weekend and hit a new spot.
Kennedy did not run with a specific agenda in mind, rather with the goal of serving his neighborhood and the Hudson community in whatever way is needed.
He is hoping, however, to contribute to preserving his and his neighbors view of Hudson. One of Kennedy’s favorite parts of the city is the downtown area, filled with exquisite bars and restaurants, all offering a unique appeal.
As a boater, he has been a member of the marina. It is these parts of Hudson he looks to strike a balance with growth. Both preserving the historic authenticity of Hudson, while encouraging smart development are important to Kennedy.
“I think we have done a pretty good job with that,” he said.
Kennedy is focusing on communication during his term in office
“My job is to be the ear to the district,” he said.
Having well-educated community members is something Kennedy is passionate about – striking a balance between knowing about your local governmental landscape and having the confidence in your elected officials to take care of the day-to-day goings on.
Kennedy will work to foster and establish constructive two-way communication during his time in office to foster a space for that balance, both with staff and residents.
“I really like meeting people and then having a shared interest with them,” he said.
Kennedy knows he shares a lot in common with his neighbors in District 4.
“There are a lot of friends I haven’t met yet,” he said.
When asked what challenges he anticipates during his term in office, Kennedy responded saying challenge isn’t necessarily a negative word.
Past personal friction with some of the council members and mayor’s office was a challenge he identified.
“When you’re passionate about something, it's hard to not let it slip,” he said. With a council full of passionate individuals, all with the goal of fostering the best version of Hudson, it’s challenging when the way to achieve that best version doesn't line up.
“You can only lead by example,” Kennedy said. And that’s what he plans to do.
He will look to always circle discussion, debate and conversation back to the issue at hand, while respecting that each individual may have a different idea or perspective and a different story.
Kennedy anticipates that a new makeup of the council may change the dynamic, offering a healthy, fresh start.
The nuts and bolts, like financing infrastructure, are a challenge Kennedy anticipates.
It’s like owning a car or a house, he said. You can ignore some things … but only for so long. You have to continue to make investments and reprioritize what the next project needs to be.
Outside City Hall
Kennedy, like many local representatives, works a “day job.” Kennedy’s is in sales. Recently, his job has slowed a bit, which was another reason it seemed like the perfect opportunity to run for Common Council.
Kennedy and his family enjoy numerous parts of Hudson; boating on the St. Croix being one of them.
When he first bought a boat, he thought boating was just going in circles, up and down the river, which it is, but it’s also a lifestyle that includes a community and friendships at the marina, he said.
You may find Kennedy out on a walk in his District 4 neighborhood. While campaigning, Kennedy’s neighbors often recognized his dog, Fitz, as he and his wife, Sarah, walked the area with the red lab often.
Those neighbors and all of the residents of Hudson are who Kennedy is eager to meet and serve them in the capacity of an alderperson.
Being a liaison between his neighbors and the highly educated and motivated staff at the city is a “circle of responsibility” he is excited to facilitate.
“I’m looking forward to serving, not just being,” he said.