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Two familiar faces face off in Hudson mayoral race

John Hoggatt (left) and Rich O'Connor

Incumbent Rich O'Connor or current Hudson Common Council President John Hoggatt (District 5) square off in the race for Hudson mayor in the April 3 election.

The Star Observer asked both men to fill out brief questionnaires in order to introduce them to voters or, if already familiar to voters, give a glimpse as to who is on the ballot.

John G. Hoggatt

Age: 52

Address: 925 First. St., Hudson

Occupation: My wife and I own and operate Archovations, Inc., a business we started in 1996 and located in downtown Hudson. We develop, source and market innovative products for moisture management in the exterior walls of buildings.

Family: Married to Sarah Atkins (23 years); daughter Sara (music teacher), son-in-law Daniel (food scientist), and grandson Wyatt who live in Georgia.

Prior elected offices: It has been a privilege to contribute my time, energy and leadership skills to Hudson during the past seven years while serving as the Alderman for Hudson's District 5. This experience has given me first-hand knowledge and experience with the "ins and outs" of city business. I am currently the City Council President and serve on the Finance Committee, Chair of Public Works Committee, Chair of Hudson Trail Advisory Committee, and Hudson Urban Forestry Board (Past Chair). Previous service includes the Public Safety Board, Fire Board, Cable Board and the Public Utilities Commission.

Civic involvement: I volunteer at Hudson Urban Forestry annual events: Arbor Days and Fall is for Planting; I am a member of First United Methodist Church of Hudson where I sing in the choir. I can be seen pulling "Scrappy" in Hudson's parades and volunteering at kids' fishing contests.

If you are a challenger, explain how and why you chose to run for office and how you plan to make your municipality a better place.

Both mayoral candidates are "tuned in" to Hudson's current projects. We both have leadership and government experience and are well qualified to do the job. There is one major difference: Our views on the privatization of Hudson's EMS.

Last June, Council voted 5-1 against privatizing. That means that we came within just two votes of privatizing. It became crystal clear to me how quickly and easily this can happen again. I made myself a promise that this is something I can't let happen, and I won't if I can help it. My motto is "Working for You" to improve safety, infrastructure, development and recreation. As Mayor, I will support residents' interests first. This promise includes public safety and supporting the departments that provide it.

Identify and elaborate on any other issues facing the board/municipality which you feel to be important.

Hudson has recently experienced many Senior Staff retirements. I participated in the hiring process for a Community Development Director, Finance Director, Public Utilities Director, City Clerk, and Public Works Foreman. The city also has a new Chief of Police and soon a new City Engineer. Each new hire brings opportunities for updates and process improvements. It will be one of my top priorities to get these relatively new, senior staff together and regroup on mission, vision, goals and priorities. This gets us all pointed in the same direction. I want to ensure this work gets done now while everyone is relatively new and energy is high. The results will be a strong foundation for our city's progress and direction for the next couple of decades.

Rich O'Connor (i)

Age: 65

Address: 1813 Stonepine Bay, Hudson

Occupation: Financial advisor, Certified Financial Planner

Family: Wife Cindy, daughter Jen Haase (Andy Haase), son Richie (Rachel Arneson-O'Connor), daughter Casie

Prior elected offices: Mayor of Hudson, Minnesota House of Representatives, Ramsey County Commissioner

Civic involvement: Past - Hudson Boosters coach, Hudson Daybreak Rotary member, Chairman Hudson Hospital Foundation Board, Hudson Hockey Association Board Vice President, Hudson Fathers' Club member.

Current - St. Patrick's Church (member and past Parish Council member), Hudson Library Foundation Board, Hudson Library Board President

If you are an incumbent, discuss the committees on which you have served, review any accomplishments to which you feel you have made a particular contribution and share your intentions for involvement during the new term.

As Mayor of Hudson, I am Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Plan Commission and Chairman of the Library Board. Member of the Intergovernmental Council.

In my first term as mayor:

I have worked to make the abandoned dog track a tax-producing asset to the city. Immediately upon being elected I began calling on and meeting with developers. We currently have a developer with a proposal that will add about $200,000,000 to the valuation of that property.

Rather than depending on taxpayer money I have also been discussing proposals with two private developers to construct needed parking facilities downtown.

I am working to keep the city portion of homeowners' tax bills down.

Enhancing our identity as a St. Croix River town through downtown development and river facing improvements is another priority for me.

I hope to continue in these efforts in a second term.

Identify and elaborate on any other issues facing the board/municipality which you feel to be important.

Other important issues include: The safety of our community is paramount to me. We must find a long-term solution for our Emergency Medical Service with two fully staffed ambulances based in Hudson 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. I am committed to making this happen.

Our expanding city needs a new fire station to ensure the safety of our community. We are working to build a new station on Ward Avenue on the southeast corner of the old golf course.

Infrastructure is an ongoing concern. I will work to stay ahead of street repair and utility maintenance issues, specifically Hanley Road and the remainder of Vine Street in the next two years.

We need to focus on recreation options for our seniors who want to stay physically active.