Dave Thune has been a city council member for the last eight years. He is also the owner of the Saint Paul Gallery and the Mad Hatters Coffee Cafe and Tea Shop in Saint Paul. He has lived in his Ward for more than 35 years and together with his wife Sue he has raised three children and restored a pre-civil war home in which they now live.
In St. Paul’s Second Ward, give candidates are running for city council. Looking toward the November general election, TC Daily Planet intern Jonas Rosenberger asked incumbent Dave Thune and Green Party candidate Jim Ivey for interviews. By press time, only Dave Thune had responded. Other Ward 2 candidates are Bill Hosko, Cynthia Schanno and Sharon Anderson. Ward 2 includes the West Side, West Seventh, Downtown and Summit Hill neighborhoods in St. Paul. Ramsey County has a website with complete list of candidates in 2011 elections, and a precinct finder to identify your precinct and ward.
If re-elected, Thune’s top three priorities are economic development opportunities, quality housing redevelopment and maintaining city neighborhood and public safety services.
“Individual neighborhoods with very separate identities and needs that make Ward 2 unique,” Thune says. Whether it is Summit Hill, the West Side, West Seventh or downtown, every area has its own characteristics. This guarantees specific issues in each of these neighborhoods. “Summit Hill is a strong neighborhood,” Thune says, but also notes that parking spaces and concerns with crime are two of the problems the neighborhood faces. “We have responded by using zoning to protect homes and brought in police beat patrols and support for Crime Watch to protect homes and businesses.”
Downtown Saint Paul has become a “true residential neighborhood.” In response to this, he said he has been able to quell excessive night time noise, expand the parks and bringing the Lunds grocery store to reality. At the same time, he is concerned about downtown’s vacancy rates and the city’s “need to attract more business” in this area. However, it is “difficult to convince businesses to invest here or anywhere else” as the current federal and state financial crisis is the largest issue facing Saint Paul. It makes it “extremely difficult to manage the affairs of the city if promised funding … continues to be cut.” This has already led to the closing of recreation centers and to a cutting of public library hours. “We are suffering under to cloud of the chaos in both the federal and the state governments,” Thune said.
Thune would like to continue to work towards building successful residential communities. He also emphasizes his commitment to the city’s parks and green spaces on Summit Hill and on the West Side by enabling more urban boulevard plantings. The expansion of the parks and trails system at Lilydale, Victoria Park, Sam Morgan Prairie and Pedro Park is also among his goals.
“I have not only years of experience, but an array of successes that come with a connection to each of the four neighborhoods that make up our ward. I have been a part of dozens of historic preservation projects; I have been a part of adding nearly 2000 affordable and market rate housing units downtown. I have authored our parkland dedication ordinance, our human rights ordinance, our smoke-free workplace ordinance and stood up for free speech when the Republican Convention came to town.”
When asked about what makes him different from other candidates, Thune said “It is easy to make promises – the true test is whether or not an elected official stands up for what he or she believes, stands up for the values and ideas of the citizens and then can perform – I have done all three.”