The city council elections went smoothly this year. After all, both candidates were running unopposed.
Incumbents Stan Karwoski and Paul Reinke were re-elected early Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Minnesota Secretary of State. Results are not official until they are verified by the local canvassing board.
Both were elected to four-year terms. This will be Karwoski's third, full term, having served a partial term in 2002. This will be Reinke's third term. Both are long-time Oakdale residents.
Oakdale Patch caught up with Karwoski and Reinke after the elections to get their thoughts about re-election and city projects.
Oakdale Patch: Both of you were unopposed. What do you attribute that to?
Karwoski: I think it’s a strong vote of confidence by the residents of Oakdale that the city is heading in the right direction and doing the right things in regards to maintaining the quality of life in the city. We’re always looking to do things better and I think they know we will look for opportunities and not be stagnant, but will be smart in difficult economic times. The first time I ran was in the late 90s and I think we had 13 or 14 candidates and it slowly has evolved down. I don’t think we’ve ever had less than about five [candidates], so it was very much a surprise.
Reinke: I’m thankful. It can be an indicator that the people think the direction of Oakdale is going in the right direction and the priorities have aligned with their personal priorities or thoughts of where we should go. I’m just thankful and appreciative of their support. It also makes me proud to be involved with the city leadership because so many good things are occurring and I believe we are going in the right direction.
Oakdale Patch: What are some of the big issues currently facing Oakdale or some of your favorite projects underway?
Karwoski: One of the biggest issuse is redevelopment in general. Our two current projects, which will take several years, is the Oakdale mall site and Tanners Lake… We started a few years back looking at redevelopment strategies for business and residential. For me, always keeping our pulse on crime prevention strategies is important, to preferably prevent crime. That’s something we constantly have to keep our attention to. I’m always looking to improve our parks and work with our schools where we can to make our schools integrated better. We’ve had to have our budget on a parcery level and when home values start to rise hopefully we’ll be able to invest a little more into areas of quality of life. We’re happy with what we’re doing with the frugal tax dollars we take in.
Reinke: The one project that is currently under way is Park Tool. It’s totally a private enterprise on the north side by the north fire station. ... To have a company that provides superior products on an international basis to choose to come to Oakdale is very exciting and very neat, especially in this time of still economic turmoil. This is investing multi-million dollars into a new plant to help continue business. Other projects I’m most excited about is Tartan Crossing and to see the city’s portion of the work pretty much wrapping up with the infrastructure, ponding and storm water management.
Oakdale Patch: Anything you’d like to say to constituents?
Karwoski: I really want to thank the voters for trusting me with guiding their city. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t take that seriously or am not appreciative of the privilege to serve the residents in Oakdale. Just because we were unopposed don’t change that it was a privilege and I don’t take for granted. I’m looking forward to the next four years.
Reinke: It has been a very enjoyable period to serve on the city council and I’m thankful for the support I’ve received from the community and am looking forward to serving another four years. And a final piece to add: I want to encourage people to contact me and my colleagues and city staff members when there are issues or concerns and just bring up what’s that on their mind whether it’s their pocketbook or elements that are happening in the community that we need to know about. So I’d really encourage people to get involved.