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Dave Olson, Published October 30 2009

Dilworth candidates opposed to diversion proposal

Candidates running for mayor and City Council seats in Dilworth are united on one issue: They don’t want a flood diversion project in the city’s backyard because it would hurt the city’s ability to expand.

“As a growing community, my focus will be on sustainable development,” said Julie Nash, a City Council member who is running for mayor.

Nash added that street safety is a major concern of hers and she said making Dilworth’s Seventh Street corridor safe for pedestrians and motorists is a top priority.

Chad Olson, another council member vying for mayor, said the economic slowdown has created challenges for residential and commercial expansion.

But they can be overcome, he said.

“Dilworth has high traffic volumes that retail stores desire and developments with space available for increased commercial development,” Olson said.

Ryan Mullikin, an incumbent who is running for one of two City Council seats up for election, said the difficult economy could turn around.

“It is a very important priority now to continue our focus and planning effort to promote, advertise and consult with local businesses to let the public know what a great city Dilworth is and what it has to offer,” Mullikin said.

Mike Griffin, who is also running for a City Council seat, said Dilworth must find a balance between residential and commercial growth.

He said there will be a need to make cuts in the city budget, but crucial services must be maintained.

Jim Aasness, who is also seeking a City Council seat, said he would work for tax incentives and other advantages to induce businesses to locate to Dilworth.

Aasness said budget cuts will be necessary, however, and he identified the city’s swimming pool as one place to start.

He said his strengths include organizing ability and the ability to work well with the area’s legislative delegation.

Griffin, a former Marine who received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, said one of his strengths is the ability to “work with others to get things done.”

Olson said he would be “pragmatic and patient” in making decisions.

“I will not tell anyone that as mayor I have all the answers,” Olson said. “I will work tirelessly with the other council members until we agree that we have arrived at the best possible solution.”

Nash said her experience in a variety of jobs and roles has prepared her for the job of mayor. She said her background includes work that involved budgeting, grant writing and review, public policy and analysis, rulemaking, and public speaking and writing.

Nash, whose portfolio on the council includes the personnel committee, said during her term as a board member of the Perpich Center for Arts Education she was an active member of that board’s personnel subcommittee.

Mullikin said he believes his experience on the City Council has earned him credibility and trust. He said he listens to what residents say.

“I believe I have a proven track record for working with and for Dilworth residents,” he said.

All of the Dilworth positions carry four-year terms.

The mayor job pays an annual salary of $7,200. Council seats pay $4,800 annually.

Voters go to the polls Tuesday.

Dilworth’s only polling site is the Dilworth Community Center, 709 1st Ave. N.W.

A look at the candidates

Jim Aasness

Mike Griffin

Ryan Mullikin

Julie Nash

Chad Olson

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555