Marisa Agha, Pioneer Press
July 16, 2003

Will he or won't he run again? Try yes and no.

Speculation abounded in Roseville for months, but Mayor John Kysylyczyn kept people guessing until a few minutes before Tuesday's 5 p.m. filing deadline. Kysylyczyn, known for dramatic entrances and exits, quietly came to City Hall and filed for ... City Council.

In a written statement, Kysylyczyn cited the challenges of balancing his new role as full-time caregiver to 4-month-old daughter, Sara, with what he called the "40-hour per week" job of Roseville mayor.

"While my time has become more limited, with the support of my family, I feel that I can continue to positively contribute to the success of our city by serving as a city council member," Kysylyczyn wrote.

Among Kysylyczyn's priorities: the completion of a public works and public safety renovation project and a Vision 2020 plan for Roseville.

Onlookers at City Hall clearly were surprised by Kysylyczyn's filing.

None immediately caught what office Kysylyczyn had filled out on his application. The 31-year-old mayor had not spoken publicly about his future plans.

"That is surprising," said Council Member and mayoral candidate Tom Kough, as he studied the mayor's form. "That was an option, I guess ... That should make a good campaign now."

Council Member Dean Maschka laughed when told of the latest competitor bidding for his seat.

"He never ceases to amaze me," Maschka said. "How interesting ... What an interesting turn of events ... I have great faith in the voting public. They'll be able to sort this one out."

Al Kehr, a council candidate and Kysylyczyn supporter in 1999, was just about the only person unfazed by the latest twist at City Hall.

"It would've surprised me if he didn't (file for council)," Kehr said. "He's the most intelligent mayor we've had."

In addition to Kough, four others have filed for mayor: Council Member Craig Klausing, Tammy Pust, Tam McGehee and Dan Roe.

The last mayoral filer was political novice Roe, a 34-year-old sales manager for an industrial equipment company.

"It seemed like everyone who was running was running because of who they were not," said Roe, who moved to Roseville in 1990. "I decided I'd like to run and serve as mayor based on who I am and what I have to offer."

Roe holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.

Kysylyczyn declined to comment on his pick for mayor.

The mayor's race, which has the largest field of candidates since 1991, was already drawing much interest even before the filing period ended. In an unusual move, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, which now represents Roseville, is planning interviews with the candidates later this month. That could lead to an endorsement from the chamber's political action committee -- rare in nonpartisan, suburban campaigns.

"We are a regional chamber, and we shouldn't be limiting our concentration on just the downtown or the St. Paul area," said Deb Ragatz, the chamber's director of community services. "We figure we win in getting our ideas out there."

In addition, Pust has spearheaded a discussion with the candidates for Thursday afternoon at the EagleCrest Retirement Community in Roseville. The gathering is only open to building residents.

The notion of a candidate organizing forums irked some of the other contenders, though most said they would still attend.

"I don't know why she's doing it," said Kough. "Normally, the League of Women Voters puts it on ... It's a good opportunity for people to come forward and meet the candidates."

Council Member Craig Klausing said he was surprised to learn of the event last Friday.

"These are normally done by neutral third parties," Klausing said.I am going to participate in what I hope will be a positive event."

Pust said she originally wanted to get into the building to talk with residents, but that EagleCrest officials requested she line up other candidates as well.

McGehee said she didn't have a problem with Pust's approach, and Roe said he wasn't aware of the forum.

Pust is also hoping for a similar event at the RosePointe senior apartments in August, but she said the League of Women Voters will take charge of that gathering.

In addition to Maschka, Kysylyczyn and Kehr, two others have filed for council: Stuart Shwiff and Amy Ihlan.

Ihlan, a Minneapolis attorney and former city ethics commissioner, filed on Tuesday. The 43-year-old said her concern about the future of the Twin Lakes development prompted her to join the fray.

"I don't think the public has been heard on that Twin Lakes issue, and I think that's a continuing problem with Roseville city government," she said. "We really need much more open government in Roseville."

Ihlan, who moved to Roseville in 1999, holds a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Macalester College, a law degree from Harvard University and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Minnesota.

Marisa Agha, who covers north suburban Ramsey County, can be reached at or 651-228-2109.

2003 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.