Klausing and Ihlan to square off for mayor's seat
George Fairbanks, Roseville Review, News Editor

Amy Ihlan
Craig Klausing
Two candidates have filed for the fall mayoral election and both are well known to Roseville residents.

Mayor Craig Klausing has decided to seek re-election and will be challenged by current Roseville City Council Member Amy Ihlan.

Klausing and Ihlan have frequently found themselves at odds at City Council meetings, with Klausing often falling into a voting block with Council Members Tammy Pust and Dean Maschka while Ihlan is often aligned with Tom Kough.

For his part, Klausing predicted the election will ultimately be decided on how people view the management skills of the two candidates.

"I think the race is going to really be about leadership styles," Klausing said.

Sticking to the issues

Ihlan noted she intends to run a campaign that focuses on the concerns of Roseville residents.

"I really want to make this a campaign of issues, not personalities," Ihlan said.

Ihlan added she intends to remind voters of the policy differences she's had with Klausing.

"I'm also going to challenge the mayor to defend his record," she added.

Ihlan noted she will discuss her opposition to the Twin Lakes redevelopment project, although as a resident of the area, she added she's not automatically opposed to converting the property into a more beneficial use.

"I've never been opposed to redevelopment," Ihlan said, adding she thinks the Twin Lakes area is a prime spot for a mixture of corporate headquarters-style office space and selective retail.

In addition to the Twin Lakes project, which is potentially a major campaign issue, Ihlan pointed toward fiscal responsibility and livable neighborhoods as topics she will campaign on.

With regard to neighborhoods, Ihlan explained she's interested in action that would reduce traffic as much as possible to keep Roseville's neighborhoods safe and quiet.

"I would put a real focus on those neighborhood issues," Ihlan said.

Ihlan also said she's heard from residents who share her concern about fiscal responsibility, and noted many of those same residents have mentioned the city's use of tax-increment financing and eminent domain as examples of fiscal irresponsibility.

Proud of his record

Klausing seems eager to run on the record he's crafted during his first term as mayor.

"I'll be running on my record of the last three years," Klausing said, adding he thinks he and his council colleagues have "repaired the city's image over the last three years."

Klausing also predicted quality-of-life issues will play a role in the election's outcome and cited his support of the city's new property-maintenance code, the ethics ordinance and the viscous-animal ordinance as topics where his leadership has helped improve Roseville.

"I would like to keep working on those issues," Klausing added.

To date, he also thinks the community has largely supported much of the action the City Council has taken during his term. "I do think we're getting good support."

Additionally, Klausing thinks people will want to know about the process of replacing City Manager Neal Beets, who resigned July 21 to take the same position in Federal Way, Wash. At the July 17 council meeting, Roseville Finance Director Chris Miller was appointed acting city manager on a 5-0 vote.

"People are excited about the process and want to be involved," Klausing said.

Like Ihlan, Klausing pledged to focus his campaign on the issues.

"For me, it's not about personalities, it's about policy," Klausing said.

Ihlan also challenged Klausing to participate in a minimum of five public, televised debates, a challenge he accepted.

"I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues with her," Klausing said.

Dean Maschka, who is not running for re-election and will leave his City Council seat Dec. 31, isn't sure if the mayoral race between Klausing and Ihlan will impact the council's business leading up to the Nov. 7 election.

"I don't know if it will or not," Maschka said. "It always presents that chance."

Maschka thinks any potential acrimony between Klausing and Ihlan will be helped by the fact there won't be a primary because they are the only two candidates who have filed.

"It's dependent on the candidates," Maschka said. "Can they differentiate between what's going on in the council chambers and what's going on with the campaign trail?"

Copyright 2006, Lillie Suburban Newspapers