Champlin Community Group 7 Questions

How long have you lived in Champlin?

I am 40 years old and have lived in Champlin for 14 years, after moving south from a small town in northern Minnesota just outside of Duluth. My wife Kelly and I are proud to raise our two young children, Lyla (4) and Easton (1) here in Champlin. I am grateful now to have my entire immediate family living in Champlin including my two brothers, two nephews and my mother happily call Champlin home.

 

What is your specific vision for Champlin?

At no other time is a clear vision and direction for the future of Champlin more important. In the next few years, Champlin will see many great changes. I share the vision and passion that has been carried forward with many past Councils and Mayors and would like to continue with their goals as well as embrace the vision and desires of a new council.

It has been a great honor to serve with an exceptional Council under the leadership of our Mayor Armand Nelson and with Councilmembers Eric Johnson, Kara Terry, and Bruce Miller. Together we tackled many difficult decisions, we not have always agreed with one another but we always respected each other and the office we were fortunate to hold while moving our City forward to prosperity.

This January at least two new councilmembers will be sworn in and I am committed to working with them to understand their vision and together focus on Champlin’s future. Serving under our former Mayor Mark Uglem and current Mayor Armand Nelson I fully understand that being the Mayor is about leadership. On the wall in our Council Chambers there is framed picture that says:

   Community Leadership…

          “A leader’s job is to look into the future, and to see the organization not as it is, but what it can become.”

          “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs and viewpoints of others.”

          “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

   Champlin’s Long-Standing Tradition of Excellence.

Over the last 4 years as one of your City Councilmembers and years of being a Planning Commissioner I have had the great pleasure of talking to literally thousands of Champlin residents. I have embraced the vision our residents and made it my own. Serving the community isn’t about the vision of the Mayor and four councilmembers sitting at City Hall it is about representing the vision of the whole community.

Overwhelmingly, the residents that I talk to love Champlin just the way it is, a small-town community where people get to not only know their neighbors but also know their restaurant owners, mechanics, doctors, and dentists. Our kids play soccer and hockey with the kids of our attorneys, hair stylists, and realtors. A place were our seniors can relax and enjoy their golden years. This is what makes Champlin great, and what we must strive to maintain.

There is no question we all want to keep our taxes low while maintain the services we expect and deserve, to keep our city and streets safe, see our local businesses prosper, and see our children have a better shot at life then we did.  JFK once said, “Government has to move very fast, just to stand still.” We need to keep moving, adapting, improvising, and improving.

I look to our future and see how amazing Champlin can still become while maintaining the small-town values that has made Champlin what it is today.

I am ready and prepared to make tough decisions and listen to every voice so that we make the “right” decisions.

I will work tirelessly to ensure that our collective vision becomes a reality and we all can play a part in molding our future.

 

What are your thoughts on the northern corridor project?

The City of Champlin has positioned itself to prepare for growth and development that we haven’t seen in years. It is critical that we use this momentum to make smart decisions in all aspects of our community.

For nearly two decades Champlin has been moving forward in the redevelopment of our riverfront. We are now on the verge of making this goal a reality and it is very exciting. The cultural and economic impact to our city with these projects will be significant. Strong leadership and dedication will be required to ensure that this area will live up to the expectations and vision of many past Mayors and Councils.

I believe that we need to use fiscal conservative principles in the planning and designing of this area, while still not short-cutting a project that could define Champlin for a generation to come. For years, I have listened to the voices of thousands of Champlin residents and I am committed to put interests of Champlin residents first when we develop the area for our future. Time and time again the residents expressed that they would like to see more access to the riverfront and more opportunities for businesses in that area. This has been a commitment that I support and have fought for from day one of being a councilmember and will continue to fight for as your next Mayor.

I have a clear vision for the Mississippi Commons and Crossings area which includes a vibrant riverfront that will not only be a destination for our residents to enjoy but attract people from all over to appreciate the opportunity of what and amazing amenity that Champlin has.

Not many communities have the possibility to have a riverfront restaurant, now couple that with the proposed a river boardwalk, a park pavilion, boat docking, a small amphitheater, a brand new beautiful dam and spillway, the future improvements of Chandler Park and the Mill Pond and now you have a destination that will be the catalyst to drive more opportunity for businesses not only for the remainder of the Mississippi Commons and Crossings area but all over Champlin. I would like to see this area become the City center that I have heard from so many that they would like to see. With the anchor of the riverfront restaurant, if the market bears it, I would like to see more small businesses or restaurants fill in the remainder of the “off river” area. The future of Champlin is very exciting. I eagerly look forward to collaborating with the council and Champlin residents so we can fulfill the promise that we have long been waiting for.

 

What’s your specific vision for filling all of the empty buildings?

Since the economic downturn Champlin has made great strides in filling vacant building locations. We rank among the best in the area when it comes to having a low vacancy rate. Let’s keep in mind that buildings are owned and managed by private people or businesses. The City has limited ability to dictate the management practices of these business owners nor should we. What we can do is provide an environment that is open to attracting business, willingness to reach out and market to businesses and share all of what Champlin has to offer, and most importantly build a relationship with our current businesses so we can work together for our mutual growth and success. I have personally built relationships with most of the business owners of Champlin and  will continue to nurture those relationships so that our local businesses will always know that we are here to work together.

My family and I make a specific point to do all of our shopping, eating, services, and entertainment right here in Champlin. I believe in capitalism and the free market, if we want to keep our businesses we need to patronize our businesses.

 

Do you have a plan or idea on how to combat the growing drug problem in our community?

A few months ago, I had an opportunity to talk with a grieving mother that had just lost her teenage son just this spring to a drug overdose. We sat and talked for nearly an hour. I could not imagine the suffering a parent would go through after losing a child at such an early age. She shared with me everything that they had gone through and the obstacles that faced leading up to the tragedy. My heart was filled with her pain. We talked about things that can be done at a City level. Something that I have always been passionate about is bringing the community together, to share in the responsibility of protecting and raising our families together. I personally would like to see more outreach to our teenagers. Not every child fits into the box of being in athletics or other similar programs that can give them peer support. I would like to see the city involve our youth in other civic oriented programs or provide other opportunities to be a part of a bigger family. Children/ teenagers need to feel connected to something that is bigger than themselves and need to feel that we are all there for them. The Champlin Citizens Police Academy is a wonderful resource to adults. One thing I would like to do is have a similar experience for the youth in our community. As a community, we may not be able to save every child from heading down the wrong path but we should make every effort to try. Reagan once said, “We can not help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”

I have several friends who serve and have served on the Champlin Police Department and the Hennepin County Drug Task Force and I have heard first-hand accounts of the amount of illegal drugs that enter our area and City. I have also heard that because of Champlin’s exceptional police force much of the drugs do not enter the community for fear of being caught and the drugs seized.

I support and encourage our Police Department to use whatever means they legally have at their disposal to curb the drug problem in our community. These men and women are skilled professionals and I am confident that they will continue to work towards protecting and serving our community.

 

Why do you think you are the best candidate for Mayor/City Council (please focus on yourself)?

Dedicated to the future of Champlin, the continued success of Champlin businesses, and the prosperity of its residents, I am excited and prepared to be your next Mayor of Champlin. I believe that strong leadership and a clear vision of Champlin’s future are critical attributes we must look for in our next Mayor. As a councilmember, I have shown to possess the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make difficult decisions, and the commitment to work towards finding consensus. I possess a calm level headed temperament, the patience and the willingness to listen to others, and the strength and relentless passion to lead Champlin into the future.

From day one of being a Councilmember I have been committed to bring the voice of Champlin residents to City Hall. I earnestly encourage residents to reach out to me with any question or concern. I may not always be able to find an amicable solution but I will listen and ensure that your concern gets the necessary attention that it deserves. The only way we can continue to improve as a City is by listening to each other, and working together.

Being a small business owner, entrepreneur and inventor I understand what it takes to communicate an idea, develop a product and deliver it to the market. I have negotiated sales with some of the largest beer producers, medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the world, including Merck, Stryker Medical, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Anheuser Busch. Setting up and negotiating with distribution centers in over a dozen countries my invention is available in thousands of retail stores in nearly every continent on Earth.

Being a licensed real estate professional for the last 15 years and closing 227 home sales I understand the impact that cities have on the housing stock and the effects it has on growth and future tax capacity. It is important that we maintain a healthy housing environment and ensure that our largest investment continues to grow.

My experience and expertise however is overshadowed by the desire to do good in our community. I often joke with friends and residents that if I could afford to quit my day job and just be a councilmember or the Mayor I would do it in a heartbeat as my deeply held passion lies solely with representing the residents of Champlin.

I am here to serve the residents of Champlin! This mayoral election is not about me; it is about you! I will do everything I can to best serve you. As always, I am here to listen. I would be grateful for your support as your next Champlin Mayor. I ask for your vote!

 

Please feel free to call or email me. 612-210-5333   ryan@ryankarasek.com