Spring, 2014 | ELECTION WATCH • INTER-COUNTY LEADER
Five vie for three Balsam Lake seats
Greg Marsten | Staff writer
BALSAM LAKE – Five candidates are vying for three open village of Balsam Lake trustee seats Tuesday, April 1.
Two incumbents, Caroline Rediske and Jeff Reed, are seeking renewed terms, while incumbent Chris Sondrol chose not to run again.
Three other candidates are seeking election, Becca Palm, Gary Hines and Glen Jones. None of these candidates has served on the board prior, although Jones has run once before. One other candidate, Ryan Wildt, initially ran for a spot on the ballot but has since dropped out of the race.
The three contested seats are all two-year terms.
Caroline Rediske (I)
Rediske is a two-term incumbent and has been a longtime local business owner and resident.
“I am very fortunate to reside in this wonderful community,” she said. “I feel that I bring a knowledgeable background and an insightful perspective to my trustee position, especially with the skills and experiences I have gained running my two businesses (Sew Creative and Basically Balsam) along with my service as a trustee.”
She sees adding and retaining current businesses as one of the prime issues facing the village and also thinks they need to enhance opportunities for new and existing businesses. Rediske has also been at the forefront of park development over the past four years, and said she is proud of the work they have accomplished in enhancing the parks they have and adding more trails, parks and the new CTH I bridge.
She said it is an honor and a privilege to serve on the Balsam Lake Village Board.
Rediske is a member of the Balsam Lake Parks Committee and is a smart growth committee member. She is an active member on the Balsam Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Balsam Lake Homeowners Association and is a representative for the Balsam Lake Protection Rehabilitation District.
“ I really want to get all these wonderful groups to work together and hope to capitalize on all the great talent we have on theses groups,” she said.
Rediske said she really likes being on the board and said it does occupy a lot of her time, “But it is worth it to see good things happen. I take it seriously,” she added.
When asked why she is running, she said she really does care about the village, the people and the community.
“I really do care,” she reiterated. “Why change what is working? Progress is being made every day - albeit slowly sometimes. Our board is working together and I am proud of that. Let’s keep moving forward.”
Jeff Reed (I)
Three-term incumbent Reed grew up in the Balsam Lake area and is a Unity High School graduate. He has a Bachelor of Science in business administration and said in a previous interview that he has worked at businesses large and small, corporate and family-owned before returning several years ago to his hometown of Balsam Lake to help assume and eventually take over the family business, Sunnyside Marina, with his brother.
He was out of the state during our interview window, but had an extensive interview for a previous profile.
Reed has been actively involved with the Balsam Lake Smart Growth Committee, which has been at the forefront of several ambitious village projects, including seeking investment for additional lodging options, growth in the industrial park, Main Street revitalization and further enhancements.
He thinks the village is making great strides in the area of bringing new business and investment to the area and said he hoped to see it continue and expand.
“Getting people back to work is the most important issue facing the village,” Reed said in a previous interview. “Getting more business on Main Street and in the industrial park means more jobs.”
Reed said he was proud of the work the village has done with the Balsam Lake Smart Growth Committee and other efforts and hopes to continue on that end.
“We’ve put together a really broad spectrum of community interests,” he said. “I’d really like to see all of this through the end.”
Jones has lived in Balsam Lake for six years and is very involved in village affairs as the current president of the Balsam Lake Chamber of Commerce. He is an Air Force veteran, where he managed and supervised numerous people in various positions, just as he does now with Paradise Landing, which is where he has worked since 1997.
Jones is a common sight at village board meetings and is very active in village affairs and activities, as well as the planning and implementation of events, such as Freedom Fest, Winter Fest and more chamber activities.
He noted that his business and chamber involvement gives him lots of contact with residents, community and business leaders, and others who either live in or vacation in the Balsam Lake area.
“This has given me extensive insight into what the community and residents are thinking and what their concerns are,” he said in a recent interview.
Jones said it would be a privilege and an honor to serve on the village board and said he loves the area and the people of Balsam Lake.
“Both have added greatly to my life and I would love to make a more active role in serving the community,” he said.
Jones said he would like to see more business opportunities in the village and noted his chamber of commerce experience as a way to enhance the village’s prospects for more jobs and more business.
He said he is well-versed in village board procedures and issues they face, as he prides himself on attending all full board meetings, where he gives chamber updates and actively participates in village business.
“I’d really like to serve, and I hope voters give me a chance,” he said.
Hines has been a local real estate agent for 29 years and has lived in Balsam Lake for over 30 years. He is a married father of two adult children and has two grandchildren. He is also a longtime auctioneer and has served on the Balsam Lake Fire Department in several capacities, including assistant fire chief, secretary and treasurer.
Her has never run for elected office prior, but said he feels the time is right.
“The community has been real good to me over the years,” he said. “I feel the time is right to give back to the people and the community.”
Hines thinks his skills as a real estate agent and an auctioneer would lend themselves to negotiations and possible conflicts within the village. “ I think it will help us handle negotiations and come up with a solution,” he said. “I think I’d be a good addition to the board.”
Hines thinks some of the major issues facing the village are ways to keep tax levels so, so as to enhance industrial development and bringing in new businesses. “We have a great industrial park, I’d like to see it filled and expanded,” he said. “We need to find ways to entice more business and create more jobs.”
He said that while all small towns are hurting right now, he thinks Balsam Lake has lots to offer for the future, and could be one that fights those trends and grows business.
Palm grew up in the Twin Cities metro, but fell in love with the area about 15 years ago, when she first saw Balsam Lake, moving there a short time later.
“I immediately fell in love with the lake and the community. It reminded me so much of where I grew up, near Lake Minnetonka,” she said.
Palm works at the local Indianhead Supper Club, where she has been a bartender and manager for 15 years. She has never run for public office prior, but is excited about serving.
“I think it’s been an eye-opening experience,” she said. “I’d like to make a difference, and I really enjoy Balsam Lake. It’s my home, and I want to see it improved.”
She hopes to help move the village into the future “in an intelligent way, while also keeping that small-town charm.”
While she had no specific changes or plans to implement, she is hoping they can draw more Twin Cities businesses and said that in her job, she sees so many people who have homes on the lake but work in the Cities.
“I’d like to see some of them bring their money and their businesses to our area,” she said. “I want to be part of that, and I feel like I owe it to the community. I’d like to see more industry and more jobs in the community, then everybody wins.”