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The candidates for the Jan. 24 recall election recently sat down with the T-R to share some of their views. Mayor candidate Bob Werkhoven's interview appears below.
Bob Werkhoven, current Valley City Mayor (term began June 2010)
Occupation: (retired) Former District Engineer at the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Education: B.S. Civil Engineering from NDSU, Associate Degree Wildlife Management from Bottineau School of Forestry.
Family: Wife Darlene and children Dawn, (West Fargo) Dan (Valley City) and David (Jamestown).
Organizatons: Disabled American Veterans, VFW, American Legion, and four years active duty during the Korean Conflict with U.S. Air Force.
What are the three biggest issues facing Valley City? "The Devil's Lake issue and securing permanent flood protection," was foremost to Werkhoven, and secondly, "we've got infrastructure that has been neglected, not intentionally, but with the flooding we just haven't gotten to those projects. And of course, economic development, when something good comes along, we want to try to help support that and get more jobs in Valley City."
How can you make Valley City a better place to live? "We can improve the quality of life by increasing our tax base to take the pressure off the people who are paying taxes now. We just have to move forward."
How do you intend to move on from the contentious political climate of 2011? "We're going to move on by ignoring some of the petty stuff that's going on. You just have to let that run off like water off a duck's back. I'm not going to let that influence me; I'm going to let it slide and keep thinking positive."
Post-election, what kind of tone would you set with your colleagues at City Hall and your fellow citizens? "After the election, I'm 'in it to win it' - that's the phrase we used this spring when we were fighting the flood. Communication is the important part, as well as fiscal responsibility. I demand that of myself and all department heads, and if we're up front about everything, we'll get along good with everybody."
Regardless of the election outcome, do you think it will be a clean slate for Valley City? "I don't dwell on the stuff that's happened in the last six months, I just kept doing my job and the city kept doing its job. I didn't originate any of that controversy, we just kept working and had to put up with it."
-Continue to practice good fiscal stewardship of public funds at all city levels and departments.
-Take a common engineering sense approach for improvements, particularly streets.
-Continue to work for mitigation funding for permanent flood protection and other issues resulting from Devils Lake drainage into the Sheyenne River.
-Continue to manage through communication, not intimidation.
As a member of the Red River Basin Commission, the Devils Lake Collaborative Committee and the Devils Lake executive Committee for the past 17 months, we have accomplished much through compromise, communication and negotiation among groups with diverse ideas. Particularly the new water treatment plant which has been ongoing since 2009, and armoring the Tolna Coulee which is under construction now and is designed to protect downstream entities from a catastrophic break-out of Devils Lake.