The June 12 city election will see five candidates vying for two City Commissioner seats vacated by George Dutton and Jon Wagar. This week, the T-R will interview all five candidates to provide a better look at those seeking office and their take on the issues facing Valley City. Going alphabetically, the fourth interviewee is candidate Madeline Luke.
Madeline Luke Occupation: Physician since 1982, moved to Valley City in 1984
Education: College in Boston, Mass., medical school in Rhode Island and trained in New York City
Family: Husband Gary Krapu, daughter Annie and son Christopher
Organizations: Ad-Hoc Downstream Group
Why do you want to be a City Commissioner?
“Valley City is a really nice place to raise a family, and it’s not a bad place to be when you’re older. The past few years, the city has taken hits all over from the water. I would like to see the city physically protected. The water issue is huge--we need to not be takingextra water from Devils Lake, and I think Valley City needs to have a stronger voice in the state. You can talk about infrastructure and cleaning up roads, which is critical, but if you have floods every other year, you’re throwing good money after bad money. We have two very aggressive towns on either side, so we need to figure out what Valley City wants to do.”
What are the three biggest issues facing Valley City?
“Protection of the city’s infrastructure from the water is very important. I think making sure the environment for families is attractive--making sure there’s jobs, recreation and necessary services so people want to stay, and they can afford to stay. If you have utilities and property taxes that are through the roof, no one’s going to stay.
The last thing is, it’s very important that there be open communication. It’s great having the commission meetings broadcast, well-advertised and open to the public. People have to, of course, be respectful on both the commission side and the speaker side. It needs to be open, honest and respectful.”
What issues do you hope to address on the commission?
“I will do whatever they asked me to do, but I have spent the last several years looking at the water issue, and I’d like to continue with that. I think I could add something to the water conversation. I will vote on what is presented to me, and it will be factual. I have no loyalties at this point to anybody except to try to look out for Valley City.”
Post-election, what kind of tone would you set with your colleagues at City Hall and your fellow citizens?
“Everybody needs to be treated honestly and with respect. We have a really good new administrator and workers at City Hall that keep the town going. They’ve worked hard, but it’s a challenge. There’s a lot to learn, and the finances are going to be a real challenge, and that’s why it’s important to have everybody on the same page when difficult decisions need to be made.”
How would you best handle the streets or police/fire portfolios (vacated by Commissioners Dutton and Wagar)?
“I think that I would prefer the utilities and water portfolio. These are issues I’ve done a great deal of research on.”
How would you handle the time commitment of being on the commission?
“Currently, I only work about four or five days a month on call, and the rest of the time I am home working on water issues. What I will bring to the table is I can study issues, and I will do the research.
Past experience with city government:
“I have spoken at numerous meetings on the water issue. If you can’t say what you need to in three to five minutes, you probably need to rethink it. I haven’t been to the meetings where people have been so upset, but I know how public meetings can get where people feel strongly about issues. Just watching how (the commission) works has really been an education. We need to be open and everybody needs to get their three to five minutes. Having the meetings broadcast is really excellent.”