Mayor’s memo: Signing off

All good things come to an end and I’ve had a great run as Mayor of this fine city. After five terms, I decided retirement was a good thing for my future. Through it all, I’ve kept a keen eye on the future and what’s best for Bloomington. Strong relationships and people working together in business, government and the community have been the keys to our success. 

I’ve enjoyed helping to ensure Bloomington is a thriving community and the kind of place that people and businesses like to call home. It’s great to welcome new ideas, and equally important to reflect on those who came before us. Smart, thoughtful decision making has always kept Bloomington strong. Our predecessors who served on this Council set the stage for the accomplishments we are seeing today. It’s a tradition I valued and worked to keep going and one that will, no doubt, continue. 

There’s still more to do, but I’m proud of many things we’ve accomplished. The City has benefitted from a steady pay-as-you-go financial philosophy. Our resulting AAA rating (the highest score of credit worthiness a city can get) puts us in a good position to fund necessary improvements to this community and react to change and challenges.

In 2004, Bloomington enacted a trailblazing first with a ban on smoking in work places, public places, bars and restaurants. Other cities followed, as did the State of Minnesota with the Freedom to Breathe Act.

Public safety has always been a priority. Police and Fire have the tools they need to get the job done and keep our community safe. I recall years ago, as a member of the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association, we raised the money needed to get a new K-9 unit going one $10 donation at a time.

I’ve enjoyed working with Bloomington organizations that make our community super strong. The Optimist Club, Bridging, Bloomington Athletic Association, Bloomington Rotary, Cornerstone, Chamber of Commerce and VEAP, to name a few, keep us going, give back, provide resources, help people in need and improve lives. But it is the residents in this community that make a huge difference.

I’ve been so fortunate to have a supportive wife and family through the years. We moved to Bloomington in the 1970s and my daughters grew up in the house we live in now. In the future, I’ll spend more time with my family and our grandchildren. I may do some traveling and will keep working on my businesses.

If there’s a city for which to be mayor, this is the city. My time as mayor may be done, but I will still be around and involved in this great community. Retiring as mayor starts the chapter of a new story. More good stories are to come.