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Yesterday, the St. Cloud Times published this interesting article about Liz Baklaich, who is running for the St. Cloud City Council in Ward 2. For those who aren’t familiar with St. Cloud, Ward 2 “includes a section of the north side along the Mississippi River and the East Side.” If she’s elected, I would be one of her constituents. But I digress.

According to the article, Ms. Baklaich’s “goals include making sure the citizens and their voices are heard — and she is holding listening sessions as a way to get a pulse on what residents are feeling. ‘If I’m going to run, I want to know what’s important because honestly, what I see, is people are generally disengaged,’ Baklaich said. ‘People are disengaged because they feel like they are not being listened to.'”

If elected, Ms. Baklaich wants “to lower taxes and focus on helping businesses succeed, maintain parks and public lands and improve the city’s relationship with St. Cloud State University.” She’s also concerned about the federal refugee resettlement program:

“I have concerns about the money aspect on refugee resettlement and I think that when citizens come and they ask questions, no one should be able to wag their finger in their face and shut them down by calling them hateful names,” she said. “If somebody has a concern, the best way to alleviate that concern is to talk to them, understand where that concern is coming from and why they have it, to address them openly and honestly and then to figure out what to do about it.”

It’s apparent that she’s already more in touch with her potential constituents than Councilman Laraway. Laraway’s biggest worries are about his clients, most of whom aren’t his constituents.

Baklaich is right when she said “I don’t like that when I show up at a city council meeting and people go up and they speak, it looks like the council already has their mind made up. What I see is, if I want people to go up and to speak their mind, I want the council to listen to them.” When I spoke during the City Council’s open forum section of the meeting, the City Council didn’t pay much attention. I could’ve been talking to an empty room and received as much attention.

It’s time to throw the bums out. Jeff Johnson is the only current councilman who will listen to people and he isn’t seeking re-election. I won’t be voting for Mr. Laraway because I demand to be listened to. This August, I’ll be voting for Ms. Baklaich.

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