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Election Preview: Mayfield focuses on economy; flood projects, sustainability key for Anderson

Published 7:16pm Friday, November 2, 2012

Newcomer Alex Mayfield is running against incumbent Janet Anderson for the city’s council member at large seat this November. Anderson, if re-elected, would be entering her third two-year term on the council.


Mayfield said his focus if he were elected would be to help local businesses develop. A stronger local economy would make Austin more attractive to families and businesses alike. In general, voters he has spoken with told Mayfield they want to see little changes, not anything substantial. They want more businesses in town, clean parks and enough law enforcement and fire staff to keep the city safe.

“There’s the typical complaints on taxes,” he added. “I really don’t want to change taxes.”

As for Anderson’s focal points, flood mitigation and the green initiative-based Sustainability Task Force top the list.


“It is one of the city priorities,” said Anderson, who sits on the task force as the council’s representative. “The goal was to get more citizen involvement and work toward ideas, discussion and awareness.”

Flood mitigation is important for the city, too, and Anderson said she would also like to see the city back the efforts of the community betterment project Vision 2020. Sometimes that means bringing the right people to the table, she added, and stressed that the city is “not an open checkbook by any means.”

Anderson said her level of community involvement since she moved to Austin in 1975 could be the tipping point for voters teetering between candidates.

Mayfield said he plans to increase his door-to-door campaigning in the last few weeks before Election Day. While he visited a number of Austin residents months ago, he said a last-minute reminder never hurts.

“Sometimes people don’t remember,” he said. “They have their own lives.”

Mayfield entered the race for council because he wanted to see the city’s commercial centers thrive. He graduated from Austin High School in 2007, and has since attended Riverland Community College and Minnesota State University in Mankato. He has participated in student-elected bodies like the Residence Hall Association. Mayfield studies math at Riverland right now, but said he is considering switching to political science.

Apart from her four years on the City Council, Anderson spent more than 12 years on the city’s Planning Commission, which recommends to the council how to proceed with development projects. Anderson works at KAAL TV, an ABC affiliate, where she has spent most of the last 35 years doing promotion and marketing work.

Whoever wins the seat in November will be the last person to hold a two-year term as council member at large. Starting in 2014, the office will switch to a four-year term. The city is delaying changing the term length to stagger the term election years with those of the mayor, which becomes a four-year term with this election.

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