Election Preview: Newcomers vie for Ward 3 seatPublished 7:22pm Friday, November 2, 2012
No matter what voters decide, Austin residents can count on a few new names dotting the roster of their elected representatives.
The Nov. 6 election will choose between two newcomers to fill the Austin City Council the seat left vacant by Council Member Marian Clennon, who decided to run for mayor rather than seek reelection. Real estate broker Jeremy Carolan contends with former Planning Commission Chair Lynn Spainhower for the Ward 3 council seat.
Spainhower said the residents she has spoken to have money on the mind.
“A lot of what they’re concerned about is property tax values,” she said. They also worry about where the money will come from for the community betterment project Vision 2020, and whether they will have to foot the bill, she added.
She intends to help push the Vision 2020 project forward and fight against cuts to Local Government Aid.
Carolan said he was optimistic about the race.
“I’m anticipating hopefully a win,” he said. “I think it’d be enjoyable to be on the council.”
He said he hasn’t seen his opponent take a specific position on any matters, nor have voters told him about any issues they consider to be critical to their choice in council member.
The candidates are both Austin natives. Carolan decided to run for council at the urging of people he knew, and considers it a way to give back to the community. A full-time real estate broker since 2003, he started his business Carolan Homes in 2008, and serves as owner and operator. The Austin native is also interim president for the Austin Landlord Association and was on the 2010 board of directors for the Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors in Rochester. Since 2000, Carolan has also worked as a part-time, on-call firefighter. He decided
Spainhower, a single mother of two boys, had planned on getting more involved in politics once her children left the house. Both her sons recently went to serve in the Navy, giving her the time to focus on that goal. She spent eight years on the Planning Commission, during part of which she was chairperson. Her experience also includes advocacy efforts, and she was district coordinator for Child Care Works! from 2004 to 2006.