Attorney runs for council, aims to help city grow

Published 6:41 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

Candidate profile: Aaron Jones, for city council

Assistant Mower County Attorney Aaron Jones cemented his decision to file for Austin City Council when he saw Ward 1 needed a candidate.

“It appeared there was an opening,” he said. “But it’s also a way that I can help.”

Jones filed for council seat Monday, one of two candidates to file that day for a soon-to-be vacant spot on the council that incumbent Brian McAlister chose not to run for again. The next day, two more candidates filed as well.

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“My biggest reason was that I think I can help,” Jones said, adding his experiences, training and education would help him as a council member. His role on the council would be to think independently without being obstructive, he said.

Jones said he doesn’t have an agenda right now. He plans on learning about each issue as it comes up and handling it through rational decision making.

“There’s always going to be issues,” Jones said. “The issues that are current in Austin, since I got here, are the ones that repeat in running a city.”

He said one question he plans to address is what Austin can do to attract people. Jones highlighted The Hormel Institute’s expansion as being beneficial to the city for approximately 120 the jobs it would bring. Austin benefits from those that arrive, buy a house and become permanent residents, he said.

“It��s just about how do you approach them rationally,” he said.

Jones has worked in the county attorney’s offices for nine years. Before starting his position in 2006 as assistant attorney with Mower County, he worked in Gaylord, Minn., for Sibley County. From 2000 to 2003, he worked for courts in Mankato. In summary, Jones said, he spent the last 12 years going to a courthouse every day.

Originally an Iowan, Jones attended college at the University of Iowa. He graduated from the law school there in 1999.

Jones said he has never served in an elected position. To connect with voters, he plans to talk regularly with people about what’s going on in the city. Mostly, he plans to “stay out there.”

Jones will run against three recently-filed candidates: Malcolm McDonald, Zeke Dahl and Michael Jordal.