Lang pledges no property tax hike next year if he is mayor

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Candidate profile: Dick Lang, for Mayor


Dick Lang entered the race for mayor of Austin with his sights set on one goal: curbing taxes.

“I’m going to make a pledge if I’m elected that we will not see a property tax raise next year,” the former city council member said. “It’s getting out of hand.”

Lang, who filed Monday to run for the mayor’s seat, said the city would soon have to tackle some of its more prominent issues, and could use a new perspective.

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“We’ve got flood issues. We’ve got tax issues,” he said. “There’s some major issues that should be looked at differently.” Taxes took the forefront of Lang’s agenda, he said, since “everybody’s concerned about the escalation of taxes.”

Lang said he had also attended one Vision 2020 meeting to see what the projects were.

“A lot of things they want are very good projects,” he said. “But they have to find a way to self-finance.” He said there aren’t available funds in the city or county to handle such projects.

Lang has been involved with city, county and state government all his life. Most recently, Lang spent eight years as a county commissioner, from 2003 to 2010. Before that, he spent six years on the City Council, where he served as a Ward 3 council member from 1997 to 2002. Lang served for a number of years as chair of the Mower County DFL Party and also worked on a number of legislators’ campaigns, including Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey.

“I’ve worked for all of them,” he said.

For a day job, Lang is the owner of Bobee Jo’s in Austin. He also owns the Hotel Boarding across the street and rents out several residential buildings and other rental properties. He said he works seven days a week.

Lang was born in Austin and has continued to live in the city to this day.

“I haven’t moved from the east side in all my life,” Lang said. He was surprised to find out that he was born in a building that he now owns. His mother brought it up after he acquired a property on Austin’s east side.

“How remarkable, you were born upstairs,” Lang said his mother told him.

As for connecting with voters, Lang said, the process was very familiar.

“I’ve done it so many years that it’s kind of routine,” Lang said. “I’ve run for a lot of offices.”

Lang said he would take his campaign step by step, and focus on what issues the voters have. He anticipated he would knock on a lot of doors and meet with people one-on-one to find out their concerns.

“They’re your boss,” he said. “They have issues you don’t even think of. You have to be a good listener and get the work done.”