As with all even years, 2022 is an election year in the city of Faribault. While elections will be occurring for all levels of government, this column will focus on the Faribault City Council and the upcoming election of council members.
Specifying this is intended to be an assurance that this column is not political in nature or content, thereby keeping some or most of you from just skipping on to the next article.
The Faribault City Council is comprised of a mayor and six council members, serving for terms of four years. The the six council member terms are staggered (three and three). The mayor and council members are elected and serve “at large,” as Faribault is not divided into wards, and are non-partisan. For the 2022 election, three council member seats will be on the ballot.
Eligibility to run for City Council originates from the Minnesota State Constitution. Generally speaking, following are the qualifications to file for City Council: (1) must be eligible to vote in Minnesota, (2) have not filed for another office at the upcoming primary or general election, (3) will be 21 years of age or more upon assuming office (which will be in January of 2023), and (4) will have maintained residence in the city of Faribault for at least 30 days before the general election.
For 2022, the filing period for seats on the City Council begins on Tuesday, May 17 and runs through Tuesday, May 31.
Filing is a relatively simple process. An eligible person just needs to file an affidavit of candidacy (a form produced by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and available at City Hall), which is required to be notarized, and pay the $5 filing fee. Should a person that properly filed during this period choose to withdraw, they have until Thursday, June 2 to do so — otherwise, they will appear on the ballot.
The number of candidates determines whether a primary is required. If seven or more people file for the three seats, then the candidates will be on the ballot for the primary election in August. The top six vote-getters advance to the general election in November, from which the top three will become council members.
Running for City Council is a big decision. The responsibilities and time commitment are significant and it may at times result in criticism from the public on decisions made or actions taken (or not taken). However, it does present a clear opportunity to help shape the future of the community and to establish the priorities for the services and other amenities provided to our residents and businesses.
While I would preface that the wording in the following well-known quote is a bit extreme (and the gender reference a product of the time), I think there is a relevant point that can be drawn: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
It’s a quote routinely attributed to the eighteenth-century Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, including by President John F. Kennedy, but like many historic quotes, there is disagreement on the true origin.
The point, as I see it, is that people need to make the commitment to get involved and actively engage in the discussions that take place as part of the governing of the city to best ensure the outcomes reflect the desires of the community and make Faribault a better place to live and work. Serving on the City Council definitely checks all those boxes.
If you have or are considering running for City Council, but perhaps have some reservations or concerns about throwing your hat in the ring, I would strongly suggest reaching out to current or past mayors or council members to get their thoughts on serving and a firsthand account of their experiences.
Closing with another famous quote, this one from President Kennedy’s inaugural address, albeit slightly modified, I would challenge you to “Ask not what your city can do for you — ask what you can do for your city.”