Q&A: Erica Zweifel, Candidate for Northfield City Council Third Ward

Erica Zweifel faces Jon Denison.

Two candidates are vying for your support to become Northfield's next Third Ward representative.

They are:

  • Jon Denison
  • Erica Zweifel

Patch asked candidates to respond to a series of questions. Below, you will find responses from Zweifel. You can also read responses from Denison here. Responses are written by the candidates and have not been edited by Patch.

In the coming weeks we'll run more Q&As and video interviews for candidates who are on Nov. 6's ballot in Northfield-related races. You can also find out more information about the candidates by checking out our election guide for all election-related stories.

Erica Zweifel

Age: 46
Family: Married with one son
Education: B. S. Botany, University of Washington
Occupation: Project Manager at Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
Political experience: Northfield City Council 2009-present, Northfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority 2012, Mill Towns Trail Joint Powers Board 2009-present, Northfield Region Fire Service District Committee 2012, 911 Pearl Street Joint Powers Board 2009, Northfield Environmental Quality Commission 2007-2008, Cannon River STEM Founding School Board 2006-2009, Blandin Community Leadership Program participant 2010

Why are you running for a seat on the Northfield City Council? 

It is my honor to serve on the current council and I am seeking re-election because I enjoy serving the community as a city councilor.  I enjoy working with our city boards and commission, various community groups, constituents and other individuals to bring their many creative ideas to fruition.  A great example of this type of collaboration is the new downtown trash/recycling bins project.  It took the work of the YES students, their mentors, city staff, council members and community volunteers to pull off this project and I think that we can all agree that the results are fantastic. Every time that I get to touch a project like that I feel tremendously honored to be a part of this community and to be entrusted with its representation. In addition to the enjoyment that I get out of the relationships involved with serving on the council, I am also interested in making policy decisions that will provide Northfield with a strong foundation as we move toward a sustainable and resilient future. 

What’s the most pressing issue facing Northfield and the City Council?

City finances are the most important issue.  This council has worked hard to reduce Northfield’s dependence on local government aid, focused our resources on core services and taken a systems thinking approach to our decision making process. We continue to review our priorities for core services and seek out financially stabilizing partnerships and collaborations. We budget model a two-year cycle and continue to look at cost saving measures and revenue opportunities. We appointed an Ad Hoc Finance Committee that has been tremendously helpful in reviewing complex budget issues and making recommendations to the council.

What is something you think the current Council has done well?

The current council has done many things well.  We have addressed budget constraints and adopted a policy to reduce our reliance on local government aid.  See more about this in previous answer. We have made maintaining our streets and infrastructure a priority and we have directed city staff to find ways to step up the repair and maintenance of our roads, given our budget constraints.  We have engaged many citizens, including our boards and commissions, in the council process. We have improved technology at city hall through updating employee software, adding wifi and streaming to the council cambers and approving the new city website.  We have accepted the challenge to make Northfield a more business friendly community.

What is something you think the current Council hasn’t done well?

We entered into discussions with the hospital and the firefighters too quickly and with too much force.  We should have worked harder to bring the stakeholders together at the beginning and engaged them in the process.  I would like to apologize to both groups for the rough start to the process.

What would you have tried to do differently

I would have advocated engaging the stakeholders sooner in the process.

Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent

I have a proven track record of representing the Third Ward.  I am responsive to constituent concerns and have consistently brought forward their ideas and/or concerns.  In response to concerns about the safety of crossing HWY 3, I have advocated for changes to the signal crossings at Second Street, the addition of a signal at Third Street, a complete streets policy and the construction of a multi-modal trail that will pass under HWY 3 utilizing existing infrastructure.  As I stated earlier, I enjoy serving this community through building and developing strong relationships.

Anything else you would like to add? 

Thank you to all of you who are engaged in the community and striving to make it a better place.

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