Eaton plans to run for mayor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Jean Eaton has been a college teacher and dean, a banker, a tourism promoter and a non-profit director.

Now, she’s got her eye on a new job: Mayor of Albert Lea.

Eaton, the director of the Freeborn County United Way, said Monday she will run for the job being vacated by Mayor Bob Haukoos. She is the fourth candidate to announce her plans to run.

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&uot;My job is community and my background is service, whether it’s education, the private sector or tourism,&uot; she said.

Eaton planned to hold a press conference at 10:15 a.m. today at the Blazing Star Trail entrance near Front Street and Garfield Avenue in Albert Lea.

Despite the challenge of what is already a crowded field of candidates, Eaton said she decided to run after many acquaintances urged her to try.

&uot;This opportunity seems like the next logical step in my service to the Albert Lea community,&uot; she said. &uot;I wasn’t planning at this time on running but I had a number of people contact me saying Albert Lea needs that can-do spirit right now. I’m excited about the opportunity to serve in a different capacity.&uot;

She said a key to the city’s future is job creation, and that efforts already underway through Greater Jobs, Inc., like the Albert Lea Business Development Center and possibly a rural telework center, where residents could telecommute to jobs in other areas, are a good start. The city should take an active role in job creation, as well, she said.

&uot;I think we need to look for technology and perhaps finding ways to be hooked up so we can find ways to attract high-tech jobs,&uot; she said.

Eaton spent 15 years as an instructor at Riverland Community College in Albert Lea and was later campus dean there for two-and-a-half years. She headed up the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau for four-and-a-half years, helping establish the Pelican Breeze cruise boat, Gus Macker basketball tournament, Blazing Star Trail and many other projects, she said.

She has also worked for Americana National Bank.

Now, after working in the private sector, for an educational institution and a non-profit organization, she’d like to make the move into government.

&uot;I think there’s exciting things to happen and I want to be part of it,&uot; she said.

Other candidates for mayor so far are attorney and 2000 candidate Mark Anderson; Destination: Albert Lea leader and business owner Tony Trow; and pastor and first-term city council member George Marin. Haukoos has decided not to seek a second term after being elected in a narrow victory over Anderson in 2000.