Porter wants to be working person’s voice

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

Keith Porter Jr. is advertising. He walks into the Tribune building wearing a faded blue T-shirt that says, &uot;Elect Keith Porter Junior, Albert Lea, 6th Ward City Council, 2002.&uot; Porter is hoping that people will do what the shirt says, and is campaigning through a people-first, common-man campaign approach.

&uot;I believe in treating everyone fairly, whether they are from the north side of the tracks or the south side of the tracks,&uot; said Porter. &uot;I think people need to be open to everyone.&uot;

Porter is running against incumbent Al &uot;Minnow&uot; Brooks in the general election this November.

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An Albert Lea resident for the last 32 years, Porter has been involved in the industrial sector of the city. Working as a laborer at Universal Tire Warehouse the last 20 years, Porter became vested in the union early in his career. In his years of union activity, Porter has worked his way up to president of the United Steelworkers of America local 6803 union.

&uot;I became politically active through the union and my father, of course,&uot; said Porter. Porter’s father, Keith Sr., is running for county auditor and has been politically active, including time as a county commissioner. Porter Jr. said those influences helped him, but that it was a pure interest in the city that really pulled him in.

&uot;I’ve always believed that if a guy is going to complain about what’s going on in town he’s got to become involved,&uot; Porter said. He said he has seen some things he disagrees with and he thinks he could change them.

Porter said he thinks he’d be a strong voice on the council. &uot;I’m not afraid to listen, but I’m also not afraid to agree to disagree,&uot; he said. &uot;Sometimes there are tough decisions to make, but I think I’ve been in enough situations with the union that I know how to handle those.&uot;

If elected, Porter said he would like to recruit industry and jobs to Albert Lea. &uot;If we keep building all these malls and super Wal-Marts, it’s alright for a quick fix, but we are already retailed as far as our town can take. The jobs created by those businesses are not real, sustainable jobs, which is what we need.&uot;

Porter said he would like to recruit any company that will provide jobs for the community, but said that the majority of those jobs need to be livable. He said the council has done a good job lately of recruiting those but feels that there is much more that can be done.

Porter feels that the interests of the council are not always those of the people who might take the jobs in those new industries.

&uot;Business is always well represented on the city council,&uot; said Porter. &uot;If I were elected I would be the working man’s eyes and ears. The people who punch the clock each day, not the people who own the businesses.&uot;

Another key issue for Porter is to clean up the lake &uot;any way they can.&uot; He said, &uot;I want my kids to grow up in a clean, safe town. When I’m old and in a wheelchair I don’t want my kids pushing me around a lake which is fenced off by signs that say ‘do not enter.’&uot;

In closing, Porter could not help but to come back to his strongest issue, being a &uot;working man.&uot; He said, &uot;I have a strong belief in fairness; no one is better than the next person. We all put our pants on the same way. If I were elected I’d be the voice of the underdog, the regular Joe or Jane.&uot;