Mayor Erdman files for re-election

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Also filing for the mayoral seat Tuesday were George Gillespie and C.E. Vollum.

Albert Lea Mayor Randy Erdman was the first in line Tuesday to announce his bid for re-election, as filing officially began for elective office at City Hall.

Erdman, who was elected mayor in November of 2006, said he decided to run for office again because he believes the community is headed in the right direction. During the past few years, the city government has been able to accomplish some major initiatives, he said.

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Erdman said he thinks he’s been effective as mayor thus far, but he also credits recent accomplishments to the Albert Lea City Council and city staff.

“I think the city is gaining momentum,” he said.

Since he was elected to the office of mayor, Erdman said he is most proud of accomplishments that include gaining the necessary funding for the North Edgewater Park Landfill Project; developing strong relationships with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, state legislators, Freeborn County officials, Albert Lea School District leaders and Shell Rock River Watershed leaders; and completing the bike/walking path with pedestrian lighting from Brookside School to Pioneer Park.

Other accomplishments include the completion of the Eighth Avenue Lift Station, the replacement of the Katherine Island bridge and shoreline restoration, the development of a new comprehensive plan and the start of a government channel, he said.

For the downtown, there has been much progress, including the completion of the exterior restoration of the Freeborn National Bank and Jacobson Apartment buildings, the start of the Broadway Ridge Renewal Fund, the completion of the Albert Lea Public Library, and the renaming of the Albert Lea Civic Theatre to the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

“It really is a team effort,” Erdman said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is to build relationships and give others credit when it’s due. The council deserves a lot of credit for what’s happening too.”

He said he decided to wait to announce his bid for re-election until now because he didn’t want the focus to be on him. Instead, he wanted the focus to be on where the city is moving.

One of the most challenging aspects of his position as mayor has been exploring ways to develop more effective council meetings. Rules of decorum for the public forum portion of the meeting has been cause of much controversy.

“We’re a major city in Greater Minnesota, and we need to act like it,” he said.