Redwood Falls city council candidates - Ward 1: Jena Beller-Schmidt
Why are you running for city council?
I am raising my family here in Redwood Falls. I am a property and business owner here and am very interested in becoming more involved in Redwood’s council and Chambers to support the development of this city’s unique character and beauty, with a special interest in reviving our Downtown.
From your perspective, what is the role of a city council member?
I feel a city council member’s role is to speak and act in the best interests of its citizens. It is important that our council members really know the people of their community and their different situations and needs. I know many of Redwood Falls’ residents personally from being a waitress and business owner here these past 15 years.
How would you as a city council member balance fiscal responsibility and ensuring residents receive the services they need?
Experience has taught me that I need to invest time up front educating myself about the practices, issues, procedures and resources, as well as, find supportive mentors to learn from in order to be successful in anything I do. As a new council member, I would research, listen, weigh pros and cons, speak with residents and review all of our options to accomplish this.
What do you think is the city's greatest asset? How would you as a city council member best utilize that asset?
I think Redwood’s people and the natural beauty of our town are our greatest assets. I believe that investing in opportunities for Redwood to grow as a community will encourage the development of both human and fiscal success.
How would you work to collaborate with other units of government at the local, state and federal level?
There are many government grants, educational tools and programs available to small towns. I have personally used some to build my business and rehabilitate my Downtown buildings. We need to encourage businesses to identify and use these resources, through education and networking, within the business community and between our educational institutions including our schools, library and cooperative extensions.
How as a member of the city council can you best promote economic development?
I see opportunity, in Downtown Redwood, to expand businesses, provide employment opportunities and generate income for the town. I feel given the attention it needs our Downtown can flourish once again.
Other than the above topics, what do you think is the city's most important issue that needs to be addressed. How would you work to resolve it?
The pandemic has provided us an insight into the enormous struggles, as well as opportunities, that lie ahead in developing our education system with technology and creative educational solutions to ready our children in this age of the “new normal.”
Please provide a brief bio of yourself.
I was born and raised in Long Island, N.Y. I made Redwood Falls my home 15 years ago. I am a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a mother, wife, career waitress and entrepreneur. I love life and enjoy getting to know the people around me. I am the duck in a sea of swans; I think a bit differently than most, don't mind that I stand out, but take my position in my community very seriously. I genuinely enjoy helping people and am brutally honest.