There are 11 candidates running for three Golden Valley Council seats this year. Two seats are for two four-year terms and one seat is a special election to fill the two-year term seat.
Below you will find the candidate biography for Larry Fonnest running for one of the four-year term seats. (All candidates were contacted by Patch via email and given the chance to answer the same questions.)
What previous political experience do you have (including other governmental positions you’ve held, whether elected, appointed or volunteer)?
Over the years, I have served on numerous governor appointed commissions focused on community service and youth development. I have also been a board member of the Minnesota Office of Volunteer Services.
I participated in the Envision process that led to the creation of the "Envision Guide: A Shared Vision For Golden Valley’s Future."
Currently, I serve on Golden Valley’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
What other relevant experience do you have?
Having 40 years of experience as a manager and leader in the non-profit, public, and private sectors including, accountability for budgets in excess of ten million dollars, I have a wealth of knowledge and abilities to effectively serve as a city council member.
For instance, I served as the Director of the Minnesota Conservation Corps, a program that put young people to work in preserving our state’s park, forests, and waterways. I also served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Commission on National and Community Service, administering AmeriCorps and several other statewide service-learning programs.
In addition, I was selected as a Fellow with the Institute for Renewing Community Leadership sponsored by the Wilder Foundation, the Minnesota Council on Foundations and the University of St. Thomas.
Please visit my Facebook site: Fonnest For Golden Valley, for more information and a complete resume.
What is your occupation?
I am a small business owner with 18 employees. Dawnview Coffee Company (DCC) has been operational for nearly eight years. Having survived the ‘Great Recession’, I appreciate the importance of steady and thoughtful leadership and the value of a dollar. I will bring that appreciation to the deliberations of the city council. DCC is a member of Small Business Minnesota and the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce.
Where did you go to school?
I earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a masters’ degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Minnesota.
How old are you?
I am a youthful 61 years old!
Do you have a spouse, children or any other family members you’d like to tell voters about?
My partner, Jim Nepp, and I have been together for 22 years. We have made Golden Valley our home for the past 17 years. We are members of Unity Christ Church and initiated Neighborhood Watch and Night to Unite on our block.
What are your campaign goals?
*Neighborhoods – Strengthen neighborhoods with wise investments in recreation facilities, public safety strategies and timely maintenance of public assets.
*Community – Connect neighborhoods with bike and walking paths, greenways and overpass bridges.
*Fair Taxes – Hold the line on local property taxes while expanding the local tax base.
*Balanced Development – Advocate commercial development that meets local and regional demand with particular attention to the I-394 and Hwy. 55 corridors.
*Housing Choices – Advance options to meet the needs of current and future residents.
*Partnerships – Leverage state and federal resources to supplement city economic development funds.
*Transportation – Explore options for light rail transit and expanded bus service.
*Jobs – Encourage private-public partnerships to spur job creation and good wages.
*Fiscal Management – Hold myself and city departments accountable to taxpayers for budget, expenditure and debt management.
What issues are you most focused on?
1) City Property Taxes: Golden Valley needs to control property taxes. To accomplish that, in part, the tax base needs to expand. I will advocate for new commercial, retail, and housing starts that compliment local needs.
2. Park and Recreation Facilities/Open Space: Golden valley has a wonderful neighborhood park system. The city needs to ensure the system serves multi-generational needs: from youngsters to seniors. Redesign of park and recreation assets and upgrades to playground and other equipment will help ensure our parks, golf course, hike and bike ways are safe and better utilized.
3) Maintaining Infrastructure and Public Safety: The safety of Golden Valley residents is paramount. Safe roads, pathways, parks and infrastructure are critical to strong neighborhoods. Excellence in our police and fire services ensures the safety of our families.Why should voters choose you?
Golden Valley is a wonderful city in which to live, work and recreate. I am thrilled to call Golden Valley home and want to ensure the city’s future is promising.
I am committed to making a positive difference and getting things done for Golden Valley. Open, responsive, and accountable city government that encourages citizen participation is at the heart of my civic philosophy. I will come to the city council with no personal agenda other than a commitment to serve Golden Valley.
Thank you to the citizens of Golden Valley for your vote of support on Tuesday, Nov. 5!