Editor's Note: . So far, Jeff Beck has not responded to our requests for an interview. Patch will also be talking with candidates for city council before the Nov. 8th elections.
After a decade as mayor and in the middle of her fifth campaign, Linda Loomis says she wants another term to help Golden Valley weather through difficult economic times and to follow through with ongoing projects.
“I hate politics, I hate running for office,” she said, “but once you get past the politics, once I’ve won, once I’m mayor, there are a lot of good things that can be done.”
Loomis cites Envision Golden Valley, a large-scale 2005 project to turn resident input into an executable plan for the city, as her greatest accomplishment as mayor, and she is also proud of her work in negotiating a water contract with Minneapolis.
“We had efforts come out of Envision like the Market in the Valley,” she said, “and it got citizens to step out of their ordinary roles and step forward and do things that benefit the community as a whole.”
A Golden Valley Native
Loomis’ parents bought a Golden Valley home in 1956, and she raised her two children in the city.
In the 1990s Loomis worked in the financial sector for Northwestern National Bank, Twin Cities Federal and Knutson Mortgage, where she served as a compliance officer until she was laid off and decided to stay at home with her kids.
She joined Golden Valley community organizations, including the, which encouraged her to run for mayor in 2001.
Her children attended and Loomis now works part-time at the school as a para-professional, but she considers being mayor her “day job.”
“It’s not intended to be a full-time job,” she said, “but let me tell you, I put in more than full-time hours.”
She has also taken leadership roles in organizations such as the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission, the Joint Water Commisssion and People Responding in Social Ministry.
Loomis said the primary challenge facing the city is the tough financial climate.
“The economy doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and Golden Valley has always had a reputation for being well-maintained,” she said. “We’re looking to provide a high-quality service without overburdening our residents with taxes.”
She said she has been working with city staff to cut expenses.
“We’ve stretched out our pavement management program to try to reduce the amount of debt levy that we place on the taxpayers,”
One way she hopes to turn around the economy is through redevelopment projects. The city has done corridor studies to find areas “ripe for development,” and she says she is working with the county and the state to rehabilitate Douglas Drive.
“It’s important to make sure that we’re doing the right redevelopment for the community,” she said, “and that it doesn’t overwhelm neighborhoods but still provides us with a good tax base.”
She said she is also working on improving the “taste and odor of the city’s water,” renovating the Brookview Community Center and starting initiatives with “the faith community.”
A Confident Campaigner
Loomis said that every election cycle she debates with herself whether to run again. (She didn’t declare she would be pursuing a fifth term until early August.)
“You always think about not running, because quite frankly it takes a lot of time and there’s a lot going on in the community that I could get involved with that’s not necessarily appropriate for me to do as mayor,” she said. “[For example] I could join the garden club.”
She said she’s been door knocking, fundraising and putting out signs.
“It’s tough to be mayor and run a campaign,” she said. “Every day it’s meeting after meeting, and I don’t have too much time to campaign.”
But she sounded untroubled by the danger posed by her two opponents for mayor. One of those men, Shep Harris, is actively campaigning for the job.
“I don’t know what any of my opponents' positions are,” she said. “I did see a flyer from [Harris], and I don’t see where he’s distinguished himself from me except he doesn’t have the experience that I have or the community involvement.”
Election day in Golden Valley is Nov. 8.
Editor's Note: Patch incorrectly stated that Loomis is a teacher at Meadowbrook Elemetary. She is actually a para-professional who works in the lunchroom and on the playground, but not as a teacher. We have since corrected the error.