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Election 2012: Dennis Walsh, Orono City Council

Patch will highlight candidates from communities throughout Lake Minnetonka in the coming days. Look for your comprehensive election guide coming soon!

Denny Walsh is running against Kristi Anderson, Doug Franchot and Lizz Levang for two seats up for election this November on the Orono City Council.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Share something most people don’t know about you.

I am the only recommended Republican running. I lived in Europe for a year from 2-3 years old. My first job was at Wendy's in Hopkins, and I love their burgers to this day. I am a master scuba diver, and I was a 200 average bowler in high school and went to the state championships in 10,11 and 12th grades. 

I took my first year off high school to play baseball, and live/take care of my cancer-stricken grandma, then went to college in Madison, WI, and graduated in three years. I put my self through college and supported myself after college by buying and selling baseball cards. 

What sorts of thoughts come to mind when you think of Lake Minnetonka?

When I think of Lake Minnetonka I think of all of my years in high school coming out to the lake to boat and hang out with friends. I think of the Mai Tai, Lord Fletchers and all the fabulous boat tours that strolled around the lake. When you are young it seems so very far away, and now the city seems so close.

The water was much clearer then. Lake Minnetonka was the destination place for kids to come from all over the city and because of that you would get to meet all walks of life from all over.

Are invasive species a local, state or federal issue? Or is it a mix? Describe your views.

Invasive species are all of the above. Invasive species are different all over the country, and if we had a coordinated effort to help find the best solutions for the different types of invasive species then we could probably do a better job of directing those solutions at the problem. The local city municipalities need to be active in helping the people understand how to solve the issues so that we have a better educated population.

This will in turn help benefit the lakes for many generations to come. 

What is the most common issue people talk with you about while campaigning? What do you tell them?

There are two common issues that are always brought up. One is the need for spending wisely, and the second issue is that they don't know the candidates well enough to know who to vote for.

Spending wisely goes hand in hand with knowing who you think you are voting for. This is why I have decided to get the recommended Republican endorsement from our district and the endorsements from our Congressman Erik Paulsen, Sheriff Rich Stanek and two sitting Orono Council Members.

This lets Orono voters know that I am the conservative candidate that will be watching out for them vs. just saying it to get votes. With wise spending we can concentrate on our largest items more effectively (infrastructure), and look at some of the issues that we have not been able to get to yet (navarre business district). Nobody wants their real estate taxes to go up to fund pet projects (roundabouts).

How do you feel about the current property tax levels? What about school district taxes (understanding the city council has no control over them)?

The council did a good job at keeping the levy flay for 2013. With that said, I believe that we can do better because with a flat levy it just means that the city is still spending the same amount of money even though the average house value fell 7 percent, and our incomes have all dropped. That means you pay the same taxes on a house of less value which is a net tax increase, and the city has direct control over their own budget which is funded by the taxes we pay on our homestead.

The school district has their own board, and I will not opine on their issues at this point.

If the funding were available, what projects—either shovel ready or on the drawing board—would you advocate dedicating it to?

I wish that we had a magic funding source to fund all we need to have done, but we don't. That's why it is so important to have tested business leadership on the Orono City Council to help lead the way to make sure we have the resources allocated correctly for all the infrastructure needs that Orono has.

Orono has many road projects that need to be taken care of, as well as a number of infrastructure areas that need to get resolved in the coming years. They all need to get done in a timely manner. Navarre is also a priority to get done, and we have talked about it for many years without any resolve, and with my additional leadership we will get the hard tasks accomplished.

Are you satisfied with the public safety services being provided to city residents?

I applaud the Long Lake Fire Department, and fire safety seems to be working very well. I would encourage the continuation of that partnership with Long Lake.

I have total respect for law enforcement and the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis, but as with any other division within the city, all divisions need to be held accountable to the citizens that they report to, and the police system needs to be looked at very closely as I have seen numerous issues of unwillingness to enforce the laws we have on the books to the detriment of our citizens.

How would you encourage the average citizen to become more engaged in local government? 

Anytime a citizen has an issue, I would encourage them to call me and discuss the issues. I believe in an open door policy all the time, and with that said I would also encourage them to join us at the council meetings and to tell us in open forum about any and all issues that need to get resolved, because the more discussion we have the better the end result will be.

In the end we are in the City Council to help foster the community we live in, and I would hope that all the citizens of Orono would step up and have a voice with me.

Open forum. Why should voters cast their ballot for you this November?

As the only Republican recommended candidate, I would like the voters to know that I will treat our city with the utmost fiscal stewardship while at the same time maximizing the most we can get out of the dollars we have to spend without asking Orono residents to give more money for pet projects.

When the economy is down, our housing values are low and some elements of society want to raise our taxes it should comfort all Orono residents to know that I am on the watch for you. Thanks to all the people who have supported me, and I ask for your Vote on Nov 6. Thank you.

hwy12goph November 05, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Denny, can you elaborate on your note about roundabouts? If we were replacing a road wouldn't we consider a roundabout rather than installing lights? I would think we would look at the total cost estimates. While traveling in New Zealand I found the roundabouts worked very well and we didn't have to wait for lights.
Orono Resident November 05, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Dennis You speak about fiscal responsibility - but your campaign has not been fiscally responsible with all the postcards you have mailed out. I presume you paid the costumed individuals to stand outside holding up your signs this weekend too. I hope you are more fiscally responsible with the city of Orono's finances should you get elected. As a conservative republican, I am not impressed with the way you have run your campaign.
Orono November 05, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Resident... DOnt you think that a volunteer could have easily put on the suit? Post cards, cold calls, yard signs - which would you rather receive or be subjected to? They all are terrible but I feel post cards are the least intrusive and have more bang for the buck.
orono conservative November 05, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I cannot help wonder why so much is being spent on this election campaign. I've received 13 post cards from Walsh at $600 per mailing = $7800 on mailings alone. It seems a bit excessive. Resident

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