Suzanne Nguyen – Burnsville City Council primary candidate
Occupation: Speech/language pathologist
Education: Bachelor of science and master of arts in communication disorders, both completed at the University of Minnesota
Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: I have focused my attention in volunteering at my daughter’s school, Echo Park Elementary School in Burnsville. I am involved as an Art Adventure coordinator and presenter and I volunteer in the classroom working with students.
1. Why should people vote for you?
I was born and raised in Minneapolis. I was brought up Lutheran and I am a member of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. My husband and I were married in 2000 and moved to Burnsville in 2001. He is a physician at Park Nicollet in Burnsville. We have an 8-year-old daughter who attends Echo Park Elementary School in Burnsville. I currently work for the Minneapolis Public Schools as a speech/language pathologist.
What are most important to me are family and community. We need to keep our neighborhoods safe for our children. We need to continue to maintain and improve our parks and our programs for our youth. It is important to me that our children are well educated so that they can make our world better. The city has done a fantastic job in creating an environment that attracts businesses and families. We need to continue to be creative to meet the needs of all of our citizens. My husband and I love Burnsville, and as a City Council member, I will strive to maintain and improve the quality of life of our community. I will do my best to listen to the people and I would be honored to be The Voice of Burnsville.
2. What are the key issues facing the city? How should the city address them?
The current mayor and City Council members have done a great job in the face of recession. Where many other suburbs struggle, Burnsville has continued to attract new businesses. Burnsville continues to maintain a full-time police and fire department. The major challenge is to keep our infrastructure intact while maintaining our budget. The city needs to make fiscally responsible decisions but at the same time needs to maintain our standard of living.
3. What cost-cutting measures to city spending would you support?
I believe we need to maintain our public safety first and foremost. Currently we have a seven- minute response time for fire and police. I do not believe anyone would want to cut spending in these areas.
Burnsville has already done a lot to cut costs. The number of full-time public employees has decreased. When a person retires or leaves a position, some of those positions have been absorbed by others and those positions have not been replaced. Burnsville is on the cutting edge of trying to automate services so that we do not need as many employees.
We should continue to look for privately funded sponsors for the Performing Arts Center. We need to attract more families to the center, perhaps by offering more children’s theater and activities.
4. Assess the work of the current mayor and council. What is your leadership style?
Based on the current public survey, 75 percent of Burnsville residents feel that things in general are heading in the right direction. I agree that the current mayor and City Council members have done a good job.
I am a team player. I will go along with the majority so long as it will not compromise my character, integrity, and values.