Apple Valley City Council candidate: Wilma Ruppert

Age: 56

Address: 12754 Foliage Court, Apple Valley

Occupation: Logistics team leader, aerospace company

Education: Business Degree – Technical School (Maryland); Business/Human Resources Emphasis – Attended Normandale, University of Minnesota and Inver Hills Community College;

Previous elected, appointed or volunteer positions: Dakota County Human Services Advisory Board; lead election judge (Dakota County, six years); CAP Board (three years); Union Gospel Mission (15 years); People Serving People; Women’s Shelter; Grace Church (EP) – Usher & World Missions Events (19 years).

1) Why should people vote for you?

Twenty-five year resident, passionate about Apple Valley; committed; listens to understand; “It’s not about me!” – I sincerely care that Apple Valley maintains having a well-educated workforce and stays on track for being recognized as “pro-business.” On the campaign trail I’m hearing residents do not understand why taxes continue to increase, but property values decrease. Residents want a voice – many do not even know there is a council; Apple Valley being viewed as stagnant with trends of same old-same old including restaurants, other business ventures. All this said, new leaders are needed with fresh ideas to fill vacancies, those willing to step out of their comfort zone. You will not go wrong selecting me as “your choice.”

2) What should be the top funding priorities?

Business development supporting job growth; technology, upscale townhome development, adequate fire and safety resources; trees replacing those uprooted by construction (residents have been adamant about replacement) many noted “this is why I moved to Apple Valley”; tourism.

3) What cost cutting measures to city spending would you support?

Community events expenditures out of city budget; council meetings that spend numerous hours discussing insignificant items (i.e. where signage should be allowed for realtors, freelance businesses, political, other?). If you tour at least seven suburbs in a 12-mile radius, you will see signage everywhere. Not saying right or wrong – just pointing out all time spent was city budget dollars. In my opinion – seems “old school”; consolidate multiple committees (i.e. Urban Affairs, Planning could be joint effort).

4) In what ways can the city improve the delivery of its services?

Consistent and constant communication – “Corner Spot” once a month in local paper highlighting important issues affecting local population; begin 2013 with resident focus groups and/or town hall on quarterly basis chaired by two council members providing round-table discussion allowing shared views, providing feedback as to what is important; have resident reviews on how city administration (including council) is progressing or digressing.

5) What areas of economic development do you think the city can improve upon?

Business growth; tourism; jobs. Unfortunately we have lost some business with job opportunities. We are slow to grow and no-one is visibly doing anything about it. Why does Burnsville have the largest employer in the southern burbs? Eagan has BCBS, Coca-Cola, major strip mall convenient to residents and extremely prosperous to business. Eagan and Burnsville have multiple diverse restaurants. Research shows comprehensive “2030” blueprint – but if plan is to be activated, we should be discussing now. Our future depends on leadership saying “what’s happening?” and “what’s being done to make sure we have a plan in place?”

6) What do you bring to the table that other candidates don’t?

Risk-taker; commitment; listen-to-understand versus making my ideas priority; too many politicians are in it for their own career aspirations versus “representing the city.” I was raised in a large metropolitan area and have seen what cities our size can do. I’m a believer to get outside of the box seat and help make things progress like the marathoner trying to achieve his PR. Let’s act on our goals, versus just documenting the objectives.

7) What is the city of Apple Valley missing? How can the City Council address that need?

Business development diversity (larger employers); partnership with neighboring suburbs to grow together. Instead of competing against, combine services and resources shared. This equals more jobs (growing larger businesses in a shared environment); other areas of the country have started to do this with success (Towson, Parkville, Cockeysville, Dulaney Valley, Md.) – shared business development, education, public transportation, restaurants, tourism – ultimately providing less tax dollars to the residents; keep taxes low by funding needed services with revenue from tax base.