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St. Paul Park mayor candidate Q&A: Community engagement is key for Downs

Name: Patrick J. Downs

Age: 48

Address: 1412 Lincoln Ave.

Occupation: Attorney

Education: University of Minnesota Minneapolis Campus. B.A. Triple Major: Anthropology, Sociology and Middle East and South Asian Studies 1994. Juris Doctorate Hamline University 1997.

Family: Wife Debra, daughter Ashley and two sons Jake and Connor.

Civic involvement: For the last eight years I have been a Boy Scout Leader for Troop 9083, which is sponsored by St. Thomas Church in St. Paul Park.

Why are you qualified to serve on the city council? As an attorney I have the public speaking, organization and negotiation skills the mayor needs to successfully carry out their duties. I have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service through my association with Scouting and believe in educating and engaging the public in forming policy for the city.

What would your approach be to the proposed BNSF auto-exchange lot? I have spoken to BNSF's public liaison on this issue, and the conversation left me with the belief that any opposition to what BNSF wants to do on the site will not be acceptable to them. Years of inaction concerning the property, has allowed an outside party to come in and dictate what will happen to the property. The city has limited options, and we are going to have to do our best to limit the impact of the lot on our City.

What are your two biggest priorities as a mayor? I want to get citizens better informed and involved in city policy and decision making. The more we hear from the citizens, the better we can understand what they want and develop solutions that fit the city and not the decision makers or other special interest groups.