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Dennis to run for Cottage Grove City Council

Steve Dennis built a small business in Cottage Grove and now wants to help promote the city to other prospective businesses.

Dennis said he’ll make small business growth a priority if he is elected to the Cottage Grove City Council this fall. He announced his candidacy last week.

Dennis and his wife, Kathy, own Dennis Brothers Liquor in the Almar Village commercial development at 70th Street and Keats Avenue.

A 25-year resident, Dennis said Cottage Grove is getting close to the 40,000-population mark, and with that growth will come further development.

“People that get on the council have a wonderful opportunity to get out and become an ambassador for the community,” Dennis said. “I’m a very engaged individual and it would be my desire to get out and actively work and help recruit and sell our community to potential investors.”

Expanding family-oriented amenities is another area Dennis said he would focus on as a council member. He credited the city for its strong parks and trails system, but said he wants to advocate for a new community center, particularly for youth and family activities.

“We’re lacking some things here,” he said.

Dennis is the first to announce a council bid. The four-year terms of incumbent council members Derrick Lehrke and Dave Thiede end this year.

Lehrke said in a recent interview that he plans to run for re-election. However, Lehrke added, if someone with a similar vision and like-minded positions announces a council bid, he may reconsider seeking another four-year term.

Thiede said he is running for a second term. Thiede said he has enjoyed working to try to encourage more job growth in Cottage Grove, particularly the efforts to lure manufacturers and distributors to the city’s Business Park.

“I think we’ve got a good start on things,” Thiede said.

Thiede also said he wants to keep finding ways to make city government more cost-effective, including by looking closely at the justification for city purchases.

The filing period for the November general election is July 29 to Aug. 12.

Dennis said he made his announcement early because he needs time to put his campaign together and to get his name out more than if he were an incumbent.

“It just gives me a real nice opportunity to get out and talk to people and get the process going without being under a stressed time constraint,” he said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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