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Candidate Viewpoint: Newport mayor candidate Steven Gallagher

Two years ago I became a member of the Newport City Council after seeing the need to improve the atmosphere and perception within the city. However, this work cannot be done with the current leadership; therefore, I am asking for your vote to become the mayor, in this critical time, for our great city.

We are lucky to call Newport home -- a small town close to transportation, the Mississippi River and friendly neighbors. Now imagine our city with the right leadership and abilities to tap the potential of undeveloped areas and heal old political wounds. Imagine a city where government actually works with you and for you.

The current mayor, Tim Geraghty, has had 29 years in a leadership position to bring Newport forward. Politics and internal bickering has lead to disrespect and dishonor. While we may be a small town our leadership needs to be driven to do more and do better. What can the current mayor accomplish in the next four years that he has not had the chance to do in 29? It's time for new thinking, a new approach and a new beginning.

Now is the time to explore all possibilities and open city government to every resident, business owner and visitor. Under my leadership every opinion will be respected and welcomed. No longer will our city be exclusive (old boys club), but rather a city that is inclusive to every stakeholder. The role of the mayor is to make things happen in the best interest of the city. My singular goal and purpose is to bring respect and honor back into leadership by moving Newport's potential forward.

I have been appointed to the Metropolitan Council Transportation Advisory Board (which allocates $980 million of transportation funds), serve on the Red Rock Corridor Commission and was the vice chairman of the Newport Planning Commission. I am an executive director for SSCO in Minneapolis, which is directly responsible for extensive redevelopment. My experience and respect from surrounding city, state and federal officials will serve the city of Newport very well as mayor.

As your mayor I will be financially responsible with your money. I will use common sense when dealing with budgetary issues and will monitor all expenses. By redeveloping areas that are underutilized I will create an even tax base that is not exclusively dependent on homeowners taxes. New and expanded commercial and retail business will bring a welcome addition to our city.

Geraghty will tell you that great strides have been made in the last couple of years. However, he will not tell you that the thing that changed Newport was the election of myself and Tracy Rahm. We brought a new attitude and professionalism to the council. Imagine the steps that could be accomplished with a respected mayor and council willing to actually put Newport first, and not worry about a park being named after them.

Now is the time to put Newport first with your vote on Nov. 6 for me, Steven Gallagher. I will earn your vote everyday while serving with honor and respect.