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Bailey to run unopposed; Six to vie for two council seats

Incumbent mayor Myron Bailey will run unopposed in the Nov. 8 election. 1 / 3
Kim Graff, La Rae Mills and Samanthia Crabtree filed to run for council. 2 / 3
Wayne A. Johnson, Jennifer Raymer and AJ Janssen have filed to run for city council. 3 / 3

Cottage Grove voters will have one mayoral option on the Nov. 8 ballot but six choices for city council.

Mayor Myron Bailey will run for his third term unopposed, after he was the only candidate to file before the Aug. 16 deadline.

Six candidates stepped forward to run for two council seats: Kim Graff, La Rae Mills, Wayne A. Johnson, Samanthia Crabtree, AJ Janssen and Jennifer Raymer. Council incumbents Jen Peterson and Justin Olsen are not seeking re-election.

Bailey, who was challenged in his first two mayoral campaigns, said he is running again to complete some unfinished business.

“I want to get some projects done that haven’t been finished yet,” he said. “Like the redevelopment of the Cottage View site, and I’d like to see us break ground with a YMCA type-community center and hopefully a new library.”

Council seats

The council candidates bring varied reasons and experience to the six-way race.

Graff wants to continue work she has been doing on the planning commission.

“One of the things I’ve noticed is how much economic growth really impacts the residents,” she said. “The big thing is to keep us feeling like a small town, but at the same time people want more industry growth and bringing business closer to us and new jobs. I think the council’s been doing a great job with that, and I’d like to keep that going.”

Mills also has commission experience from her work with the Arts Commission. She said that growth in Cottage Grove is one of the reasons she chose to run.

“I’ve been in Cottage Grove for 16 years, and in that time I’ve seen such great growth, and so much potential,” she said. “I’d like to see that continue. I want to listen to people’s ideas to help shape things as we continue to grow.”

Mills also wants to see arts and culture highlighted in Cottage Grove, as well as more public transportation options to the metro and around the city.

Johnson, owner of Dust Doctors and Furnace Doctors, is also a pro-growth advocate from the planning commission.

“I was part of the planning commission for three years and I liked the direction as far as bringing in new business and bringing in industrial and commercial and restaurants, and making it a place people could stay in instead of going to Woodbury or someplace else,” he said. “I want to make sure the city keeps moving forward. Bottom line is I like the direction the city is going, and I want to be part of the process.”

Crabtree is another small-business owner in the city, running Just Kiddin’ Around Daycare from her home. She said she would like to bring something different to the council.

“I filed because I think Cottage Grove could use a new face and some fresh ideas, just some new outlooks on things on the city council,” she said. “It’s time to get some fresh new faces in there. They’ve all been on there for awhile, and not that they’re bad or anything, but I represent a different part of Cottage Grove by being younger.”

AJ Janssen, a government worker in Woodbury, filed after being encouraged by members of the community.

“I’ve had a bunch of people ask me to run because they’re unhappy with the candidates that are out there,” he said. “I was on the health and welfare commission until earlier this year, so I’m not a stranger to how the city works. I want to see Cottage Grove become a better community and I think it’s on the right direction, but I think it needs a helping hand.”

The last candidate to file was Raymer, a lifelong Cottage Grove resident who works at Capella University in St. Paul.

“The long and short of it is I want to contribute to my community,” she said. “I want to contribute to economic development. I think there’s a lot of success that has happened already and I’d like to help continue that success.”

Daniel Bies filed to run for a council seat but withdrew his candidacy on the Aug. 16 filing deadline.

“I’m withdrawing because I can’t give my all to the people 110 percent of the time because still I’m in the military,” he said. “But I’m backing Samanthia Crabtree. We have the same ideas. We’re all about the community.”