When Fridley Mayor Scott Lund said Mandy Meisner’s run for District 4 Anoka County Commissioner would need to raise “a minimum of $20,000,” a child in the audience at her kickoff fundraiser at Crooners piped up, “That’s a lot!”
The first-time office seeker is no stranger to the type of work involved in being an effective county commissioner, said the current elected officials who spoke on her behalf.
Former State Senator Barb Goodwin said an unresponsive elected official inspired her own run in 1984; that an office- holder needs to be not arrogant, to be intelligent, responsive and a good listener. “It takes a lot of energy and organization skills, and Mandy has that, she can run circles around me,” Goodwin said. “We need a lot of good work done. I’m excited for the younger people.”
Goodwin said Meisner is “getting more familiar with Columbia Heights, reaching out to school board members.” State Representative Connie Bernardy, who lost her bid for Goodwin’s Senate seat to Carolyn Laine, also spoke on Meisner’s behalf.
This early stage of the race feels split into Fridley and Columbia Heights camps, as candidate Sean Broom hails from Heights and has Laine’s support.
Meisner claims support of the entire Fridley city council as well as of the mayor. She organized the successful campaign to build the new Fridley City Hall after last-minute opposition to theconstruction plans surfaced. The “Positively Fridley” volunteer group came out of that effort.
She has been the community relations manager with the North Metro Mayors Association, a civic non-profit comprised of 14 cities and 20 community partners, for three years. She was marketing manager for Financial One Credit Union, and lived in Columbia Heights prior to 17 years in Fridley.
She outlined her decade of experience and examples of putting people together.
Meisner co-founded and organized Fridley Trip Kids and raised $10,000 for a scholarship fund. She put together and promoted a pie-baking contest (55 entries) to give new life to Fridley’s city’s festival.
Meisner talked about her experience on the Mercy Hospital Foundation Board reviewing grants, and concerns about mental health issues.
Jobs: “We have a crisis in the trades,” Meisner said, noting that she has been working with community colleges and the Metro North and Twin Cities North chambers of commerce. “We have to stop telling students that vocational education is second to college.”
District 4 includes Columbia Heights, most of Fridley and a small portion of Spring Lake Park. Current commissioner Jim Kordiak recently announced he would not run again.
The county board is non-partisan, and campaign manager Avonna Starck said there were both Democrats and Republicans in the room at the March 25 kickoff, held jointly with incumbent commissioner Mike Gamache of District 5 which runs from the northwestern part of Fridley, to Andover. Meisner’s volunteer manager, Donna Prewedo, and Starck serve on the Fridley School Board.
Meisner’s literature promotes getting out votes for the August 14 primary that would narrow the field if other candidates run.
Below: Mandy Meisner talked with constituents at her campaign kick-off at Crooners Lounge and Supper Club in Fridley March 25. (Photo by Margo Ashmore)