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Candidate Q&A: Randy Flynn, Ward 3 Cloquet City Council

Why are you running for office?

I feel I have the time, I have a lot of background in finance with owning businesses and owning multiple properties in Cloquet besides the nine-plex,  others that I bought and sold. I think the city of Cloquet is like owning a big business. You have your input, output, liabilities. To make it work you have to be successful at it, and I know I have that, things have worked out well.

I’m my own thinker. I don’t get swayed. Being a deputy sheriff, I don’t get talked into things as easily. You’re going to have to convince me, I think that’s a good background, dealing with people’s situations all the time.

What do you think are the two biggest issues facing the city of Cloquet? If elected, how would you work to resolve those?

The opioid problem is huge. It’s silent for a lot of people but it’s costing the city lots of money. Between overtime at the police department, and health issues for people … it’s been a growing problem for awhile. We need to explore different avenues, anything we can help with, add to, be a part of. I believe in prevention more than anything. I taught the DARE program in the city and the county for 10 years. I believe getting where the problem starts, whether it’s in the home or community. If there are ways to get more resources involved, I would explore that. I used to write grants; I was successful at that a number of years ago.

(Second topic after some thought)

Housing. For families, there is not enough housing and apartments for lower income. My apartments are nice and full all the time. I seldom have to advertise, people tell me to call when open. What they’re doing with the middle school is a good thing, I think, from the outside looking in. It should help solve some of the problem.

What’s the best thing the city has done over the past four years?

I think the parks. The playground (at Voyageurs Park). Veterans Park people can see as they drive by. Pinehurst Park and the Beach. I love the basketball courts and tennis courts, and the lights. I understand a skateboard park is coming. Those are good things.

Any time you can keep kids busy doing something positive, they’re not doing something negative.

And the streets. I see they’re doing good things downtown now. Lighting, streets, landscaping and the bulbouts. I think the bulbouts should be on every intersection downtown.

I also think bringing the human services building to Cloquet was a big shot in the arm. It brought more people here, gave them a reason to come. It’s a beautiful building that I think they’re outgrowing already

Name three character traits of yours that you think will make you a good public official.

I’m not shy.

I am opinionated but I research, I would not just say something until I had some background.

I’m budget minded, from running businesses and properties in Cloquet that I’ve owned and sold.

Do you think the city council acted appropriately when it hired a new police chief without following the city’s usual hiring process for department heads? Why or why not?

It seems like there should have been more of a process. I know these folks, obviously, but even with that I would have said we need more of a process. I think you should have looked at more senior officers -- they’re there for a reason.

Like most people, I just know what happens through the paper. I tried to go to a meeting, I couldn’t get in. I was in the hallway and couldn’t hear, standing five deep from the door. Couldn’t hear so I left. I really wanted to hear  the process, what is going on, why is this such a big issue, how they were going to explain.

As I’m running, I’m hearing more and more about the council.

I know everyone who was involved: Dave hallback, Jeff Palmer, Steve Stracek … from working with law enforcement., as people.

But not knowing any more about the process, it appears the action was very quick.

What do you see as the role of the city council?

It’s like being part owner of business. You put your heads together to make this business run correctly. You have liability, you have income. What’s best for the company to keep progress.

You have to work together. I”m not going to butt heads or swear, but I will get my point across, whether they like me or not.

Like a company you take advice from employees, which means city staff and the public. Make sure they’re treated fairly and everything runs smoothly, that you address concerns.

I go back to it’s like running a big company because so many different things to address. As deputy for 30 years I was part of that kind of a group, making decisions for others as well.