Uncle Sam Norman wants you — to meet and greet the mayoral and council candidates


  1. Thanks for the plug, Griff. Tonight’s kick off is at 6pm with the mayoral, 3rd ward and At-Large candidates each giving a 5-minute presentation at the microphone on the stage outside the Cow followed by a general mingling meet and greet on and around the pub and patio. No formal Q & A tonight though this can occur on a one-to-one basis after the presentations. No Ward 2 candidates since for that Ward there is no Primary.

    Next Thursday (21st) will be Mayoral candidates. Cards will be available for Questions to be put by the Moderator. Ditto for the 3rd Ward and At-Large the following Thursday (28th). Format for both will be a 5-minute presentation followed by a moderated Q & A session, format to be decided. Essentially, for the first part of these two sessions, the candidates will be On-Show, the second part On-The-Spot.

    There are many engagements and forums these days for the cadidates, so please forgive them if they cannot attend those at the Cow and also if they have to leave early.

    Each of these three Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm, the pub, patio and peripheries will be dedicated to these Candidates at the Cow sessions. No entry fees, no purchases necessary, all ages welcome and if you do buy a beer be at least 21. See you at the Cow.

    August 14, 2008
  2. Nine out of 13 candidates, or their representatives, turned up and presented themselves to those assembled at the Cow. All gave a good account of themselves and some lingered to chat.

    Next week, the mayoral candidates will once again present themselves followed by a Q & A session – 6pm to 8pm, Thursday August 21st at the Cow.

    August 15, 2008
  3. Ross Currier said:

    Norman –

    Which were the four that didn’t show…

    …and did they cite a scheduling conflict?

    Which sent representatives…

    …and did they name a reason?

    – Ross

    August 15, 2008
  4. Anne Bretts said:

    I appreciate the work of the Key and of Mr. Butler in hosting election events. I was wondering whether there might be any other candidate events before the primary? It would be great to have an event in the council chambers, hosted by a neutral party, or even the candidates themselves, so that it could be taped and shown on public access television.

    August 15, 2008
  5. Martha Cashman said:

    Great suggestion Anne!! I know I would attend to ask questions.

    August 15, 2008
  6. Tracy Davis said:

    Okay, great idea. Who wants to organize that one?

    August 15, 2008
  7. Anne Bretts said:

    I just got back from the Cities and the answer to my question was in my e-mail. The News is co-sponsoring and NTV is taping.
    Good news all around.

    August 15, 2008
  8. I am tempted to rearrange the third Candidates at the Cow forum for 3rd Ward and At-Large from Thursday August 28th to Tuesday Sept 3rd, 6pm to 8pm – obviously due to the clash with the LWV’s forum. Can anyone see a problem with this new date…?

    August 16, 2008
  9. One problem: Tuesday is Sept. 2 not 3. Thanks for the sessions, whenever they are, by the way!

    August 16, 2008
  10. Many Thanks, Susan. I mean Tuesday Sept 2nd.

    August 16, 2008
  11. So be it, Griff. The candidates for Ward 3 and At-Large are cordially invited to be On-Show and then On-The-Spot at the Cow on Tuesday September 2nd from 6pm to 8pm; citizens invited too!

    August 19, 2008
  12. The format tomorrow (9-21-08) at the Cow includes:

    1. On Show…A PRESENTATION from the candidates – five minutes each with no stopwatch.

    Then questions that each candidate would like to be asked and which will be put to the other candidates. So far, one question from a mayoral candidate…

    2…On The Spot…”…the city of Northfield spent over $200,000 on legal fees in 2007. It is running up a huge total this year. What would you do as mayor to reduce the legal fees of the city?”.

    I hope that more questions from the mayoral candidates will be put. For my part, I will as moderator ask them.

    August 20, 2008
  13. The question above is posed by Mayoral candidate David Hvistyendahl, the one below by Eduardo Wolle:

    The City is about to take on some serious infrastructure issues. The annexation of more than 500 acres almost 7 miles from the sewer plant and safety center could result in serious costs … given that Minnesota law does not allow the use of impact fees to capture those costs directly from the developer, the current taxpayers are going to have to subsidize the very growth that threatens their lifestyle. What sort of total cost of services analysis do you understand well enough to communicate to the people why they should want to subsidize it?

    Follow up: the safety center already is stressed by the fact that the railroad sometimes blocks the easy accesses to the west. Developing land that far away will almost certainly result in the need for a second station … good for the west side, but not so good for the city as a whole (who pays for it).

    See you at the Cow tonight (Thursday) at 6pm.

    August 21, 2008
  14. Five candidates turned up last night; David Hvistendahl, Mary Rossing, Paul Hager, James Schlichting, Lee Lansing. Eduardo Wolle sent his apologies as he had to attend to an urgent personal matter and Jon Denison popped in early but didn’t stay. The presentation went well as did the Q&A afterwards.

    Next will be the Ward 3 and At-Large candidates at 6pm, Tuesday Sept 2nd.

    August 22, 2008
  15. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Norm, there is a conflict w/Sept. 2. We’re having the ONLY county commissioner candidate forum I know of at Bridgewater Township Hall in Dundas Tuesday Sept. 2, 7 pm. A couple precincts on the St. Olaf side are in this district, in addition to the townships of Bridgewater, Forest, Webster and Wheatland plus all of Lonsdale.

    These are the candidates:
    Mike Piper (former Bridgewater clerk)
    Jerry Anderson, local developer
    Gary Bruggenthies (Wheatland treasurer?)
    Jeff Docken, farmer in Webster Township

    Everyone welcome.

    August 24, 2008
  16. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Maybe those attending the final forum at The Cow Tuesday night, Sept. 2, will go early at 6 pm so they can fly out to Bridgewater Township for the Dist. 5 county commissioner forum at 7 pm. Precincts 1 and 2 of Ward 3 (St. Olaf side) are included in this district which covers the northwest party of the county. These are the four candidates for Dist. 5:

    Jerry Anderson
    Mike Piper
    Jeff Docken
    Gary Bruggenthies

    There will be more publicity on Dist. 1 (Gillen/Drevlow) and Dist. 3 (Plaisance/Rowan) after the primary on Sept. 9. (See my letter to editor in Saturday, Aug. 30, NNews for details.)

    August 31, 2008
  17. norman butler said:

    The Key and the Cow are cooperating to put on the Candidates at the Cow during October. All five Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm, we will feature one of the five races. Each candidate will give a 5 minute presentation and this will be followed by a moderated Q&A.

    Does anyone know if this conflicts with any other forum/gathering on this matter? The schedule will be:

    Thursday Oct 2nd….2-year At-Large
    Thursday Oct 9th…Ward 2
    Thursday Oct 16th…Ward 3
    Thursday Oct 23rd…4-year At-Large
    Thursday Oct 30th…Mayor

    Tuesday Nov 4th – Election Day

    September 19, 2008
  18. Margit Johnson said:

    The LWV has scheduled a general election forum for local candidates on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7-9 PM in the City Council Chambers, to be cablecast later on NTV.

    That would conflict with your proposed mayoral debate on the same night.

    September 19, 2008
  19. norman butler said:

    Margit, many thanks. We will rearrange …Mayoral at the Cow on Thurs 23rd, 4-year At-Large on Thurs 30th.

    Also, we hope that Bly and Rudd can come to the Cow on Wednesday the 29th.

    We also hereby invite Coleman and Franken on Saturday 1st November.

    We also extend a warm welcome to Obama & McCain on Sunday 2nd November, 6pm at the Cow.

    In all cases, the Cow & The Key cordially invite the candidates. Please pass it on and rsvp.

    September 21, 2008
  20. Sounds great. I look forward to Oct. 9!

    September 21, 2008
  21. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Norm, won’t all local candidates, including 4-yr “at large,” be expected at the Oct. 30 LWV forum?

    September 22, 2008
  22. norman butler said:

    You’re right, Stephanie. Also, Erika Zweifel cannot make the 16th. So, I will think again, and post later today. Any other conflicts…anyone?

    September 22, 2008
  23. norman butler said:

    OK. How’s this:

    Thursday Oct 2nd….2-year At-Large
    Thursday Oct 9th…Ward 3
    Thursday Oct 16th…Ward 2
    Thursday Oct 23rd…4-year At-Large
    Wednesday Oct 29th…Mayor

    Please note the changes for Oct 9th, 16th, 29th.

    Are Bly and Rudd included in the LWV Forum on the 30th. If not can they come to the Cow on the 30th?

    September 22, 2008
  24. I *might* be out of state on the 16th… visiting family. I’ll tell you when my plans are definite.

    September 22, 2008
  25. Betsey Buckheit said:

    I’ll be at the Cow on October 16. I like that The Key and The Cow, both fine downtown institutions, are collaborating.

    In the meantime, Ward 2 voters (click here if you’re not sure if you live in Ward 2) can check out my website:


    September 22, 2008
  26. norman butler said:

    It’s like herding cats. Anyway, here’s the results of polling the candidates (all but 2) regarding their availability for Candidates at The Cow – a cooperation between The Cow and The Key.

    The forums will be hosted jointly by Josh Hinnenkamp (Director of The Key) and Bruce Morlan (of Politics & A Pint) and will consist of a 5-minute presentation by the Candidates followed by a moderated Q&A session. Each forum starts at 6pm.

    Many thanks to those candidates who are willing and able to talk with the citizens at the Cow on the following dates:

    Wed 10/22…… Ward 2 + Ward 3
    Thurs 10/23…. Both At Large
    Wed 10/29……. Mayoral
    Thurs 10/30…. State Representatives

    September 25, 2008
  27. kiffi summa said:

    Uncle Normie also wants YOU to come to Politics and a Pint this Sunday, Oct.12, at 6PM at the COW … because there’s going to be INFO on the MN Constitutional Amendment that’s on the November ballot.
    Constitutional amendments are always controversial, so you can expect the usual “decorum” during the discussion, but you’ll have to be on your best behavior at least part of the time because there will be a very well informed guest speaker who’s prepared to give you all the facts.

    Come prepared to listen FIRST, and then you can argue about whether there should be amendments to the MN Constitution…
    See ‘ya there!

    October 9, 2008
  28. Since I haven’t seen it posted elsewhere, these are the upcoming candidates’ fora:

    10/12: The Northfield East Side Neighborhood Association is having a candidates’ forum at 4:00 p.m. – 5:00, and a social from 5:00 – 6:30 at the First United Church of Christ, 300 Union St. Questions are geared toward the neighborhood’s concerns. Write to northfield.east.side.neighborhood@gmail.com for more information.

    10/22: The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum begins at 8:00 a.m at the Community Resource Bank community room, 1605 Heritage Dr. Questions are geared toward local business and the general community.

    10/22 – 10/30: The Contented Cow is hosting several candidate fora (see Norm’s post above).

    10/30: The League of Women Voters is hosting a candidates’ forum. I don’t have specific details.

    October 11, 2008
  29. Norman Butler said:

    Latest: We had to cancel the State Rep forum on Thursday 30th as Tim Rudd cannot attend. Otherwise see post #28 & #30 above for impending opportunities to hear the candidates.

    Ruth Amerman and Tim from the Key plus Bruce Morlan from Politics & a Pint will moderate the three forums at the Cow and which will be more fluid, dynamic and altogether more interesting than any and all of the other debates and forums evidenced thus far both locally and nationally.

    October 16, 2008
  30. kiffi summa said:

    Norman is to be congratulated for holding the best forums in town, so far. The format is excellent and allows the candidates to discuss a question, back and forth, together, in a way that is comfortable for them, and allows the audience to get a real sense of each person.

    This in such obvious contrast to the Chamber forum yesterday AM ,which had the candidates restricted mostly to 45 SECOND (!) answers, to some very complex questions… and forced most of the candidates into soundbite mode. I’m perplexed by what information anyone gains by such a format. I felt very sorry for all the candidates having to deal with such a difficult situation.

    I would recommend that more people attend the Cow forums, as they are the most informative you’ll find, especially if there’s a candidate whom you don’t know and would like to consider.

    Thanks Norman…

    October 23, 2008
  31. Kiffi: The people I spoke with at last night’s Cow forum agree with you. The format was engaging and allowed a deeper understanding of the candidates’ ideas and motivations.

    Norm and moderators, Bruce and Ruth, are all to be commended for their efforts in informing the voters about the candidates.

    The Chamber of Commerce forum had all 10 candidates while the Cow had only 4 (from Wards 2 and 3), so the Chamber’s format was much more restrictive. At the Chamber, the candidates had 45-60 seconds to answer important questions. It’s a very tight timeframe, but nonetheless it still helps inform voters about the candidates. It forces candidates to be articulate and concise, which are valuable skills!

    October 23, 2008
  32. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks to all who participated in last night’s forum and the compliments from Kiffi and Jerold.
    Just a reminder that tonight at 6pm The Cow will be hosting the 6 At-Large Candidates.

    October 23, 2008
  33. kiffi summa said:

    One additional comment: the *Host with the Most*, to paraphrase a famous Wash.DC hostess’s title, your own Norman Butler, can also be counted on to ask one or two very important and provocative questions of his own.

    October 23, 2008

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