Council gets two new members

PRINCETON – The Princeton City Council will have two new faces come January.
Elected to the City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 8, were Jack Edmonds, the former Mille Lacs County Board member and Princeton Planning Commission member, and Jeff Reynolds, the chairman of the Planning Commission.
The election of Edmonds and Reynolds means an end to the 14-year city council career of Victoria Hallin. Susan Bialka was also unsuccessful in earning a council seat.
Edmonds was the top vote-getter with 941 votes. Reynolds had 812 votes. Bialka, a newcomer to the Princeton political scene, had 718 votes. Hallin finished last with 707 votes.
Edmonds was happy – and confident – that he would be elected to the council. Reynolds achieved his goal of coming in second place.
“If I didn’t think I could win, I wouldn’t have run,” Edmonds said.
“Getting the most votes was a good feeling,” Edmonds added. “The fact that I got a lot of support says something.”
Edmonds said he decided to run for City Council when he heard that six-term Councilor Dick Dobson would not be seeking re-election.
“I had no hidden agenda, no chip on my shoulder, and no axe to grind,” Emonds said.
Edmonds was leading the election when he went to bed on election night based on the small number of votes that came in from the city of Princeton voters in Sherburne County.
“I got up at 4 a.m. to go to work and got the final results off the secretary of state’s website,” Edmonds said.
Reynolds was surprised by the outcome of the election.
“I was glad I won. I was shooting for second place and got it,” Reynolds said. He thought he’d run second to Hallin, however, and not Edmonds.
Reynolds noted that with elections, if you win second, you get the same seat as winning first.
He’s prepared to serve on the council and will turn to his experience as the chairman of the Planning Commission to make him a strong councilor.
“The Planning Commission has been a real useful learning experience,” Reynolds said.
He has learned the roles the Planning Commission and other boards play in the process of city government, he said. Serving on the commission also allowed Reynolds to become accustomed to taking calls from constituents, he said.
Both Edmonds and Reynolds have regularly attended City Council meetings as candidates and attended the regular meeting two days after the election on Nov. 10.
Edmonds, who also spent eight years representing Princeton on the Mille Lacs County Board, said he would attend council meetings and workshops until he is sworn in as a council member in January.
Reynolds has already been intrigued by discussions on property assessments and the rejection of the former tattoo parlor on Rum River Drive at the entrance to Riverside Park. He also wants to work on creating a vibrant downtown in Princeton.
“I look forward to jumping in,” he said of his service on the Princeton City Council.