A LOOK AT THE CANDIDATES:
LAST IN A SERIES
By John McLoone
There are two open seats for Hastings City Council, with seven candidates running. The primary election to narrow the candidate pool will take place on Aug. 9, and the final two individuals will be chosen based on number of votes on Nov. 8.
This is the final installment of weekly profiles of the candidates, who are: Joe Balsanek, 340 Crestview Drive
Angie Haus, 1421 Tyler St.
Dean Markuson, 436 Tiffany Drive
Ian T. Martin, 1770 Greystone Road
Dennis Gerald Peine,
120 Ninth St. W
Dave Pemble, 731 W. Fifth St.
Tom Wright, 770 Seventh St. W.
See MARKUSON, Page 5
Dean Markuson Dean Markuson has lived a life of service to his country and community.
A 20year veteran of the military, Markuson was among the first of seven candidates to file to run for one of two atlarge seats on the Hastings City Council.
Markuson is inherently unselfish in life and in service. It’s in his nature to help wherever needed and many times at his personal expense. It’s also the way he’s running his first campaign for public office.
“I would say vote for the best person you think could do the job. If you don’t think I’m the better person, don’t vote for me. Vote for one of the other candidates that will do the job for you and put somebody in city hall that will do the job you want them to do,” he said.
Markuson’s resume of service is impressive. A North Dakota native, he settled in Hastings following his military service and worked for Dakota County and the State of Minnesota for 12 years.
“I came here because Hastings is a great place to raise a family, and there were jobs available. It’s a very good community,” he said. Markuson and his wife, Shirley, have two grown daughters, Ruth and Elizabeth.
When he retired 12 years ago, that’s when Markuson rolled up his sleeves and went to work helping Hastings. He’s a member of the VFW and serves as the organization’s Service Officer. He’s a previous Commander and was a VFW District Commander. He was honored with AllAmerican Commander status by the national VFW.
“It wasn’t because of what I did, it’s because of what the people in the organization did,” he said.
He’s also a member of “every other veteran’s service organization I’m eligible for,” in his words.
In 2009, Markuson purchased a vacant building at 507 Vermillion Street and started the Foss and Swanson service organization. The stated goal of Foss and Swanson: “Supports, serves , recognizes all service members and veterans of all eras and all ages. Crosssector collaboration to synchronize accessible resources. Identify and honor all militaryconnected residents.”
“In 2009, my mother passed away. I took some of her estate and bought that building on Vermillion Street,” he said. Ultimately, he has gifted the building to Rise Up Recovery, an organization that strives to help those in drug abuse recovery.
“I have community service in my blood. My goal is to be a provider for all people and not just veterans and service members, all people,” he said. “It’s where there’s a need. Right now, drugs are an epidemic. It’s really what tears the community apart.”
Markuson’s belief is that his background in community service will make him a good city council member.
“As a Hastings City Council member, you’re a servant of the people,” he said. “One of the reasons I decided to run is that I wanted to continue my service to the community of Hastings in a different role, I thought I’d try as an elected representative.”
The biggest community need he sees is that there’s not affordable housing in Hastings.
“One of the major changes this community needs is affordable housing. Young people can’t afford to live here. You know, if your housing cost is more than 30 percent of your income, how can you afford it? We definitely need more affordable housing within the community and that will energize economic development. It will bring people into the community to live in the community and raise their family here.”
He'd like to see Hastings continue to grow on themes of diversity.
“I believe in diversity because all people are equal. Some of the things that have happened here are sad, but maybe it was time that it came out to light. We need to be diverse with all people being equal and respected,” he said. “We have citizens of the community coming together and we’re moving forward, and the city council and government is backing them.”
Markuson pledges open lines of communication with constituents.
“This city has needs. There are obvious needs, law enforcement, firefighters, those kinds of things, but the city also has to make sure it has proper lines of communication open with everyone in the community. We need to be unified. We don’t need to be divided,” he said. “Our elected officials and staff need to communicate with the community to make common goals, because there’s a lot happening in this community. It’s a busy city, that’s for sure.”
Markuson has adopted the life philosophy of giving back.
“I live by the Thriven philosophy, ‘live generously and give generously.’ I want to live that and make a difference in the community. I want to be unselfish,” he said.