Posted by Jenifer Loon


Irene Kelly served as moderator for today’s program, which was a forum featuring the two candidates running to be Eden Prairie’s next mayor, Brad Aho and Ron Case.  Our current mayor, Nancy Tyra Lukens is not seeking re-election.  Both Aho and Case are current city council members, mid-term in their service, so they will both be serving in Eden Prairie City leadership regardless of the outcome of the election, with one as mayor and the other continuing as a city council member.   

The forum began with each candidate offering an opening statement.  Brad Aho was first elected to the Eden Prairie City Council in 2004.  He has lived in Eden Prairie for nearly 30 years, and Brad and his wife Bev have three children and two grandchildren.  Brad is an electrical engineer who works in the health care technology field.  Brad cited a dramatically reduced rate of budget and tax growth, as well as the honor of being named as #1 Best City in America and one of the best beach towns in the U.S. as evidence that Eden Prairie is a well-governed city.  One of Brad’s priorities on the council was to clean up Round Lake to make it safe for swimming.  This has been accomplished, as well as substantial improvements to the adjacent park.  Brad is running to make a great city even better, by utilizing technology to reduce service delivery charges.  He wants to encourage thoughtful development, including a mix of housing, to keep Eden Prairie a #1 city.  Brad was voted “Best of the Best” City Council Member for the SouthWest Metro Area, Chairs the 494 Corridor Commission, and services on the board of SW Transit.  Brad’s focus, if elected mayor, would be on things you elect a city leader to do—police, fire protection, parks—things that give citizens a better life.

Ron Case noted, in beginning his remarks, that he and Brad were running on the same kind of record, both serving on the Council for an amazing town.  Ron stated that on the topic of parks, police, and potholes, there really is not much difference between his and his opponent’s priorities.  Case believes the difference between he and Brad is in their visions for the city.  Ron Case wants to focus on global climate change and positioning Eden Prairie to be part of the larger conversation of how climate change affects all of us.  He wants Eden Prairie city buildings to be “off the grid” by 2040 and using all electric vehicles by 2030.  Ron has been married to wife Kathie for 20 years, and their four children all attended Eden Prairie Public Schools where Ron taught 6th grade for many years.  Retired from teaching, Ron is a trainer for United Healthcare.  Ron said his children and grandchildren are what make seeking elected office worthwhile, and he wants to be a leader in environmental initiatives, transportation and reducing gun violence.

The candidates them moved into the question and answer portion of the forum.  The questions ranged from the subject of hyper-partisanship to what steps the city could, or should take to stem gun violence.  On several questions, the candidates offered similar ideas and suggestions, such as emphasizing the need for affordable senior housing and a range of activities to keep Eden Prairie viable for senior citizens as our community ages, and support for keeping the city municipal liquor stores.  On others, there were differences of opinions.  Case would seek to have Eden Prairie move the legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21, while Aho believes this decision should be made at the state-wide level, not city by city.  The topic of the proposed SWLRT elicited different points of view.  Case believes the SWLRT is the largest economic boom to the area in over 40 years and is important to encourage millennial to move to Eden Prairie, while Aho expressed concerns about the capital construction costs of over $2 billion and the ongoing maintenance figure for the line—a number he has sought but never received.  When asked about their leadership styles, Ron Case emphasized relationships and developing a connectedness to constituents.  Brad Aho cited his skills in analyzing problems and finding solutions, without biasing the process. On the topic of what the city can do to protect students from shootings, Case expressed a desire to change city zoning laws to zone gun stores out of certain areas (such as 500 feet away from churches, schools, and residences), although he acknowledged this action hasn’t been shown to prevent or reduce gun violence.  Aho noted that it is unlikely we will have more gun stores seeking to locate in Eden Prairie.  The new Scheels store being constructed will sell guns, but the owner has provided assurances about their sales practices, and Aho said the mayor and council will work with the school board members on matters of school safety. 


November 1st – Camp Enterprise.  Rotarians John Crudele and Aaron Glass will be involved in putting on this amazing opportunity for high school students interested in business and entrepreneurship.

Happy Fives
Elaine Larabee noted her son, Joe Larabee, has reached the age of 21.  Happy Birthday, Joey (from your relieved mother)!
Ron Case - Mayoral Candidate
Kiersten Case - Guest of Ron Case
Matt Carpenter - Past member
Judit Amaros-Marin - Exchange Student
Sienna Miller - Summer Exchange Student
Andy Tan and Molly Zeller - Student Interns