Mike Freiberg, the new representative-elect for District 45B, officially resigned from the Golden Valley City Council during its Dec. 18 meeting. We asked him some questions regarding how he’ll look back on the experience.
What inspired you to run for the city council, and if a particular issue inspired you, were you able to change anything?
When I ran in 2003, the city council was considering changing water systems – a proposal opposed by most residents with whom I spoke. I grew up in Golden Valley and had a background working as a legislative staffer, so I felt that I knew the community and had relevant experience that could make me an effective council member. During my first year on the council, we decided to stay with our current water system and negotiate a favorable contract, so I feel that I was able to make a difference.
Any particular votes or motions you are particularly proud of?
There are several. I already mentioned our decision to keep our current water system. I’m also proud of the smoke-free ordinance we adopted, fiscally prudent budgets that enabled the city to achieve a triple-A bond rating, updating our Comprehensive Plan, creating a domestic partnership registry, maintaining city services such as park and recreation programs during difficult budget times and beginning the process of improving the Douglas Drive Corridor.
What experiences from your time on the council will you take with you to the legislature?
My council experience will be particularly useful in my committee work – particularly in the Government Operations Committee, which has oversight over local government issues, where I will be serving as vice-chair. Speaking more generally, my council experience has given me rich experience working for the common good with people with whom I do not always agree.
If you could do if over, is there anything you would do differently?
There were times when I spoke rather bluntly or was too hasty to send a letter to the Sun-Post criticizing a decision made by my colleagues on the council. While I still believe I have made the right decisions substantively, those sorts of actions generally proved to be counter-productive and did not help my relationship with my colleagues. However, I view them as valuable learning experiences that will help me to get along with 133 new colleagues in the State House and be a more effective advocate for District 45B.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new office, and is there anything you plan to focus on in particular?
The most important goals for the legislature will be fixing structural budget problems and paying back our schools. Based on my committee assignments, I expect to work in-depth on issues affecting state and local government and the environment. I am hopeful that these assignments will help me work for the benefit of both the residents in District 45B as well as the cities themselves – Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, and Robbinsdale.