Port Authority Chair Ralph Rauterkus is running for Red Wing City Council’s at-large seat in the upcoming election.
Rauterkus has an extensive leadership background in Red Wing, from the beginning of his leadership positions on the Planning Commission, Riverfront Trail Committee to his several years on the City Council and the Port Authority.
“When I first started on this leadership journey, I took a Red Wing leadership class that helped get me more involved, since I was commuting regularly at the time I felt somewhat disconnected from the city and I wanted to change that,” he said.
Rauterkus has lived in Red Wing for 36 years. His wife Mary Rauterkus was born and raised in Red Wing and the two moved here to start their family.
“We felt it was the ideal community to raise our children and now we are fortunate to be able to watch our grandchildren grow up here too,” Rauterkus said.
Besides his experience in leadership and local government, Rauterkus has over 40 years of experience in high-tech manufacturing. He is a senior director of supply chain at Polar Semiconductor in Bloomington.
“As a member of the executive management team at Polar Semiconductor I have a thorough understanding of finance, budgeting and personnel issues that are important for a council member to know,” he said.
Rauterkus plans to use both his civic experience and his experience from the private sector if elected to the city council. With 18 years of experience in the civic arena, Rauterkus is confident that he has the abilities to face any challenges presented to the city.
From his time on the council in previous years, Rauterkus has experience dealing with issues that may arise again.
“When I came onto council in 2008 and 2009 that is exactly when the recession had hit, so we spent the first two years cutting budgets and now we are kind of back to the same position with inflation hitting, so it is an interesting situation,” he said.
Rauterkus believes his negotiating skills will also help him if elected to the at-large council seat. During his time on city council previously, this is something he utilized when working on projects and discussing issues with other council members and citizens.
Priorities for Rauterkus include public safety with nuclear waste and riverfront revitalization. Rauterkus believes that police, fire and public works needs to be well staffed and prepared for emergencies at the nuclear plant.
Along the same lines, Rauterkus wants to focus on the removal of nuclear waste that is stored on Prairie Island.
“The biggest long-term public safety issue that we have is the removal of nuclear waste stored within the city. The city has made great strides with the state legislature and the Public Utilities Commission in their understanding of the extraordinary costs associated with being a host community of a nuclear plant,” Rauterkus said.
“The city must continue to work with Xcel Energy and the Prairie Island Indian Community to hold the state and federal agencies accountable to remove the nuclear waste,” he continued.
Another project Rauterkus hopes to focus on if elected is creating a strong downtown and increasing downtown housing. Another aspect of the downtown revitalization is the implementing quiet zones with Canadian Pacific Rail.
“One of the key aspects of downtown development is implementing quiet zones and we have worked with CP Rail to do this and we aren’t far away from completing that, as a Port Authority member and if elected I want to push that forward,” he said.
Rauterkus wants to continue pushing Red Wing forward and creating foundations for a strong city for years to come.
“When I previously served the city council, what excited me was doing things to position the city for a better tomorrow. I love engaging citizens to envision the city’s big picture for the common good, then working with staff to get things done,” he said.
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