Monday, September 24, 2007

Garner Moffat for St Cloud City Council

I'd be negligent in my blogging duties if I did not post something about Garner Moffat, and his St Cloud City Council run.

Garner, a student at St Cloud State, is one of the most gifted students and activists I have ever met.

I met Garner while he was the chair of the Neighborhood University Community Coalition, NUCC. As the Student Body President, I worked with Garner on many of the issues that were important to the residents of area.

Garner was, and still is, a true leader. We walked the streets on numerous occasions, working to settle disputes, or to solve a problem before it became evident.

That's why Garner will make a great City Council member.

He's proactive. He gets out amongst the people and gains a great sense of what the real issues are and works tirelessly to solve them.

The SCSU Chronicle has a good story about him this week as well.

Check it out!

Four years ago, Garner Moffat, an SCSU student, ran for St. Cloud City Council and lost, but this fall, he is running again with more experience and community involvement."

I was 21-years-old when I ran last time," Moffat said. "So, it was a challenge to be able to show that as a young person I was more qualified than the incumbent who'd already been in the office for four years."

Moffat will graduate from SCSU in the spring with a bachelors degree in community development.

While growing up in St. Cloud, Moffat got frustrated watching the evening news.

"It seemed like things didn't make any sense to me, and people were making really bad decisions," he said.

He began following political issues closely. Knowing he couldn't do anything on the federal level, Moffat focused on state and local issues.

At the age of 18, he began attending city council meetings on a weekly bases.

"I saw the same problems at the local level, at least, to a lesser degree," Moffat said. "I realized that there was an opportunity for me to actually get involved and be able to help things out and make a change on the local level."

Moffat originally attended St. Cloud Technical College for computer networking.

He credits his degree change and transfer to SCSU to faculty member Aspasia Rigopoulou-Melcher, associate professor of community studies at SCSU.

Moffat had been attending all of the City Comprehensive Plan meetings when Rigopoulou-Melcher saw his ideas and took an interest in him.

"I was at one of the meetings and had spoken up about separating out the economic differences between downtown and the east side, which was kind of a controversial topic," Moffat said. "I had drawn out maps showing some of the differences and how traffic could be rerouted through the area to benefit the commercial districts and the overall transportation systems in the city. I was talking to an organizer, when she came over to talk to me. Turned out she was a professor here in the community development department."

Rigopoulou-Melcher asked Moffat if he had a degree in community development and where he had gotten it. Moffat informed her that he did not and had no idea what community development was exactly.

"And I said, 'well no, I just do this for fun,'" Moffat said.

Rigopoulou-Melcher had Moffat come visit her at SCSU where she told him more about the program, which he later enrolled in."She probably had the largest influence on my specifics within the Community Development field," Moffat said of Rigopoulou-Melcher.

Moffat has been involved in many different boards and organizations. They include being a founding member and former chair of the St. Cloud Neighborhood Coalition, former chair of the City Charter Commission, former chair of the Neighborhood University Community Council, board member of the St. Cloud Historical and Neighborhood Preservation Association and a member of the South Side Neighborhood Association.

"I've also been studying community development here at State, so I've gotten the formal background and know how to make decisions to guide the planning of a city," Moffat said. "I feel that I have a good base for what is needed for this Ward. I work downtown, which is part of this Ward. I've lived in this Ward my entire life, and I've seen things from a renters perspective and then last year I bought a house, so now I can see things from an owners perspective. I feel I've got a good basis of the different constituencies within the neighborhood."

One of Moffat's most important issues is neighborhood based planning.

He believes that having active neighborhood organizations will help create a sense of belonging and ownership in their neighborhood.

The organizations would also help make some decisions that guide their neighborhood.

Moffat has talked with some students already, but his campaigning will increase on campus in October.

He feels that the student vote is very important, not only for himself, but for the students themselves.

"Last time I ran, only about 4 people voted at Atwood Center," Moffat said. "It's disappointing because students don't take any sense of ownership in this city. They don't think about the fact that they're here nine months out of 12. It has a really big impact on their day-to-day life, like what types of jobs they have, how they get paid, where stop lights are, how many speeding tickets they get, just everything they do in their everyday life. There are decisions behind those and people are making them."

Moffat is running against David Masters for an open seat in Ward 1. The elections are on November 6.

For more information about Moffat and his platform, visit

Go Garner!

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