City Council candidates share priorities for Canton

Mayor Donivee Johnson filed for re-election in Canton as did council member Charlie Warner. The other incumbent councilor whose term expires, Ross Ducket, didn’t file for re-election. Carl Ernst, a former council member, and Jason Magnuson will join Warner on the ballot for the two open council seats.

Warner is a journalist and musician in southeastern Minnesota, having lived in Canton for 33 years. He and his wife, Karla, have a daughter, Megan. He is a member of the Canton Scotland Presbyterian Church, where he serves on the church council. He has served on the City Council for a total of eight years and is a member of the Canton Historical Society. He served on the Canton Fire Department for 25 years.

Magnuson is an industrial painter with Harmony Enterprises. He and his wife, Dawn, have three children, Jordan, Nathan and Brianna. He has been a member of the Canton Fire Department for 10 years, and serves as a department officer since 2015. He and his family are also members of Henrytown Lutheran Church.

Ernst is a welder at Harmony Enterprises, beginning his 40th year there on Nov. 5. He and his wife, Virginia, are “empty nesters” having raised their children in the community. He is a member of the Catholic church and volunteers throughout the community, helping with Santa Day, volunteering at Bar Bingo and “helping out wherever we can if anyone needs a helping hand.”

What has motivated you to file for this office?

Warner: The biggest thing is getting some sort of economic development in town — from one-or-two-person “mom and pop” businesses or even bringing in some type of industry. I was brought up in a family where my parents urged us to become involved in the community in any way we could, to not sit on the sidelines, but help out in anyway we can. I don’t have any specific agenda, but it’s more just trying to help the community. I think Canton has a totally excellent city staff and I’ve enjoyed working with them, as well as working with the current city council. We are all pretty much on the same page, don’t have any in-fighting or factions.

Magnuson: Everybody wants to complain about things, but few people do anything. I want to be part of the process to instigate change in the community. I want to improve my community. People always have ideas of how they want their community to change, expand, grow or be perceived. I am no different. But I want to be apart of the process that makes that happen. I am someone who likes to know the how and the why of things. I am running for office because I believe I can make a difference in my community.

Ernst: I served on the council for 12 years, had a term off and am now seeking another term. It would be like stepping back into the position. I think having that experience makes for the best reason to seek this position again. Having worked with the people that are current members, I feel I can step back into this office and make good, sound decisions for the city. I plan on doing a good job for Canton if elected.

Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office.

Warner: I’ve been a journalist for 35 years, and know from covering city council meetings, school boards and county board meetings how government entities work. I feel I have a unique insight into government workings.

Magnuson: I have the ability to look at things from two sides — and realize there can be good and bad sides of any issue. Decisions can also have environmental impacts, community, financial, implications. I’m able to look at all aspects to see how a decision affects other people or the city in general.

Ernst: I have 12 years of experience — that’s the bottom line. I did it for 12 years and I have the experience to step back into the game and continue in that capacity. I’m willing to serve the community.

Name your top priority for your city and how you would like to see the city address that issue.

Warner: Economic development. I’d like to see the city keep trying to get more businesses into town. I’d especially like to see that we work on developing the downtown again.

Magnusson: I don’t have any pre-determined agendas. I want to be a part of the council and to leave my community better than the way I found it.

Ernst: I would like to see some more business in town. Would like to see the Pub reopen. It’s a small town and too many of our small towns are dying. It’s great to live in a small town and we just need to do something to keep Canton thriving. It’s pretty simple. There aren’t any specific big issues that come to mind, but we’re going to deal with things as they come up and keep the town healthy and keep it on the map.