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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Last Night's LWV Debate

Last night the League of Women Voters hosted a candidate forum at the Maplewood Community Center, with all four candidates for Maplewood City Council in attendance. The debate was broadcast live, and also recorded for later rebroadcast.

Each candidate was given the two minutes each for opening and closing statements, and in between answered questions submitted by the audience, with 1 1/2 minutes for each question. Here are the remarks I prepared for my opening and closing statements.

Opening Statement

Good evening. My name is John Nephew, and I'm running for Maplewood City Council. I'd like to thank all of you for attending this forum, and the League of Women Voters for hosting it.

Since you may not know me, I should begin with a quick biography. I grew up in Duluth, and graduated from Carleton College in 1991. I majored in Philosophy with a Concentration in Medieval Studies. I started writing professionally in high school, and used my freelance writing and editing to pay my way through college. Before graduating college I began my publishing company, Atlas Games, which I still run today. Michelle and I were married in 2000, and we moved to our home in Maplewood in 2001.

Creating and running my own business has given me a diverse range of skills. In particular, I would highlight my experience with communication, negotiation, customer service, and finance. These skills directly apply to the responsibilities of a city councilperson.

Most importantly, running my company has honed my ability to acquire new skills, to absorb and analyze information quickly, and react to changing circumstances. I believe that these traits are what best suit me to serve on the city council.

The success I have enjoyed in life also has been motivation for public service. As a small business owner who built a company from scratch into something that can support my family, I take pride in the success of my company. But I also realize that I can't claim all the credit. I wouldn't be where I am without the support of family, teachers, mentors, and many more – even competitors, who challenge us always to do better. And I couldn't be here without the opportunity that America gives each of us to achieve our own potential.

I am at a point in my life where I want to give something back, to ensure that the opportunities that I have enjoyed are available to others now and in the future. That's why I offer myself as a candidate for city council, and ask for your vote so that I have the chance to use my talents for our common good.

Closing Statement

My campaign has had three central themes.

The first is fiscal responsibility. As a business owner, I am well acquainted with financial planning and analysis, and I think it's important that we take a long-term view for the city's budget, rather than swinging from one extreme to another year to year.

My second theme is good government. We need to approach policy decisions by defining a problem, exploring the possible solutions, and building consensus as we make policy decisions. We need to respect and value the professional staff of the city and the talented and diverse volunteers who serve on citizen boards and commissions.

My third theme is pride in Maplewood. We've been in the news a lot over the past 18 months, and most of the coverage hasn't been flattering. While there have been unpleasant truths behind the headlines, we Maplewood residents understand a deeper truth about our community: that Maplewood really is a great place to live. Let's come together to fix our problems and reclaim the pride Maplewood so well deserves.

This is a very important year for our city. I urge all residents to go to the polls on November 6th, and I ask that you give me your vote and the opportunity to serve.

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