2021 Mayoral Candidates Questionaire – We all have questions?????

We appreciate the efforts of the Ely Branch of the AAUW and the Ely Rotary in putting on Ely’s mayoral candidate forum Thursday, Feb. 18. In such a format we get to see personalities and potential debating skills. But, as in past political debate forums in Ely there just isn’t enough time to get to some important questions that will be facing Ely now and in the future.

The recent Ely mayoral election could be interpreted as a resounding vote for change in Ely’s politics as usual. Maybe we should take this opportunity to make this January’s runoff election count for something more than politics as usual. The only way that we can do that is to have sufficient information to choose the right candidate. If you have a question about a pertinent topic we will get those questions to all the candidates in written form and publish the replies on www.elymn.us where you may respond and ask further questions.

In order to gain sufficient and appropriate information for Ely residents to make informed choices we need to hear from all candidates. Since we do not have the option of the usual face to face question and answer sessions, position statements and rebuttals at a local venue, we will have to try something different. There are plenty of internet and virtual tools we could use such as Zoom of course.

But first we need to think of what information each of use would want and ask the questions necessary to get that information. What questions would you ask? What do you want to know about the running of Ely that would help you choose the Mayoral candidate you would want in office? If you’d like to know, how that works, why it’s done that way, who is in charge, how we can improve, or the typical “They did what?”, now is the time to ask those and any other questions about Ely governance.

We will begin to ask the questions on www.elymn.us/elybuzz  You will find this post there and you are invited to make your comments and ask what ever questions you have about Ely governance. Of course, we ask that your questions be asked in a factual and non-threatening way, please be polite. We will then present these questions to all Ely mayoral candidates via this website and in writing via the Ely Echo and The Timberjay (If they will print them) for the questions to be answered before the coming run-off election. If there is sufficient interest, we will organize a Zoom meeting where we can discuss issues. We will then publish the replies and answers from candidates.

Let your thoughts and questions be known. Also, if you have any questions about the process or suggestions as to how we could make this process better please contact rwatsr@elymn.us or call 218-235-1698


The following questions have been submitted for your response prior to the coming elections. They will appear in this week’s Ely Echo and the Timberjay and are available online at www.elymn.us/elybuzz The questions are also being submitted to you by email.

Please reply at your earliest convenience, directly online or in writing. If in writing, please send to rwatsr@elymn.us  We will publish your answers in both newspapers and on the website.

The purpose of the questions and what was submitted to the newspapers are below:

Last week we asked for questions for our mayoral candidates. We will be asking those questions that might be the most revealing. If not answered, that will also be quite revealing. One of this group of candidates will be our next mayor. It would be great to know how they stand on these matters when we go to the polls, matters that matter to you.

We will ask the questions here, in the local newspapers, and we will send the candidates a copy by email. We will then post their replies in The Echo, in The Timberjay and online at www.elymn.us/elybuzz. We apologize that we are unable to ask all of the thoughtful questions presented. We thank you for the comments you made and the tee-ups to the questions. We have condensed the comments and questions into the following questions. Thanks again, and well done.

  • Why do you want to be mayor?
  • What would you like to accomplish for Ely as mayor?
  • What do you feel are the most pressing issues confronting Ely?
  • What is your vision for Ely’s future, say in 10 to 20 years? Your “ideal” scenario?
  • What are your plans for Ely as more people move into our area in the next 20 years?
  • What are your thoughts and proposed actions on the following subjects?
    • Climate change.
    • Ely’s energy supply and future needs as more people move to Ely.
    • Environmental issues such as clean air and water.
    • Transparency (or lack of) in Ely finances and governance.
    • Ely’s policing policies.
  • Would you lead the council to publicly denounce QAnon and disinformation?
  • For efficiency, why doesn’t Ely, Fall Lake Township and Morris Township combine?
  • What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to date for Ely?
  • Would you implement a policy of publicly reporting the cost and benefits to Ely residents from all trips outside of Ely made by yourself or council members on behalf of the city?
  • Would you ban all open burning, or burning in barrels, in the city of Ely?


Thank you for being a candidate and for informing Ely citizens of your position on these issues.


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