Mayor, two council seats up in Maplewood Nov. 5

Holly Wenzel
Review staff

The Nov. 5 Maplewood city election pits a former mayor against a former legislator for leadership of the city, and a number of new candidates against a longtime council member for a pair of council seats.

Each candidate was asked via email to answer questions about what programs she would like to add, expand or cut in Maplewood and what she feels qualifies her for the elective office.

Mayoral race

Diana Longrie

Diana Longrie is running again for mayor, after holding the position from 2006-09.

Longrie, 55, is married to Kevin Berglund and has raised two sons. She is a solo attorney at Longrie Law Office “located in the Heart of Maplewood’s Gladstone Neighborhood.” She holds a juris doctorate from Hamline University of Law

Longrie says she doesn’t want to cut any programs in Maplewood.

She would like to “enact protective measures to ensure Maplewood parks and neighborhood preserves can not be developed by Developers for commercial or residential purposes;  enact a formal Adopt-a-Neighborhood Park Program; enact a volunteer program to assist seniors, disabled and others in need to rake, snow shovel, repair and tidy their properties.”

Further, she would like to “expand the Human Rights Commission to include the duties of reviewing non-criminal civilian complaints of alleged police misconduct; when written notice to a neighborhood is required due to development, applications or ordinance, expand the notice distance to 1000 ft.”

Longrie points to her 2005 election as the first woman mayor of Maplewood and her experience working on neighborhood issues with citizens and business owners.

“I voted to 1.) hire more patrol officers to protect and serve;   2.) stop bulldozers from clear cutting Fish Creek;  3.) achieve greater openness and transparency by cablecasting all city council/commission meetings;  4.) include residents in the decisions made at City Hall;  5.) require fiscal accountability;  6.) protect and preserve neighborhood open spaces & parks from development; 7.) appoint applicants with diverse viewpoints to citizen commissions; 8.) reach out to small business owners.”

“My commitment:  Improve medical life-saving response times. We must be accountable to the taxpayers – residents and businesses alike.  Let’s build upon what we love about Maplewood, our geographic location, the strength of our neighborhoods and strategically position Maplewood to meet the employment, demographic and growth trends of the future.”

Longrie adds that she has been voted one of Maplewood’s most notable women by the Maplewood Historical society.

Nora Slawik

Nora Slawik, 50, is divorced and has an adult son and a teen. She is a director of education at a nonprofit autism organization and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota. She previously served as a state representative, in 1997-98 and 2001-12 for a district that covered the southern leg of Maplewood and city of Oakdale, being elected on the DFL side of the ticket. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the Humphrey School, University of Minnesota.

Slawik lists as priorities a desire to “Create Jobs, Support Economic Prosperity: A vital business community is important to the health of Maplewood. In my time at the state House of Representatives, I worked with business, government and community leaders to bring prosperity and positive change to our area. I will continue work with 3M, St. John’s Hospital, and small business-owners to grow and strengthen our local economy.”

She also lists “Strengthen Safety Services: My top priority is to fight for the highest quality safety services of police, fire and emergency response from north to south for every resident.

Slawik also pledges to “Preserve, Protect Parks and Open Spaces: Our parks are essential to our quality of life. As a legislator I partnered  with the city, county and funders to help secure the Fish Creek Natural Area Greenway, which preserves 62 acres in south Maplewood. As a Maplewood Parks and Recreation Commissioner, I know that our parks are part of Maplewood’s natural wealth, are essential to our quality of life, and are our legacy to our children.”

As her qualifications and experience, Slawik points to 19 years living in Maplewood and her seven terms as a state representative.

Slawik has also been a member of the Maplewood Parks and  Recreation Commission.

“As I am out meeting with residents of our beautiful city, I hear many concerns about city services including public safety, street assessments, enforcement of ordinances and civility in our City Council meetings. As Mayor, I will be committed to fairness, opportunity, and putting Maplewood residents first. I will bring strong, reasonable leadership to our City Council and will listen to the concerns of  all Maplewood residents, working through issues to a fair resolution.

“As the public face of our city I will be a leader who will make us proud to say that we live in Maplewood. I understand how to collaborate with community partners to find solutions. I have been publicly endorsed by dozens of business, labor, elected and community leaders.”

City Council — two will be elected

Marylee Abrams

Marylee Abrams, 60, is divorced and is an attorney/partner with Abrams & Schmidt LLC. She holds a juris doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law.

Abrams says, “My vision for Maplewood is that we will be a City of excellence, where we are known for the quality of our city services, the friendliness of our neighborhoods, and the prosperity of our businesses.  When elected, I will weigh each City program in regards to my vision, and make my decisions based on whether it helps achieve that long-range vision.  Good decisions in City government are based on careful study and review, and are not made as campaign promises.”

As far as her qualifying experience, she says, “I have been a practicing labor attorney for 30 years, and am very familiar with City government.  I have earned the reputation as a hard-worker and a tireless advocate for clients, and will do the same for the citizens of Maplewood.  I am a good listener, solid decision-maker, and respectful professional.  I have no hidden agendas and want what is best for Maplewood.  I have a unique skill set developed during my career as an attorney.  I believe my strong problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and creative thinking would be an asset as a member of the Maplewood City Council.

Margaret Behrens

Margaret Behrens, 50, has been married to James for 31 years and is a program counselor at LifeWorks, Inc. She is a graduate of North High School and has studied the paralegal profession, business management, public administration, psychology and human services at Century College and the University of Minnesota.

Among her goals Behrens lists “Affordability for taxpayers. Improved life- saving emergency response times & essential city services. Sustainable businesses & sustainable jobs are needed to grow our hometown economy, to lessen the burden of the taxpayers. We must work down our debt and strike a line on city spending. The taxpayers are not banks.

“Maplewood needs an experienced public servant with a positive record of policy making, budgeting and strategic planning. Including experienced representation to serve on our City Council.”

Behrens says of her experience, “I will help launch Maplewood into the future using my professional experience as a business manager. My unique style of management has proved extremely successful on a regional & county wide basis in my two terms in elected office at the Ramsey Conservation District. I will make a positive difference in Maplewood.”

She adds, “I’m a ‘lifelong’ Maplewood resident, wife, grandmother, taxpayer, & homeowner....I have a lifetime of positive public service experience. I am working for a positive new beginning for Maplewood. People, prosperity, & positive results for the future is what we deserve.”

Rebecca Cave

Rebecca Cave declined to provide her age or family relationships; when running for election in 2011, she listed her age as 42 and said she and husband George had five children. She works at the Office of the State Surgeon as a Medical Care Coordinator and holds a bachelor’s degree from Capella University. Cave previously served on the council from 2006-08 and was re-elected in 2011.

On her priorities, Cave says, “I think the City of Maplewood currently offers a wide variety of programs for its citizens. While I do not advocate cutting any programs, there are always new, creative, and inventive programs we can offer our citizens. Some ideas are; expansion of our senior programs, enhanced use of the MCC classrooms, stronger programs for our small business community members and increasing our recycling program with this use of larger carts. (Vender supplied) I welcome all programming ideas our citizens have and would welcome hearing from you.”

Cave lists as her qualifications “I am a strong advocate for the Permanent Protection of our Maplewood Parks and Public Open Spaces. I am also a strong supporter of business retention and creation in Maplewood and I do not and have not supported our council voting to put small family businesses out of business by entering into contracts with larger national companies. (Garbage Haulers) I’m also not in favor of our city purchasing thousands of residential recycling carts!  I have a strong commitment to Public Safety and will continue to support our Police and Fire with the necessary means to maintain a superior level of service.”

Kathleen Jeunemann

Kathleen “Kathy” Juenemann is 67 and married to Greg. She has been on the Maplewood City Council for three terms and is seeking her fourth. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and secondary education from the College of St. Catherine, now St. Catherine University.

Juenemann lists her priorities beginning with parks. “We need to upgrade the equipment/facilities in our aging neighborhood parks. I believe we can better maintain/expand our recreation programs by co-operating/sharing with neighboring communities. The  method by which we arrange these projects will be determined in 2014 as a result of the work of the Parks Task Force and the city Parks and Recreation Commission and the results of the current parks survey.”

She adds, “We have intensified our efforts in economic sustainability with the establishment and increasing role of our Housing and Economic Development Commission and the reinstatement of the Community Development Director position. These actions will enable us to increase our ability and focus in the development and redevelopment communities.  We now have renewed ability to be a strong presence in development and land use conversations.

“I am committed to maintaining or increasing, if necessary,  the number of qualified personnel in Police and Fire-EMS Departments as determined by department management.”

Also, she says, “We must continue to move forward as leaders in the areas of environmental /natural resources protections and green practices (recycling, alternative energy sources, green building standards, etc.)”

As far as her qualifications, she says, “Two characteristics qualify me for re-election to city council:  history and experience.

“I have lived in Maplewood most of my life;  my father was a Maplewood Trustee (Council member), 1960-67.  Prior to my election to city council, I was a community activist for 21 years - in areas of crime prevention, recycling, open space preservation,  public safety dispatching, etc.  I also served on the Police/Civil Service Commission, 1999-2001.

“In my years on the city council, I have been diligent, thorough, and dedicated to researching all available information and investigating all options necessary to vote for what I believe is most beneficial for the greatest number of residents. And I have never missed a city council meeting.”

Polling places will be open from 7 am. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5; go to for more information. To locate your precinct, call Ramsey County Elections at 266-2171 or go to finder.

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