Infrastructure, community engagement priorities for Roseville council candidates

Two Roseville city council members are up for re-election this year. Seats held by Tammy McGehee and Bob Willmus are set to expire at the end of the year. They are being challenged by newcomer Kaying Thao.

Mayor Dan Roe is running unopposed.

The Review asked candidates to elaborate on the experience they would bring to the council, upcoming challenges the city may face and any priorities they may have if elected.

Tammy McGehee

Tammy McGehee

Kaying Thao

Kaying Thao

Bob Willmus

Bob Willmus

McGehee, 69, is married to Richard, and works part-time as a property manager. She is finishing her first term on the city council, and has a master's degree in English and education from Brown University in Rhode Island.

McGehee says her background as a teacher, corporate manager and researcher gives her the tools she needs to effectively communicate, manage administrative matters and synthesize new ideas as a council member.

She believes the primary challenge Roseville faces is repairing and maintaining crumbling infrastructure while being avoiding "enormous" tax increases. "This is a balancing act requiring careful planning for sustainability and revenue enhancement," McGehee adds.

McGehee says she would like to see the city implement a better civic engagement system in which residents can voice their opinions on new programs and projects. Such a process, she says, will provide the council with a better understanding of residents' needs.

Thao, 36, is the mother of three daughters. She works as a legislative aide in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in education at Hamline University. She also has a master's degree in public and nonprofit administration from Metropolitan State University. Thao currently serves on the city's Human Rights Commission and is a member of the Roseville Area School District School Board. Legally, if elected to the city council, Thao will have to give up her seat on the school board at the end of the year, forfeiting the last year of her board term.

Thao says her experience in the public and nonprofit sectors make her a good candidate for the city council, as well as her high level of involvement in the community.

As for the challenges the city faces, Thao says improving city infrastructure and fostering community engagement are important issues. "Public support is critical in decision making, and we need to always be working on this," she notes.

Her top priorities on the council include environmental sustainability, providing "creative" housing options for residents and promoting economic development.

Willmus, 46, is married to Debby, does real-estate consulting and is a "stay-at-home Dad." He is finishing his first term on the city council, and has a bachelor's degree in real estate and finance from St. Cloud State University.

Willmus says he is an "open-minded listener," and notes he has served on various city commissions and committees over the years.

He names several challenges the city may face in upcoming years, including aging infrastructure, natural resource management, transportation and traffic issues, and senior housing. "I pledge to work with the community and city staff to meet these challenges," Willmus says.

If elected, he plans to work on finding alternative energy solutions, building and maintaining relationships with the local school districts and diversifying the local tax base, among others.

Election Day is Nov. 4. Most polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Find your polling place and sample ballot online at or by phone at 651-266-2171.

Johanna Holub can be reached at or 651-748-7813. Follow her on Twitter @jholubnews.


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