by LAWSON ROBINSON
Ann Peterson is a current Rochester city council member and is seeking re-election in November. She is a 30 year Rochester resident and real estate broker, owner of her own company, and is a licensed mortgage loan officer.
“In real estate they say, ‘location, location, location.’ In city government, it is about balancing finances, balancing economic growth, and balancing generational lifestyles,” Peterson says.
When asked about what she wants to see changed in Rochester, Peterson’s response was simple. “So many things are intertwined on the local level. My number one goal for Rochester is for the city to become a proactive city, not a reactive city. That means looking at the whole picture, how everything is going to play a part. All the people that are supposed to be on the same page to keep the city together should be on the same page. Planning and carrying out these plans and budgeting properly with no last minute spending.”
Peterson wants to properly represent the hard-working citizens of Rochester. “If I am re-elected, my role and responsibility would be to continue representing the resident taxpayers and businesses that make our community great and protect their financial investments. As a council member finishing up my second year I have been honored to serve the residents and businesses and to be their voice for the concerns they want represented and addressed.”
Peterson has been active at the county, state, and national level, including four years of planning experience, and serving as secretary for the Rochester City Beautiful Commission. She was formerly employed by the Public Works Department in Boulder, Colorado, and has now served two years as a member of the Rochester City Council. She is also a board member with the Rochester Rotary and continues to serve for almost four years as an Advisor at ACE High School.
The desire to be a part of local government has been with Peterson since she was in high school. “I really feel this education and involvement sets me apart and for the past eight years I have shown the necessary skills and tools required to ask the questions, understand the future challenges, and be prepared to fairly and compassionately represent this community. Our community needs to prosper.”
As a member of city council, Peterson wants to focus on the future of Rochester, as she believes it will continue to grow as a city. “We should be preparing for extra usage of our resources, roads, infrastructure, schools, traffic, and public utilities. The focus of city council should be to work closely with the administration to make sure our finances are transparent. We search for ways to improve our bottom line without jeopardizing our public safety and burdening the residents.”
While Peterson wants to make sure that city council is handling current affairs, she also believes there is great importance in looking to the future. Over the past 10 years, Rochester has grown and there are more residential spaces being developed which takes away from the traditional housing market and puts a strain on the existing green space. Instead of resisting the new residential developments, Peterson believes that city council should work with the developers to get the best outcome for everyone involved, to do what is best for the land and fully understand the impact.
“I’m afraid if we continue to focus on immediate prospects, we will overspend and get ourselves in more trouble and I feel that is where we can no longer be,” Peterson says.
She stresses the idea of inclusivity in Rochester. “You cannot grow and continue being a successful city if you are not having all of the generational lifestyles in a community. To be successful long-term is to be a city that has something for everyone. You can’t just bring in stores and other businesses that people want, you have to bring in the intangible things you can’t touch. This means bringing in long-term jobs that attract young people, and bringing a certain type of lifestyle to Rochester that respects our heritage.”
The League of Women Voters, Oakland Area Chapter, will be hosting a Candidate Forum in Rochester on Monday, October 30 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Rochester’s City Hall. Residents are strongly encouraged to attend the forum, ask questions, and learn about each of the candidates.