(Editor’s note: Four candidates — Chad Wurm, Michael McDonough, Ryan Holmgren and Barb Burandt — are running for an open Elk River City Council seat in Ward 3. The top two winners in the Aug. 14 primary election will advance to the general election in November. Click on the name of the candidate to read more.)
by Joni Astrup
Barb Burandt is running for elected office for the first time, although it’s something she’s thought about for awhile.
“As a citizen, I’ve experienced various issues with the council,” she said. “Not that they were all bad. There were many positive things, but some I didn’t agree with them on. I just thought some day, because I am interested in local government, it would be fun to run (for a local office).”
When she learned of an open seat on the Elk River City Council, some day became now.
Burandt grew up on a dairy farm in Anoka County, graduated from Anoka High School and went through nurse’s training. She moved to Elk River more than 40 years ago after marrying David Burandt. They live on a farm that has been in his family for about 100 years.
They have three children and three grandchildren.
Burandt got her bachelor’s degree in nursing in the 1980s and worked as the first Early Childhood Family Education coordinator in Elk River. The position required a degree in education, so she went back to school to get a master’s degree in adult education.
Then, at age 50, she went to law school and graduated from William Mitchell College of Law. Today she works as the quality specialist for Allina home and community services in the hospice program. She also practices law.
“I always think of myself as a nurse who is an attorney,” she said.
She has worked in nursing management for many years, where she has had to set priorities, budget and work with a team to make decisions, and said those are some of the skills she would bring to the job of council member.
She describes herself as more of a listener than a talker and said getting input from the public is very important.
In general, she supports arts, parks and basic services and is interested in topics like buses, bike safety and walking paths and how those things all help people get around the community.
She thinks Elk River’s emphasis on “green” is a good thing, and wants to keep building on that.
She supports economic development and exploring what could be done differently to encourage development. She also wants to make sure that downtown thrives. She wants to preserve historic buildings and the basic nature of downtown, but also grow businesses.
In general, she feels Elk River has been blessed as a city and is in a good position. She said the city has had good administrators and been smart with its money.
She sees some potential challenges ahead for local governments, in part because of the rising cost of services, and believes the city needs to continue to hold down costs and maintain services to the greatest extent possible.