Zack Liebl for Mayor
Mayor in MN http://www.zacklieblformayor.com
509 6th Street SW
Primary Election Date: 2014-08-12 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I was born/raised in the Willmar area. I am home school graduate and participated in the PSEO program offered through Ridgewater College. After graduating high school I completed my AA degree from Ridgewater. From there I attended St. John’s University and received my BA degree in Political Science in 2010.
At the age of 17, I decided to enlist in the Army National Guard as a combat engineer. In 2008 I received an ROTC scholarship to attend at St. John’s University. As a cadet in the ROTC program I took on many roles, such as the battalion logistical officer and the battalion intelligence officer. I received my commission as an officer in 2010 and assumed the role of Platoon Leader with the 850th Horizontal Engineering Company. In 2012 I graduated from Engineer Officer School at Ft. Leonard Wood and during this past year I have served as the Company Commander for the 850th Rear Detachment. As commander I am responsible for each soldier’s success and training, and also the company’s assets.
In 2012 I took a bold move and ran as the Independence Candidate for the MN House of Representatives in District 17B. Noticing that our political atmosphere had become so bitter and stagnant, I wanted to bring a positive forward-thinking message and an approach of creating collaborations, not divisions.
In 2013, I had the privilege to work under a grant for Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota. I was hired to re-develop their volunteer program, work on family services programs, broaden Habitat’s impact and visibility within our community and assist with the implementation and sustainment of Habitat’s home repair program, A Brush With Kindness.
In July 2013 I became the Outreach Coordinator for the Willmar Community Owned Grocery (COG). The COG is a region-wide cooperative that will bring a full-service grocery store to Willmar. The store will bring more food options to our community with a focus on supporting our local growers and producers, and the COG will help broaden food education within our community.
I strongly believe in community involvement for those that have the time and energy. I have been placing my energies in various groups throughout our community. I currently am involved with the following:
o The Barn Theatre Board of Directors-Executive Board Member
o Willmar Rotary Club
o Technical Academies of Minnesota Interim Board Member
o Vision 20/40 “More Things To Do” Committee Member
o Willmar Downtown Development- Economic Restructuring Committee Chair
o Willmar Area Chamber Next Member
Why am I running?
My perspective and passion is best summed up by the West Central Tribune when I was privileged to be recognized as one West Central Minnesota's “5 Under 40” this past December. The Tribune stated, “Whether in politics or in his involvement with local organizations, Liebl strives to make a difference in the community that means so much to him, and the place that he calls home.”
Willmar is my home, and it is at a turning point. Either we will become a great example for other rural communities to follow, or we will diminish as a region center. This community is one of the most diverse communities in outstate Minnesota (nearly 30% of the community consists of minority population). We need to be embracing the diversity coming to our town and the next generation. The "good ol' boys club" is not the way of the future for true progress to take place. We need to learn as a community to embrace each other and work together for the betterment and strengthening of our community.
In 2013 we had a community wide effort, Vision 20/40, to see where we want to go from here. It contained 4 key findings, with one of which being the next generation needs to step-up and help move us forward. Because of that finding I had people across the community from almost every 'group' encouraging me to run. I agreed to it. It is an open race with no incumbent. There is a stark contrast between myself and my opponent. I want to bring progress, positivity, and new/fresh ideas to the table.
1- Economic Development and Continued Growth: As a regional center we need to continue to work together to help develop our community and create a growth friendly environment. As a city we need to work with the business community to expand and diversify our industry and retail. All players should be brought into the discussion to work on new policies that will encourage growth. Business leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Commission, Willmar Area Multi-Cultural Business Center, educators and Ridgewater College, the Health Care Industry, Kandiyohi County, and the City can all come together to work on policies that will help expand each field, look at infrastructure and needs, and help build the blue prints for continued growth. Being the Chair of Willmar Downtown Development Economic Committee it has been great being able to be a part of developments in downtown. For example, I was able to take my role with the Barn Theatre to help move us to sell a historic building to Preservation Alliance. The plan was to tear down the building for parking, however, by bringing in key players the building will be preserved and will become a brew house and a restaurant featuring local foods.
2- Embracing Our Divers Population and the Next Generation: Our city consists of nearly 30% minority population. This is a huge population that are business owners and employees in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. They are major contributors to our tax base and have helped to strengthen our community. We need to be including our diverse population when considering appointments to boards, commissions, and committees as they become available. Their input is necessary for us to help build our future as a city. Being a part of the next generation allows me to connect better with my age group to take on key roles. Also, being young and open-minded it has proven that the minority population is responding to my candidacy in a huge manner.
3- Affordable Housing and Housing Development: Housing is a subject we need to be continually looking at. A community may have great jobs available but if there is nowhere for an employee to live, that person would less likely take that job. Every person should have a decent, safe, and affordable place to call home. The city should be looking at new development policies that will encourage developers that will come to Willmar in order to bring us more housing, and to include development of homes to suit larger families. Also, we should be bringing organizations like the HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) into the conversation. Having worked at Habitat for Humanity it has opened my connections and resources available out there that our city needs to be looking at.
My DFA Values
My campaign values are 'Leadership. Respect. Vision.,' which I believe are fairly hand-in-hand. The city of Willmar seems to have lost respect for individuals and for our own community. My campaign is encircled with the idea of positivity and progress are what we need to move our city forward. A community is not the buildings, streets, and parks; but is rather the people of the city and the opportunities the people make for others. My mission is to ensure every individual that lives, works, and plays in Willmar knows that they can depend on each other and that we are all in this together. All of my campaign material is focused, not only on how good we are now, but on our potential to be great. This city as so many hard working and talented people that when we come together we can do great things and be that icon for other cities to follow. We don't want to be left in the dust, we want to be the ones creating that trail for others to follow and emulate.
My Campaign is People Powered!
First, this is a non-partisan race, however, being an independent and common knowledge of my opponent being very conservative it has open many doors for this campaign. I have made sure to bring individuals in on my team that are from the 'Moderate Republican groups' to individuals from the 'Liberal Democrat' groups. They have been able to get me access to many individuals and groups for speaking engagements, fundraising, etc...
Secondly, being from the younger generation and 25 years old, I have been able to tap into many people from the 17-35 year old groups. People from my generation know and understand that we need to look at progressive approaches in order to find the best solutions. Also, by including individuals from our minority populations it has allowed us to receive input and ideas of how to engage and encourage involvement from them.