Candidate forum showcases race for Albert Lea mayor

(ABC 6 News) – Candidates vying for Albert Lea mayor and several city council positions participated in a forum Wednesday night.

The event was the third and final candidate forum ahead of the November 8 election hosted by the Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce.

Mayoral candidates Ryon McCamish and Rich Murray looking to take over for longtime mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr., who is not seeking re-election this term.

Murray has served on the Albert Lea city council for 6 years and has lived in the city for nearly 40 years, saying his longtime experience will serve the city well.

McCamish has lived in Albert Lea for 36 years, his entire life, and said he hopes to bring a younger generation’s perspective to city leadership.

“I want to see this community grow. I want to see it prosper and the only thing on my agenda is that I want each one of you and your families to be successful. That’s what I want to do in this position,” said Rich Murray.

“I decided to run because I wanted to give the younger generation a voice. I wanted to offer some new ideas, I wanted to help modernize Albert lea because I’ve seen all of the ups and downs of this town throughout the years and I want growth,” McCamish said. 

Both candidates were asked whether the city should adopt odd and even parking restrictions during winter months, they also discussed how they would incentivize new businesses to come to the city and what they believe the major role of being mayor is.

“To be out there and kind of being the cheerleader for the city. I want to promote that Albert Lea is one of the best places in southern Minnesota to live and I think that my job is to be out talking to our businesses and making them happy to be here. Thanking them for being here. Talking to our citizens, what issues do you have?” Murray said.

 “I mean let’s face it. The mayor is the face of Albert Lea no matter what happens. Just like a business, when it comes to a business, the logo or the employee is that business.,” said McCamish. 

Also at the forum, city council ward two candidates Larry Baker and Brian Beasley, ward four candidates Reid Olson and Sherri Rasmussen, and ward six candidates Brian Anderson and Nick Ronnenberg addressed voters.

Both candidates for ward one, Rachel Christensen and Nicholas Nesse were unable to make the event.