Statement on Candidate Forum Recordings
The League of Women Voters sponsors candidate forums to provide the public with an opportunity to hear candidates discuss the issues that are important to members of the public. The League is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. The views expressed in each forum are those of the candidates, not those of the League of Women Voters. Below the LWV Rochester has posted complete, unedited recordings of forums. Editing is authorized only for official media reporting. Excerpts or edited clips of candidate forums may not be used for partisan, political purposes.
2022 General Election candidate forums - All recorded sessions can be found at
Oct. 11 early forum - 3rd Ward City Council Member - Vangie Castro and Norman Wahl
late forum - Olmsted County Commissioner District 4 - Brian Mueller and Kindra Ramaker
Oct. 12 early forum - 1st Ward City Council Member - Andy Hemenway and Patrick Keane
late forum - Olmsted County Commissioner District 3 - Karl Johnson and Gregg Wright
Oct. 18 early forum - Olmsted County Attorney - Karen MacLaughlin and Mark Ostrem
late forum - Rochester Mayor - Kim Norton and Britt Noser
Oct. 19 early forum - Olmsted County Commissioner District 2 - Gabe Perkins and Dave Senjem
late forum - Olmsted County Commissioner District 1 - Laurel Podulke-Smith and Loring Stead
Oct. 10 early forum - 5th Ward City Council Member - Saida Omar and Shaun Palmer
late forum - Olmsted County Commissioner District 5 - Catherine Davis and Michelle Rossman
Sept. 28 early forum - School Board Seat 4 - John Whelan and Julie Workman
late forum - School Board Seat 2 - Justin Cook and Rae Parker
Sept. 26 early forum - School Board Seat 6 - Cathy Nathan and Elena Niehoff
late forum - School Board Seat 5 - Jean Marvin and Kimberly Rishavy
Sept. 22 - MN Representative 25B- John Joseph Robinson and Andrew Smith
Sept. 21 - Minnesota Senate District 25 - Liz Boldon, Ken Navitsky, and Bill Rood
Sept. 20 - MN Representative 25A - Kim Hicks and Wendy Phillips
Sept. 19 - MN Representative 20B - Elise Diesslin and Steven E. Jacob
Sept. 14 - MN Representative 24B - Tina Liebling and Katrina Pulham
Sept. 13 - Minnesota Senate District 24 - Aleta Borrud and Carla Nelson
Sept. 12 - MN Representative 24A - Keith McLain and Duane Quam
2022 Primary Election candidate forums: link to the full Rochester Public Library playlist
Thursday, September 15 - watch the recorded virtual session
How will a Changing Climate in Southeast Minnesota Impact Public Health?
Kenneth Blumenfeld, PhD, Senior Climatologist, Climatology Office, Div Ecological Water Resources, Minn. Dept. of Natural Resources
Cody Miller, Environmental Health Specialist, Olmsted County Public Health Services
Sarah Stevens, Public Health Nurse Manager, Olmsted County Public Health Services
Saturday, April 23 - not recorded
LWVR's Annual Program 2022 - Zumbro Lutheran Church
The Rochester chapter of the League of Women Voters held its annual program and meeting, featuring local author Virginia Wright-Peterson who spoke about her most recent book Rochester: The City You Thought You Knew.
Ms. Wright-Peterson shared stories about amazing, groundbreaking women of Minnesota. She is a member of the writing faculty of the University of Minnesota - Rochester. She has a Ph.D. in English and has written two books about women of Minnesota, including A Woman's War, Too.
March 30, 2022 - watch the recorded virtual session! and link to the slide deck
Sustainable & Resilient Rochester by City of Rochester staff
- Lauren Jensen, Sustainability Coordinator
- Scot Ramsey, Manager of Facilities & Property
Transformational partnerships (public/private) are advancing the next generation of climate action. In 2017 the City of Rochester adopted an Energy Action Plan which outlined goals for reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Rochester has been working to achieve these goals, building a culture of sustainability through policy implementation, organizational leadership, and community engagement. Recent projects include the development of a district energy system and the creation of a Sustainability and Resiliency Community Work Plan.
Scot gives an overview of the City’s decision to pursue a district energy system and the phases of this project. Lauren outlines the Sustainability & Resiliency Community Work Plan, highlighting focus areas, strategies, and tactics for the City and community partners to pursue. The handout is avaiable here and please visit the City of Rochester webpage on the topic.
February 9, 2022 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Courts and their effect on youth and young voters
Join in a conversation about how our court system protects youth, led by Judge Deb Jacobson, a retired senior judge from Rochester. Judge Jacobson worked for the county attorney's office from 1981 - 1993, working with criminal cases as well as social services. She was appointed to the bench in 1993, where she then served for 23 years. Judge Jacobson will discuss the process of electing vs. appointing judges, and then share various ways in which youth interact with our judicial system. She will share various ways in which the courts protect the rights of youth, as well as how the system has grown to better meet their needs.
February 5, 2022 virtual program
Impact on Issues: Public Policy Positions of the US LWV
LWV Rochester members gathered review policy positions of the national League of Women Voters. The League has always used its voice both to educate and to advocate for our positions. Members of the Rochester League advocate for these positions in our local work.
In preparation for the LWV national convention, we discussed positions in the national summary Impact on Issues: 2020-2022. A range of subjects included review of consensus statements adopted over the years and policy decisions made since the 1960s. We also reviewed the Minnesota League’s current efforts to review their positions and consider proposed amendments.
January 25, 2022 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Medical Aid in Dying - The Outlook in Minnesota
Dr Rebecca Thoman is a Minnesota physician, long-time LWV Minneapolis member, and is associated with Doctors For Dignity and Compassion & Choices. Legislative campaigns for medical aid in dying are gaining momentum across the nation. Ten states and the District of Columbia currently authorize the practice. Modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, the Minnesota End-of-Life Option Act would authorize medical aid in dying so that terminally ill Minnesotans of sound mind may ask for and receive prescribed medication they could choose to self-administer for a peaceful death. Rebecca shared the LWV Utah 2016 Death with Dignity study and subsequent information on this very important topic.
November 18th - watch the recorded virtual session!
Know Your Parks: An Update on the Rochester Parks Master Plan
In November 2020, 61% of Rochester voters approved a referendum granting the Park Department increased funding equal to the property tax rate increase of 0.0168% (in 2021 this was 2 million dollars). Do you wonder where they’ve used the money?
Do you know the Parks division manages 120 city parks totaling 4,200 acres as well as 85 miles of surface trails? Do you know about our newest developing park, Gamehaven Reservoir, which includes the new Driftless Disc Golf Course? When was the last time you used a Rochester Park & Rec space or facility?
Join us for a conversation with City of Rochester officials Paul Widman (Director of Parks and Recreation) and Mike Nigbur (Park and Forestry Division Head). If you want to familiarize yourself with the current Parks & Rec System Plan, you can read it here. Come with your questions about the city park plans for next year. We hope to see you there!
October 28, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Redistricting Again! How will it work in Rochester/Olmsted County this time?
After every 10-year census, each unit of government evaluates the population changes: city wards, county commissioner districts, as well as state and federal legislative districts. the outcome determines who represents YOU in government.
This program focused on Rochester and Olmsted County redistricting. Paul Huffman, LWV Minnesota Redistricting Coordinator, presented "the big picture" of redistricting. Heather Heyer, Management Analyst for the City of Rochester discussed the analysis of Rochester’s wards. Ben Griffiths, Olmsted County Planning Director, discussed census impacts on county commissioner districts, townships, and other cities within the county.
The process local governments are now using to balance our population and opportunities for citizen involvement are key issues for all voters, especially as we approach the 2022 election. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Rochester Public Library, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association, NAACP, and the local Diversity Council.
Minnesota Judicial Branch Special Redistricting Panel 2021
public hearing via Zoom - Tuesday, October 26
It does not appear that this hearing was recorded.
September 29, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Age-Friendly Olmsted County - an extended effort for regional planning
This team of local volunteers outline their 5-year effort to evaluate and anticipate our local planning needs regarding housing, transportation, community health, outdoor spaces, and civic/social metrics. This effort is sponsored by Olmsted County and AARP's Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Similar efforts are underway for the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, and other cities in our region.
Please join the discussion to assure that all voices are heard in this important effort. Family Services Rochester is coordinating this project, and is actively seeking participants for the planning work group. Champions are needed from all viewpoints: urban and rural, elected officials, government agencies, nonprofits, academics, the business community, senior housing and services, community coalitions, and residents across the county.
Presenters during the session include LWVR President Anna Froehling and Board Member Ray Schmitz, Family Services Rochester staff Dave Beal and April Sutor, and Olmsted County Commissioners Gregg Wright and Sheila Kiscaden, as well as Minnesota Representative Tina Leibling.
The assessment Findings Report (June 2021) is available at this link. See Family Service Rochester AFOC page or AARP Livable Communities site for more information.
May 20, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters Rochester
In place of our traditional spring brunch, this special meeting was held via Zoom. Long-time LWVR members Jane Callahan and Amy Caucutt reflected on local community leaders featured in the League's book Taking The Lead: Rochester Women In Public Policy, 1970-1990, which remains available for a $20 donation, plus postage.
April 14, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Know Your Local Government: Rochester School District
A panel presentation by District officials:
John Carlson, Executive Director of Finance for Rochester Public Schools
Julie Workman, ISD535 School Board, Treasurer
Karen MacLaughlin, ISD535 School Board, Director
Yasmin Ali, Mayo High School junior, student activist, Director of Public Relations for the Rochester Community Initiative
March 25, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Know Your Local Government: Olmsted County
A panel presentation by County officials:
- Heidi Welsch, Olmsted County Administrator
- Stephanie Podulke, Olmsted County Commission Chair
- Sheila Kiscaden, Olmsted County Commissioner, former MN State Senator
- Shikha Kumar, Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commissioner
March 18, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Know Your Local Government: City of Rochester
To join the meeting, use this Zoom link
A panel presentation by City officials:
- Alison Zelms, recently hired City Administrator for Rochester
- Brooke Carlson, newly elected City Council President
- Nick Campion, 3rd Ward Council Member since 2014
- Sarah Strauss, John Marshall High School senior, executive member of Rochester/Olmsted County Youth Commission, and youth representative on the Rochester Library Board
February 18, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
What is Redistricting and Why You Should Care?
- Paul Huffman is the Redistricting Coordinator for the LWV Minnesota provides resources, tools, and information for this important process that occurs every 10 years following the census. Review Paul's slides
- Phil Wheeler is the former head of the Rochester-Olmsted County Planning Department (1990 -2013) and oversaw redistricting of the city of Rochester and Olmsted County after the past three censuses, provides a local perspective.
Review Phil's slides
view the resources handout from the LWV Minnesota
January 14, 2021 - watch the recorded virtual session!
Election 2020 and the Challenges Ahead - A virtual town hall
- Steve Simon, Minnesota Secretary of State
- Kim Norton, Mayor of Rochester