Photo provided by Judy Hickey

Ward: Ward 5


Official Bio:

• Married with six grown sons
• Rochester resident for 22 years

• University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor of Arts Degree
• Columbus State University, GA, Post-Graduate Studies
• University of Minnesota, Festival and Event Management, Certificate

Professional Experience/Community
• Consultant in Arts Management/Grant Writing/Fundraising
• Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) – Board Member/Grant Writer
• Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust – Board Member
• Rochester Chamber Music Society (RCMS) – Board Member/Volunteer
• Rochesterfest - Board Member/Event Coordinator
• Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) – Arts Advisory Panelist
• Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Association (SEMSA) – Board Member/Grant Writer/Program Director
• Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras (SEMYO) – Board Member/Camp Program Coordinator

Your key platforms 

Key issues to creating a growing, thriving community:
Responsible Government

  • Rochester City Council needs to responsibly manage the city’s budget and be fiscally accountable to taxpayers.
  • Council Members and City Government need to effectively communicate with residents.
  • Development of a long-term plan for Street Repair and Maintenance

Planned Development

  • DMC development is focused on downtown Rochester, but impacts the whole City of Rochester. Informed decision-making is vital to managing the growth and development throughout the city.
  • In city development, long-term operational costs must be considered along with the upfront capital costs.
  • Implementing the Rochester Integrated Transit Study (ITS)

Investing in Our Quality of Life

  • Creating a livable city by working to maintain and improving the qualities and characteristics that make Rochester a great city in which to live, work, and raise a family. Focusing on:
    • Arts, Culture, Entertainment
    • Housing Affordability
    • Parks, Recreation, Greenspaces
    • Public Safety
    • Rochester Public Library
    • Water and Air Quality

Why should your ward vote for you?

I intend to be a voice for the residents of Ward 5 on the Rochester City Council. Serving on the Council will be my primary responsibility and I plan to devote the time to do the job well. With busy lives, residents need a council person that they feel comfortable contacting if they have questions or need help navigating city government. I will actively communicate with residents and be their advocate in city government.

What do you envision for the future of Rochester?

Rochester is at a point of rapid growth due to the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiatives. Over the next several years, it is important that the city’s growth is managed in an effective and positive way in order to maintain the qualities that make Rochester a great city. The changes that are driven by the growth needed to improve Rochester as a livable city for all residents, across all sectors of the city.

Rochester needs to be the type of city where people can experience a high-quality of life throughout their life cycle. A city that provides enriching experiences for children as they learn and grow, to opportunities for young adults to achieve educational goals and productive work experiences, to options for parents as they invest in the housing market and raising their children, and for seniors to enjoy retirement and enriching experiences as they age in place within our city. Our city needs to be a safe place for all residents to live their lives.

If elected to the Rochester City Council, I intend to focus on improving the qualities and characteristics that make Rochester a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

What are your connections to The Mayo Clinic? How do you plan to work with The Mayo Clinic?

In 1954, my grandfather was seriously ill and came to the Mayo Clinic as a patient. Growing up in Wisconsin, in my family, the Mayo Clinic was regarded as the hospital where with the best doctors in the world treated their patients with great care. I knew well the reputation of the Mayo Clinic and its location in Rochester, MN. Throughout the years, I have had family members and friends that have received excellent care as patients at the Mayo Clinic.

As a world-class medical center and school, the Mayo Clinic is an important part of the Rochester community. It is the largest employer in Rochester. Mayo Clinic employees are our family members, friends, and neighbors. The identity of Rochester is tied closely to the Mayo Clinic. The community as a whole benefits from the Mayo Clinic’s presence in Rochester and the economic stability that its presence provides. The Mayo Clinic is part of the success of the City of Rochester.

The Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiatives have created a strong partnership between Rochester City Government and the Mayo Clinic. As a City Council member, I will work to ensure the success of this partnership for the benefit of both entities, and the city as a whole.

What are your connections to the DMC? How do you plan to work with the DMC?

All Destination Medical Center (DMC) funded projects come before the Rochester City Council for final approval. It is important for City Council members to attend the DMC Board meeting in order to be fully informed of the ideas and proposed projects. Currently, my husband, Mark Hickey, is a member of the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board, serving as the Rochester City Council representative.

Rochester City Government needs to be fiscally responsible as it evaluates the proposed DMC capital projects to be built. The City Council needs to review each project and carefully evaluated the long-term costs related to the operation and maintenance expenses of new infrastructure. The Rochester city budget is tight and the city government needs to live within its means in order to avoid increasing the tax rate for the city’s citizens.

How would you address the concerns of citizens about the loss of some of the city's older and potentially historic buildings to new development?

There is community support for the preservation of Rochester’s historic past. The Rochester City Council established the Rochester Heritage Preservation Commission in 2013 with the purpose of preserving Rochester’s heritage. Consultants specializing in historic preservation were hired to create a preservation planning process, then to evaluate and identify historic buildings and spaces. Consultants hired: Stark Preservation Planning, LLC (2012), 106 Group (2014), and Preservation Design Works (PVN) (2018).

The Rochester Historic Preservation Commission has been working with Minneapolis consultants Preservation Design Works (PVN) to develop the plan for a Rochester Downtown Commercial Historic District. Implementation of this plan will require a series of steps in order to create the proposed historic district and the continued work needed to be done to progress the plan. I support this process and the efforts being made to evaluate and preserve Rochester’s historic past.

Favorite Rochester Moment?

Attending Rochesterfest each year is one of my favorite Rochester moments. Every year my family attends many of the Rochesterfest events associated with the annual city celebration. We enjoy the wide variety of activities associated with the festival, from the Breakfast on the Farm, Rochesterfest Parade, Family Fun Night, and the Soldiers Field free music and festival foods. Rochesterfest provides something for everyone and most activities are free to attend.

Many years ago, I became a Rochesterfest event organizer and for the last three years have served on the Rochesterfest Board of Directors. There is a core group of dedicated volunteers that work to manage all of the various events associated with the festival. It is fun to be a part of this great group of people who work to provides all of the various events in an effort to engage the whole Rochester community through Rochesterfest.

What’s one thing you want the Rochester community to know about you?

My family has called Rochester home for the last 22 years. Due to my husband’s military service, I have had the opportunity to live in and visit many different cities in the United States and overseas. Rochester is the place we have lived in the longest and have raised our family. Rochester has many amenities of a large city with the friendliness and feel of a small town.

I believe that the decision my husband and I made in choosing to live in Rochester, and raise our sons here, has been primary to the high quality of life we have experienced as we raised our family.

I have dedicated the last 22 years to serving the Rochester community, focusing on providing programming and opportunities for the community’s young people. I have worked in the areas of arts administration, grant writing, and fundraising. I have served the community by working to maintain the viability of arts organizations by strengthening the organizations financially, so that the groups are able to continue their mission serving the community. I have served as a board member on several non-profit organizations, such as Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestras, Children’s Dance Theatre, and as a panelist for the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. Recently, I completed the certificate program from the University of Minnesota for Festival and Event Management and last year I received the Ardee Award for Outstanding Volunteer in the Arts from the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust.

If elected to represent Ward 5, I intend to dedicate the time and energy to meeting with residents and representing their issues on the Rochester City Council. I look forward to examining the issues facing our city and developing relationships with all citizens throughout the community.