For the first time in 32 years, someone new will be representing the 2nd ward for the Winona City Council.
And that person is Eileen Moeller.
Moeller — a first-time political candidate — beat incumbent Gerry Krage on Tuesday night. With all four precincts reporting, Moeller had 60 percent of the vote (1,268 votes) to Krage's 40 percent (845).
“I’m really excited and looking forward to working with other council members and others that were elected tonight," said Moeller, who was informed by a reporter that she won and had to wait for the crowd around her to stop cheering to answer the question.
"I’m really grateful to have ran against such a wonderful candidate like Gerry. I’m grateful for the city of Winona for giving me a chance and I look forward to working with everyone.”
Krage — who’s had 32 years of experience as a council person for the 2nd Ward — congratulated Moeller on her win, wished her the very best, and said he would be happy to offer any help he can in assistance as Moeller begins her own imprint on the council chair at the table.
“Thank you to everyone who supported me,” Krage said. “I was blessed to have 32 years in service.”
Moeller — who is the marketing and sales director for the Great River Shakespeare Festival and has served on the Women’s Resource Center Board and the Fine Arts Commission — wants to bring a fresh perspective to the council.
From the beginning of the campaign, Moeller has held up transportation and affordable housing in the limelight as her main topics of focus, saying she’s concerned about making transportation safer for bikes, pedestrians, and vehicles as well as making it easier for people of all income levels to find safe and affordable places to live.
To do the former, she plans on using her well practiced skills of collaborating — which she’s grown from years in nonprofits and other businesses — to work with city staff and others to ensure the city continues on its path for the complete streets plan.
The new councilperson also hopes to make city government more transparent for constituents.
“One of my other top issues is to make sure that citizens and community members feel like their council members are more accessible,” she said, adding that it is often difficult for citizens to know which forums or meetings are public and where to find that information.