Renee Kragnes - Council Member Ward-5 - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Renee Kragnes - Council Member Ward-5

When I was six months old, my parents moved to Rochester so Dad could work at IBM as an engineer. When I was five we moved to a farm near Salem Corners where I attended Byron schools until my graduation in 1980. My first job was in a local fabric store in 1978. After helping them clean up the mess from the flood, I was hired on as a retail clerk and cashier. Since then I've waited tables, worked in warehouses, built hearing aids, managed volunteers, provided customer service for a wide variety of industries, did bookkeeping, the list goes on.

In 1984 I moved into Rochester to raise three children (two are still in high school). In 2003, I went back to school myself and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Winona State University and have nearly completed my degree in Accounting.

In 2006 I was honored to be chosen to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services Rochester office. My year-long term focused on promoting free legal help with issues related to rental housing for low income persons.

In 2007 I was again honored to be chosen to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA for Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program in Rochester. During that year I worked with volunteers to assist newly arrived refugees from war torn countries across the globe. I am proud to say that Rochester has been a welcoming community. Many generous volunteers stepped up to donate time, energy, creativity and basic goods to strangers that arrive with two bags of personal items and the clothing on their back to start a new life.

Over the 48 years I've lived in the area, I've watched Rochester's population more than double. I recall looking at corn fields on the drive to IBM so we could see Dad at work. I watched Apache Mall being built and wondered why anyone would drive so far out of town to shop. I remember being able to drive down First Street past the Mayo Clinic and out to Broadway. It has been exciting to watch as the city grows.

I'm running because as our city grows, I want to make sure everyone has a voice. The core neighborhoods continue to be a vital asset to the city. The people who depend on mass transit need to have a reliable system that grows with the city. And all of us need to be able to depend on Rochester's finest to keep us safe. As my family grows too, I want to give my kids a city they can be proud to call home.

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