Staples City Council candidates list top priorities

Learn about Staples council, mayor candidates

Staples City Council candidates running for election were asked to submit a photo and to reply to two questions, as they will have the opportunity to go more in depth on issues at the Oct. 24 candidate forum at 7 p.m. at NJPA at 202 12th St, NE, Staples. Five people are running for four city council seats. The incumbent mayor, Chris Etzler, is running unopposed.

The questions asked were: 1. Summarize your personal background and qualifications; and 2. What is your top priority if elected?

Doug Case

1. I am a lifelong resident of Staples. I am very passionate about the community, where I met my wife Toni of 39 years, and raised our two sons who both attended the Staples school system. I am well aware of how the local government system works having been a police officer for 33 years, a firefighter for 20 years, serving as the chief of both departments, and have served on the City Council for two years. 

2. My top priority will be to move into one of the vacancies on the EDA board of commissioners and suggest changing the current focus of attempting to get additional housing at this time. I feel the townhouses that are being built now will fill the housing gap for the time being. I believe that there’s no better time than now for our EDA director and commissioners to go full speed ahead at taking on the more difficult task of enticing an industry to locate in Staples, and I would like to be part of that. I am well aware of the fact that there is a critical shortage of people to fill the jobs that would be created by an industry moving to Staples but resolving that would also be a rewarding challenge. I would hope that more of the graduating senior class would choose to remain in Staples to work rather than moving away to other communities seeking just this type of employment. I have remained in Staples my entire adult life and have worked at several different jobs. I feel I have made a great living here and would like to see other young, local people have the same opportunity.

Chris Etzler

 I grew up in Staples and attended St. Cloud State University where I earned a Bachelors Degree in Technology Education. 

I returned to Staples for a short while to teach at Staples-Motley High School in the late 1990s. Upon returning to Staples in 2003, I wanted to make a positive contribution to the community that I call home. 

I’m currently serving as Mayor for the City of Staples. Prior to being elected Mayor in 2007, I served as a council member since April, 2005. I’ve served on several boards and committee’s including the Staples Motley Chamber of Commerce, Park and Rec Board, Airport Board, Staples Motley Community Foundation Board, Railroad Days Planning Team and several others. Currently I represent the City of Staples on the Friendly Rider Transit Board and I’m president of the Staples Amateur Baseball Association.

2. My top priority is to continue to work on making Staples the place where people want to live, work, learn and play. Staples is in a fortunate position right now as several area businesses are expanding and we could potentially see 200 to 400 new jobs in town in the next five years. Housing needs are a must if we as community want to realize the impact of these jobs. 

Along with the important housing needs, we can’t lose sight of the downtown and the opportunities that exist with some of the vacant buildings.

Brian Fisher

No photo was submitted.

1. I was born and raised in Bloomington. My sister and I were the first generation to be raised off the farm. My wife was raised on a farm in Pelican Rapids. Professionally, I have a degree in Mechanical Design and also worked for many years as a Collision Repair Technician. Before moving to Staples three years ago we lived in Colorado for ten years. We missed the Minnesota culture, family values and our loved ones so we were blessed when the opportunity came where we could move back home near family again.

2. As a husband and father of five, where we raise our family is important. This is why we moved here.We have a lot of positive momentum building in our town. We need to keep progress going while maintaining our proud heritage. A great town needs continually improving youth programs, expanding entertainment and activities for all ages and a thriving business community. We also need to keep improving our housing choices. I see these things as the primary focus for our town in the immediate future and I look forward to helping our town progress in these and all other areas. I feel that my positive attitude, diverse background and willingness to embrace change would be valuable to our town. I see our community pride in all of the volunteer work, committees and youth programs I’ve been a part of and I would be honored to serve the people of Staples.

Rachel Johnson:

1. I am the Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Nursing Office and Grant Writer at Lakewood Health System. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a minor in Human Resources from Waldorf College (Iowa). I am currently pursuing a Master in Business Administration with an emphasis in Rural Health through St. Scholastica. I currently chair the Skilled Workforce Task Force, a committee off of the Staples Thriving Community Initiative, Planning and Zoning and Advisory Board member for Staples Kinship. 

2. There are four areas that I am passionate about 1) community health and wellness initiatives: such as trails, safe routes to school, community center and collaborative efforts on engaging community members. A healthy community is one in which all residents have access to quality education, safe and healthy homes, adequate employment, transportation, physical activity and nutrition. The health of our community is critical to the growth and development of our town. 2) Veterans: being a spouse of an Army National Guard member I see the importance of having the tools and resources for our military men and women. I would like to see us become a Yellow Ribbon community; 3) affordable housing the EDA is working on getting more housing however we will need more. This will be a huge need now and into the future as more jobs are coming within the next one - three years and 4) a skilled workforce is a need with the future growth opportunities. We will need to assist businesses and community members alike to fill in the gaps.

Charles Tester:

No photo was submitted.

1) I was raised in Staples and have lived here most of my life. I am a father and homeowner in Staples. I’m qualified for city council because I am intelligent, empathetic and capable. I want to make the world a better place. That means starting with myself and working outward. The city is going through a lot of changes and we have to direct those in the most positive way possible for the community. I want this city to be a place everyone can be proud to call home.

2) The city is a living thing and change is inevitable. My top priority is making sure that the coming changes are for the benefit of all residents not just the select few. Increases in local industry must be met with equal parts hope and caution. We have to make certain that our citizens earn profitable wages to fuel the local economy. Increases in local housing will greatly affect us all. Not just new neighbors, new neighborhoods. When embracing the new we do not simply discard the old. We will be living through some growing pains in our community and we must remain vigilant in protecting our land, people and future.

Mary Theurer:

1. I have been an active Staples community member for 45 years. I have served on several Staples Motley School committees, Staples Motley Area Community Foundation, Lakewood Health System District Board (currently the Chair), officer for Faith Lutheran Church council, secretary of the Staples Motley Beyond Poverty group. I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Staples City Council for the past five years.

My husband and I have worked and raised two children in this wonderful community. I feel that it’s important to be part of the community we live in and appreciate the support I’ve received.

2. Building partnerships: One of my top priorities is to continue to build partnerships with the Staples Motley School District, Central Lakes College, Lakewood Health System, NJPA and local businesses and organizations. We can accomplish so much more if we join together.

Economic Development: There has been building additions on NJPA, Stern Rubber and others. We anticipate the renovation and addition to the Lakewood Health System main campus and Pillager Clinic, Roach’s Townhouses and Ives Family - Timber Lodge Hotel. There are other economic development projects being discussed.

Legislative Initiatives - Over the past couple of years we have gone to the legislature to have an increase Local Government Aid (LGA) and for a Bonding Bill to renovate the Community Center. It’s a struggle to maintain services, make improvements to infrastructure when we don’t have the revenue to support it.

The Thriving Communities Initiative/Community Beautification have given the town a facelift. We’ve been working on nuisance properties to increase the city appeal. 

I’ve worked to keep the levy as low as possible without sacrificing important projects, equipment purchases and will continue to do so when I am re-elected on November 8th.



Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:

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