by Dennis Dalman
Public service is practically part of the DNA of Paul Orvis, a candidate for a seat on the St. Joseph City Council.
“I have been in some form of public service since I was 18,” he said. “I have 20 years of combined service between the Army Reserve and the Minnesota National Guard until I retired in 2017.”
In addition, his public service includes his employment at the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department for the past 19 years.
Orvis is one of six candidates vying for two four-year terms on the council – the two seats now held by Bob Loso and Troy Goracke, both of whom filed for re-election. Besides those two incumbents and Orvis, the other candidates are Kelly Beniek, Carmie Mick and Mike Osterman.
The St. Joseph Newsleader asked the candidates many questions about city-related issues. The following are Orvis’s answers:
In the military, Orvis earned the rank of staff sergeant. He also earned an Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal and other medals and awards, including the Sheriff’s Office Medal of Valor.
Orvis said his long-time public service has given him the ability to see both sides of a story and to help come up with a solution somewhere in the middle.
“I also have the ability to put the mission first,” he said. “And that means that what decision I make will be based on having the city’s and residents’ best interests in mind. I have had the opportunity to work with people from many different backgrounds, and I worked well with those people.”
One of the biggest challenges St. Joseph faces is to bring to town businesses that fit the city yet keep the city’s “small-town feel,” Orvis said.
“Also, with the pandemic going on, it is just as important to keep the small businesses in town thriving. I think the city will have to work together with the potential that people want to come to town and for the ones already here to come up with smart plans to make things work.”
St. Joseph, Orvis added, has handled the pandemic very well.
A community center should be located in a central place within the city, Orvis said.
“I think that’s important so people can use it, and it should have a variety of things for people to do there, to encompass as many interests of the people as possible. I’m not sure I would use it only because I am not sure it would fit my needs in things I like to do.”
Orvis listed what he sees as St. Joseph’s strengths: a diverse community, low taxes, a great police department, small-business friendly.
Weaknesses, he said, include lack of downtown parking and a lack of multi-family, crime-free housing.
“I would like to work on adding multi-family, crime-free housing to assist rental owners and managers to evict problem-renters, and I would also like to work on the lack of downtown parking. I would like to see St. Joseph in the top 10 of the list of Minnesota’s safest places to live.”