by Dennis Dalman
Serving his country and his community has always been uppermost in the mind and heart of Mike Osterman, who is a candidate for St. Joseph City Council in the Nov. 3 election.
“I have always had a drive to serve my community and my country,” he said. “Whether it was early in life with groups like the Jaycees, 4H or FFA or enlisting in the U.S. Army Reserve after my 17th birthday. I have also volunteered through St. Croix Hospice in recent years, working mostly for fellow veterans.”
Osterman 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 Osterman, the other candidates are Kelly Beniek, Carmie Mick and Paul Orvis.
The St. Joseph Newsleader asked the candidates many questions about city-related issues. The following are Osterman’s answers:
Osterman, a wounded combat veteran, is a tractor operator for the St. Cloud Veterans’ Administration Hospital and has an associate’s degree in business. He is also currently a non-traditional University of Minnesota senior studying healthcare management.
His wife is Danielle Osterman, who is also an employee at the St. Cloud Veterans’ Administration Hospital. She works as a registered nurse in the long-term care unit.
Osterman said that growing up on a farm instilled in him the values and morals that are so important to the city of St. Joseph.
“I also have experience in budgeting and quality control, thanks to my years of working for the Remington company,” he said.
In 2003 and 2004, Osterman served as a combat engineer in Iraq where he had a highly dangerous job – to react to and to neutralize improvised explosive devices.
“My experiences there fortified my overall love and respect for what is still great about our small towns, like St. Joseph, and further developed my ability to problem-solve in the most unique of situations.”
Fiscal responsibility, Osterman said, is St. Joseph’s biggest challenge.
Another challenge but a very good one is the need to “support our Midwestern heritage and similar initiatives, conserving our roots and living as St. Joseph residents see fit.”
St. Joseph, Osterman said, has handled the pandemic well by following all of the safety mandates.
In a community center, the city should create space and programs especially for children.
“Many young people are looking for good choices but will fall short,” he said. “I strongly believe your community’s kids are the best investment, hands’ down.”
St. Joseph is still a “big small town, and that, Osterman said, is its strength. Its growing weakness, he added, is the possibility that it could become a “small part of St. Cloud.”
“Many residents have expressed the need to support our small businesses, as well as more efficient spending,” he said. “There is also a need to keep our tax dollars local and to build a St. Joseph High School that our town can mold and manage to best serve our kids’ futures.”