The Crookston Area Chamber held its Candidate Forum on Tuesday night to allow the public to hear from the current candidates for the open spots for the Crookston Public School Board, Crookston City Council, Polk County Commissioners, State Representative District 1B, and State Senator District 1. The forum was moderated by Crookston Area Chamber Executive Director Mark Landa and Monica Custritz of the University of Minnesota Crookston. The forum had the candidates introduce themselves to the audience and answer two questions submitted by the public, then give a closing statement to the public.

The candidates running for Crookston City Council in Ward 6 are incumbent Dylane Klatt and his opponent Morgan Hibma. We asked each candidate to introduce themselves and tell us what they hoped to do if elected as a member of the City Council.

Q: Would you please tell us about yourself?

Morgan Hibma: I’m Morgan Hibma. I’m running for Ward 6 City Council seat. Unlike most here, I’m not originally from Crookston. I moved here about seven years ago and live here with my husband, son, and our cute little rescue dog. Even though I may not originally be from Crookston, this town has been extremely welcoming to my family and me, and I’m happy to call it a home that I chose, which has led me to want to run for City Council. For the past 13 years, I’ve worked in marketing and business development in the private sector. I’m currently the Marketing Manager at Rydell, and I’m someone who likes to think outside of the box and find creative solutions to issues that previously seemed to have no good solution at all.

Dylane Klatt: My name is Dylane Klatt. I grew up on a farm and ranch by a small town in western North Dakota. I joined the National Guard in 1989 and attended Bismarck State College. From there, I went on to work at Menards for 11 and a half years and ended up in Fargo as an Assistant Store Manager. Then I moved to Ferrellgas and worked for them for almost 22 years as a General Manager. My family and I moved to Crookston in 2004, where we purchased a house and still live here today. I’ve been married to my wife, Jeanne, for 27 years. Jeanne works at AgriMax as an Office Manager over in Fisher. I have three children; all have graduated from Crookston High School. My daughter, Samantha, who is married to Ethan Hulst, and she is a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Thief River Falls, and Ethan is a Crop Consultant for Centrol. My son, Dylan, who is married to Shannon Kaiser, works for Farmer’s Union Insurance and is a Property Risk Adjuster, and Shannon is a Director of Health Promotions at Central Valley Health District in Jamestown. Last but not least, my daughter, Mackenzie, is an Associate Partner Marketing Manager for a company called EPAM Systems. I also have two grandchildren, Ren, the daughter of Dylan and Shannon, and Bailer, the son of Samantha and Ethan. Both of them are a little over a year old. I was appointed to the City Council position after it was vacated almost three years ago. I wanted to join the Council because I thought I could make much-needed changes to the CHEDA organization and some positive changes to the City Council because, as you may remember, both were in a state of disarray at the time. Thankfully, with the help of all of the current council members, the mayor, and the past and present City Administrator, I believe we have turned the corner. Today, I feel our city government is in a good place and is finally working together for the residents of Crookston.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish if you are elected as a council member?

Hibma: One of the big things is childcare, which everybody is experiencing. I, myself, had to take my child out of Crookston for childcare, and I’m still on the waiting list 15 months later, and I’m kind of thinking at this point I’m not going to get a call back. But, I think we need to look and see what we can do as a community to help provide that and what we can do as a City Council to find different ways to encourage people to open Childcare Centers or how we can help fund and provide that for them. Another one is how do we make this a place where families want to be? Because, with the more families that come in, it will help our economy, our downtown area, and our small businesses, which will also grow other small businesses. I have a passion for working with small businesses, it’s something I’ve been doing for the past 13 years and something that I’ve done and have great experience in, and something I want to help provide here.

Klatt: One of the things that I’d like to continue is the work with the other City Council members. I feel like that’s going very well right now. We sometimes disagree, but it’s respectfully, but it’s okay to disagree. It’s part of the business of the City Council. The other thing I would like to work on is a daycare for this community. That’s one of the biggest priorities I have for our community is a daycare.

Pictures of the candidates and the live stream of the forum can be found below-

Crookston Chamber of Commerce Meet the Candidates 2022

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