Steve Dennis
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Three Council seats up for election Nov. 8

Steve Dennis, Dave Thiede, and Tony Khambata all on the Tuesday ballot

With the election soon here on Nov. 8, three incumbent city council members in Cottage Grove are up for reelection.

Running for reelection as Council Member At Large for Cottage Grove are Steve Dennis and Dave Thiede.

Running in a special election for Council after being appointed last year to fill out the term of LaRae Mills after Mills moved outside the city limits, is Tony Khambata. Each of the Nov. 8 ballot candidates received a questionnaire to fill out, and we have the answers. First up is Dave Thiede.

A resident of Cottage Grove for 24 years with three kids graduated from Park High and a wife who works as a paraprofessional in local schools, Thiede started his public service to city residents as a member of the Public Works Commission more than a decade ago, then serving on the Planning Commission before election to the Council itself in 2010. Also serving with the Economic Development Authority (EDA), Thiede holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. Outside city council, Thiede helps companies solve computer infrastructure challenges through a company called ProActive Solutions Inc.

As to Cottage Grove, Thiede lists several things to be proud of in the city. Among them is the development of what he called “an excellent staff or team of leaders to run the City and create a culture and programs that maximize the productivity of the team and the VALUE to its residents,” he shared recently. Another thing to be proud of in Thiede’s view is the City’s strategic plan.

“We have also developed a strategic plan and a program to execute and review that plan in our everyday planning,” he said recently. “This Strategic plan creates principles by which decisions are made. By creating an environment where aligned decisions can be made further down in the organization, a higher level of productivity can be achieved. We truly have now gone from Great to GREATER.” Calling the City’s accomplishments in the past few years “amazing,” Thiede asks your vote to continue helping to make Cottage Grove better in the years to come.

“We have had some amazing accomplishments in the past few years and there are some existing projects and new projects coming along that I would really like to continue working on for you, so I would be very appreciative of your support,” he said, maintaining a campaign website at www.davethiede. com. Seeking reelection as Council member at Large, he asks your vote Nov. 8.

Next up is council member Steve Dennis. First elected to the Council in 2015, Dennis has a long history in Cottage Grove, moving to town after first graduating from Cretin High School at St. Paul with the Class of 1984 and then attending Brown College for a degree in communications followed with an Associate of Liberal Arts from Inver Hills Community College. A resident of Cottage Grove since 1989 and married to wife Kathy, with two children who are graduates of Park High, Dennis is also a local business owner, opening Dennis Brothers Liquor in 2003. Alongside business experience, Dennis has also worked in law enforcement, serving 11 years with experience in areas related to supervision, training, and being licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT-B). Currently serving on the Cottage Grove Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group as a strategic advisor as well as the Inver Hills Community College Committee on Accreditation for EMS Professions, Dennis is a former member of the Community Advisory Panel for Marathon Petroleum Corporation and has volunteered three-anda- half years on the Cottage Grove Police Department a s a part-time Minnesota licensed police officer. Dennis was also named “2020 Volunteer of the Year” by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. Seeking reelection as Council member at Large, he asks your vote Nov. 8.

Finally on the list of candidates for Cottage Grove Council is Tony Khambata. A Park High graduate and real estate agent, the 39-year-old Khambata has an Associates degree in automotive technology from Universal Technical Institute along with some additional credits from Inver Hills Community College.

As to family, Khambata is married to wife Crystal and has three sons: Connor, Isaac, and Lucas. Previously serving on the City’s Plan Commission as chairman prior to appointment to the Council last year, Khambata puts forth a four point case for wanting to serve on City Council.

“I am a lifelong resident of Cottage Grove, I am invested in my community,” he shared recently. “I feel an obligation to help my community thrive, and I want to have a positive affect on the lives of others.”

None of the three candidates have official ballot opposition, though write-ins are an option. Polling places can be found by typing one’s address to the poll finder at the Minnesota Secretary of State website, otherwise at https://pollfinder.sos. state.mn.us.


Tony Khambata

Dave Thiede

November 2, 2022