Mendota Heights council candidates vie for two seats

The race in Mendota Heights for a pair of seats in city council features just that: pairs. There are two incumbents’ seats up for election Nov. 4 and a pair of challengers looking to take those seats from them. Council terms are for four years.

Voters will choose two of the four; they can go to to locate their polling place and see sample ballots.

The Review asked candidates about themselves and their priorities should they be elected.

Information about the mayoral race can be found HERE.

Ultan Duggan

Ultan Duggan

Mark Misukanis

Mark Misukanis

Joel Paper

Joel Paper

Liz Petschel

Liz Petschel

Incumbent Ultan Duggan refers to himself as a “youthful 73,” and is looking to add to his 12 years of service on the Mendota Heights City Council. Married  to Terry, Duggan has been retired from his position as business owner of Dr. Scholl’s Shoes for a few years now, and focuses his attention on the city council.

“I have passion for detail, and determination and dedication toward successful outcomes,” Duggan says.

With this perseverance, Duggan says, he helped save Pilot Knob from development, and kept Mendota Elementary open.

Duggan says keeping Mendota Elementary was one of the most important projects he’s tackled during his time on the council. Other projects he wants to see completed before he calls it quits include getting a dog park set up in the city.

Mark Misukanis, a University of Minnesota graduate, is 59 and married to Jan. He is currently an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.

Misukanis says Mendota Heights needs to concentrate on basic infrastructure: water, streets and sewer, adding the city needs  “to become more aware of the rapidly-changing economics and demographics that determine the environment where we live.”

Misukanis says he is running for two reasons.

One is the image of the city. He wants to get the city to reclaim its  “small town atmosphere, and get it back to what made the city unique.”

The other is taxes, which he says he has researched through information from the state auditor’s office. “Mendota Heights has moved in the absolutely wrong direction over the past 10 years with higher tax and administrative spending,” he says.

Joel Paper is 41 and is married to Rachael; they have two children. Paper is currently a full-time stay-at-home dad with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas. He says his business background, combined with his educational background should give him an edge in the council chambers.

“I know what questions to ask and believe in the value businesses bring to our city,” Paper says. “As a coach and school volunteer, I see the importance of teamwork. As Vice Chair of the parks and rec commission, I have witnessed and worked with people who have a genuine care for Mendota Heights.”

Paper says the city’s aging infrastructure is its biggest challenge right now. And, he says, it starts with getting better reception. 

“We need to re-energize our business district, and be more receptive to smart development and redevelopment,” he said. “We need to work harder to address improving our cell phone coverage.”

Incumbent Liz Petschel is 66 and has been on the city council for one term. Petschel is married to Ken; she works with the Ministry of the Sick and Dying at St. Joseph’s Church in West St. Paul.

Petschel spent 10 years on the Mendota Heights Airport Relations Commission, and wants to use her experience in that field for the better of Mendota Heights.

“I would like to continue my work in airport noise oversight,” she says. “At some point in the future, we will have Precision Based Navigation.”

Precision Based Navigation helps to plot optimal flight paths for each type of aircraft and may expand possible flight paths over the area. 

“It’s important to make sure that when it is implemented, there aren’t undue effects on the residents who live south of Hwy. 110,” Petschel explains.

Tim Faklis can be reached at 651-748-7814 or at

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