Whittier mechanic to challenge Lilligren for 6th Ward council seat

WHITTIER — As a regular newspaper reader, Bruce Lundeen has been keeping up to date on civic matters for decades. Over the years, the maintenance mechanic said he’s seen many quality people get elected to the City Council. Somehow, though, the results have always disappointed him.

“Good people go down there,” Lundeen said, “and they come back out in the community and — best case — without change.”

He said it could be a systemic issue. Maybe the way City Hall is set up, with 13 council members and a mayor who are in many ways on equal footing, simply doesn’t allow for the results freshman council members go in seeking.

“St. Paul seems to be a better-run city,” Lundeen said. “… Here, it appears we have a weak mayor and a weak council.”

So why, he asked, doesn’t anyone argue for a different system?

As a City Council member, Lundeen said he would. For that and several other reasons, the self-described “union guy” has decided to make his first-ever run for office, seeking the 6th Ward seat currently held by Robert Lilligren.

Lundeen is a veteran of working with big machinery, and he said he would like to see more industrial jobs created in the city. He said he has seen too many restaurants go up in his ward, and while he said it’s good that those have provided dozens of people with work, they aren’t offering much in the form of livable wages.

“New jobs don’t mean more restaurants on Nicollet Avenue,” he said.

He also is passionate about expanding green efforts in the city. Environmentally friendly construction, he said, should be the across-the-board norm and not just an occasional item.

Lundeen, a former board member of the Whittier Alliance, is seeking the Green Party endorsement.

His only opponent in the general election so far is the incumbent Lilligren.