This is one of nine candidate profiles to be featured before the upcoming Nov. 7 city election in Newton. Garfield Berndt III is one of five candidates running for at-large city council seat.
Name: Garfield Berndt III
Years of Residency: 25 years
What do you feel is the most important issue Newton will be facing during your term on the City Council?
I feel the continued growth of the city is most important. Continuing to grow our economy and housing to entice businesses and people to come to Newton.
What do you think has been the biggest achievement for the City of Newton in the last four years and what do you think has been the greatest struggle?
The City of Newton has had many great achievements. Our economy has come back with diverse manufacturing, retail and food establishments. We have also been able to rid ourselves of abandoned properties which has made opportunities for new construction projects along with helping the curb appeal of our neighborhoods. One struggle I have noticed is that we as a whole need to continue to show positive accomplishments our great city has done. When we concentrate on the positives, any negatives or problems can be focused on and tackled together which will help us to continue to grow and be an even better community.
What role do you think the city can and should play in the economic development? What more/less should the city be doing for economic development?
The city can continue to build and show what a great place Newton is to encourage business to come. The excellent city staff having the necessary resources to be able to promote our city is also important in order for the economic development of our community.
Housing has been a major focus for the city in recent years. How do you see the efforts continuing and what ideas do you have for future growth?
The new housing developments have given prospective business owners and potential new residents nice affordable homes that help our community grow. The efforts shown has our population growing, continuing new development of our neighborhoods, which will entice more people to relocate to Newton.
Do you think there is an area in Newton the city should be focusing on that has not received attention?
I think our focus is to really promote the positives that is occurring in our city. There is always going to be situations that happen to reflect negativity, but if we all as a whole keep promoting our successes, the negatives will go away.
Why do you want to be on city council and why should voters choose you to represent Newton?
I have dedicated my time to get to know the citizens of Newton. I have become active by being on a city board and gained the knowledge of what it takes to be a councilman because I have been to all the city council meetings for many years now. I am also a very good listener and am easily accessible to everyone. If elected, I will work very hard to help our great community grow and succeed.