Brooklyn Park politics makes for familiar bedfellows
Mike Kaszuba, Star Tribune
July 24, 2004
Jeanette Meyer could soon have another potential ally - or perhaps an adversary - on the Brooklyn Park City Council: her husband.
In a move that is a rarity for a major Minnesota city, Terry Gearin has filed for a City Council seat in the state's second largest suburb. And since he will be running unopposed, he almost certainly will join his wife, Meyer, on the seven-member City Council beginning in January. Both Gearin and Meyer, who will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary next month, will represent the city's west district. Each of the city's three districts has two council members.
Gearin filed Tuesday after his candidacy received legal clearance.
Jim Thomson, the city's attorney, said "there's nothing I can find" that would prohibit both from serving at the same time. Meyer's term runs through December 2006.
Lourdes Sanchez, a spokesperson for the League of Minnesota Cities, said that while it is not uncommon for relatives to serve on public bodies at the same time, spouses are another matter. "We don't know of any right now," she said.
Gearin, an ophthalmic technician and Vietnam combat veteran, said his wife "didn't want me to run. She feels people may take it [wrong]." But he added: "I'm an individual. I'm a voting citizen ... I have a right to run for office if I want."
Meyer declined to comment on the issue.
Gearin said he was upfront with residents regarding his relationship to Meyer as he circulated a petition for his candidacy.
"I'm not hiding a word," he said.
He added that if residents were opposed to his running for office, "then they should run against me."
He also pointed out that, just because he and Meyer are married, residents should not assume they will always cast similar votes.
"Jeannie and I actually argue about some city issues," he said.
Mike Kaszuba is at email@example.com