Holmes balances sensibility and sensitivity, hoping to maintain her position on city council.
By Jared Martinson and Jasmine Johnson
Eight years ago, Fran Holmes campaigned for city council door-to-door.
Well, more like dorm-to-dorm.
“I’ve been to a lot of arts events at Bethel University in the past,” Holmes said. “It’s a value, it enhances the college.”
She went from suite to suite in North Village, shaking hands and introducing herself as a candidate for city council, receiving warm smiles from Bethel students. She even stepped into a small party being held in a dorm lobby, but she wasn’t an interruption—the students prayed for her on her way out.
Holmes has the most experience on city council of all current candidates; she’s spent the last 12 years at Arden Hills City Hall. She was a main instigator of Valentine Park’s remodeling in recent years. The park was constantly flooded from the nearby lake, full of pollution and generally unusable to the public. It’s a heavy traffic area, just minutes from both Bethel’s campus and Mounds View High School. There was even a Porta-Potty tipped over on the grounds that left a visible mess.
“We used to call that park a wasteland,” Holmes said. “That was one of the things I’m really proud of, that we fixed that park up.”
Along with park remodeling, Holmes has been part of the initiative to implement new walking trails in neighborhoods around Arden Hills. Her interactions with the residents have yielded positive results for the betterment of the city.
But sometimes people aren’t always pleased. Holmes says that just comes with the job of decision-making at the city level.
“Whenever you make a decision, you’ve got two sides of the coin: people that are going to be happy and people that aren’t going to be happy,” she said.
Working with residents to reach a mutual decision is a big part of her job. She once had to intervene with two of her neighbors who had opposing views on fence placement between their yards. She then recused her vote when the time came to make a decision because she felt she was too invested on both sides.
“There’s a fine line between working with people and then having people feel like they both thought I was prejudiced against them,” Holmes said.
With a law degree from Indiana University, thinking logically is the routine path for Holmes’ decision-making processes.
“That’s what I pride myself on: being sensible,” she said. “Sensibility and logic are what I bring to the table.”
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Holmes graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago with a political science degree. She later obtained a law degree from Indiana and worked in tax law in New York City for ten years. It was in New York where she met her husband, a Minnesota native. They decided to move back to Arden Hills, where they have resided for the past 30 years. Her two daughters both work in Minnesota: one is a teacher in Duluth and the other is a school social worker in Minneapolis.
Holmes’ Top 3 Issues:
- With turnover of young families in the area, park and trail upkeep is a priority for Holmes. She will be on the lookout for more related projects to better the community.
- City business is a vibrant part of Arden Hills according to Holmes, which means more expansion and cooperation efforts are necessary for this dimension of the city to thrive.
- The TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant) lot is being redeveloped. Holmes emphasized the need to negotiate and help the county finalize and sign documents before the end of this year so that plans can move forward.