Tim Busse: ‘Experience and knowledge matters’
From the Minneapols Labor Review, October 25, 2019
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
BLOOMINGTON —“Experience, understanding and knowledge — it matters,” says Tim Busse. After serving eight years as an At-Large member of the Bloomington City Council, Busse is running for Mayor of Bloomington with AFL-CIO endorsement.
“It’s a city of 90,000 — it’s not a learn-on-the-job job,” Busse adds. “A mayor needs to be involved… You need to understand and connect with people. To have those connections and trust — and understanding what’s going on — is enormously important.”
Busse helped lead many initiatives on the City Council over the past eight years but he hesitates to claim credit. “I’ve always thought of the City Council as a team sport,” he says. “It’s more of a ‘we’ than an ‘I.’”
He cites the city’s recent adoption of the “Opportunity Housing” ordinance as “a great community-wide effort,” which came about because of the advocacy of the Bloomington Housing Coalition and the work of city staff to engage with developers to craft an affordable housing strategy to incentivize developers.
Now, Busse adds, at least six other cities want to copy Bloomington’s “Opportunity Housing” plan.
“Bloomington has been on the map for 60 years because it’s been bold and creative,” Busse says. He adds: “Our willingness to be bold and creative and innovative makes Bloomington strong.”
A 16-year resident of Bloomington, Busse and his wife Heather have two grown children, ages 27 and 24, who are graduates of the University of Minnesota.
Busse grew up in Prior Lake and graduated from high school there. He majored in urban studies and mass communication at St. Cloud State University and went on to earn a masters degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
A self-employed communications consultant, Busse previously worked in communications for 20 years for the University of Minnesota.
Earlier in his career, he worked for eight years for the Minnesota League of Cities as communications director. “That’s were I cut my teeth on city government,” he says. “It didn’t take me long to realize, city government, that’s where things get done.”
He recalls his take-way from meeting with mayors and city council members from across Minnesota. “Everybody was in it because they wanted to do right by their communities.”
He was also struck by “how much there was to learn, how much to know about a municipal operation.”
The City of Bloomington today, he says, is “a pretty well-run organization.… It’s well-run so you don’t see it.”
Serving on the City Council, Busse has enjoyed good relationships with unions representing the city’s workforce and the community’s workforce.
“I grew up in a union household,” Busse reports. “My dad was a member of IBEW — a self-employed electrician… I certainly understand and appreciate the importance and value of labor unions… We need to bring it back to the forefront — it’s the core of what has made America strong.”
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
2019 Bloomington Endorsements
Bloomington City Council
Bloomington School Board
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Map of Bloomington City Council districts
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