Although Hope is his adopted hometown, Town Council candidate John Walstad said he has a passion for helping to improve the community and its sidewalks.

Hope voters will have one contested town race on Tuesday's ballot, incumbent Democrat Meek running against Republican Walstad for the Ward 2 seat on the Town Council.

Democrat Ed Johnson and Republican Ohmer Miller are running unopposed for re-election to the other two ward seats on the council.
Walstad has lived in Hope for about 17 years.

Waldstad is originally from Minnesota and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in geography and a minor in anthropology. He worked at Menards for 28 years in various management capacities, moving frequently. After getting assigned to Columbus, he moved to Hope and decided that this is where he wanted to stay. When facing another move, this time to Ohio, he retired.

"I said 'I have settled in Hope, here, I am going to live and die in this town, I love this town,'" Walstad said. "I told my kids that."

Walstad's wife is Marsha and he has two adult sons and three grandchildren.

After leaving Menards, Walstad began work at the Dollar General store in Hope.

Walstad said he decided to run for Town Council to tackle the poor sidewalks in Hope.

"I was looking around the city and said 'The sidewalks are atrocious here,'" Walstad said. "My wife walks into town every day, to get her exercise, there and back. And she said 'I have to walk in the street half the time. It is safer to walk in the street than on the sidewalk.'"

He said that the key to repairing the sidewalks will be to find grant funding.

"Maybe I should step in to the political arena to see if we could get something going," Walstad said. 

Other priorities would be to get more businesses downtown, more companies to locate on South Street and to get Hope Heritage Days going again next year. He said much of the success of Hope in recent years was due to the former town manager.

"He got a lot of things done," Walstad said. "Studebaker came in, the pharmacy came in. We have trash pickup on a weekly basis... But two years ago, they let him go and ever since that, they haven't done that much. Why can't they get those grants going? Why can't someone on the council do that? I don't want to be town manager. That would be too many hours and I am too old to be doing that. But I think we should have one."

Walstad serves on the town's EDIT committee, plan commission and police oversight board.