City Council picks Hayes as Interim Councilmember


January 29, 2022

Mary Hayes

by Jeff Olsen

Mary Hayes, a Minneapolis native who moved to Roseau in 1969, has been a member of the Roseau City Planning Commission for at least 10 years, according to her recollection.

"I know I started after the flood, but I don't remember exactly when," she said on Thursday, January 20, four days before she was hoping to be selected to fill the second year of Jane Evans' four-year term.

Assuming the Roseau City Council chooses you to fill the rest of this calendar year, what should the public know?

"I have a background of managing a low income apartment building for several years in Greenbush. So, I kind of know government applications and different things," she said, noting that she has served on several community projects, including the food shelf for 15 plus years and the Library Board.

"I owned my own business, Expressions, for 10 years uptown," she said while extolling public service.

"I think, as Americans, we need to be involved, whether it's the school board, hospital board, city and county offices, whatever," she said.

A week ago Thursday, she tipped her bonnet to the other applicant, Scott Jacobson.

"Scott has a good chance, too. More power to him for applying for it."

The Decision

Speaking afterwards, Councilmember Brady Johnson noted that they had interviewed Mary Hayes first.

"It was informal, but it was formal. Both candidates were well-prepared," said Mr. Johnson, mentioning that Mary did a very nice job.

"She talked about the need for housing, and how important it is that these golf course lots are utilized properly," he said, remarking on her many years on the Planning Commission and her years as a business owner.

"She talked about how supportive she's been of Main Street and how that needs to continue. I wrote down a quote of hers. She said, 'It is spectacular what our businesses and residents do for each other in the town of Roseau.' I wrote that down because that was so powerful."

He recalled another impressive remark from Mary when she and her husband had moved to Roseau in 1969.

"We planned on being here for 18 months at the most, it's 2022, and we're still here. That's what Roseau means to me and my family."

In describing her interview as pretty powerful, Mr. Johnson recalled that the council asked about her reasons for running for the position.

"She said that, as a resident, everyone should be involved in some sort of organization at some point to give back and that's why she's here," recalled Mr. Johnson, adding that Mary did a fabulous job.

The council next interviewed Mr. Jacobson, who wasn't present during Mary's interview.

"We basically did the same thing. We went around and everybody asked two or three questions," he said, underscoring that Scott made their decision a really difficult one because of how well he did.

"He spoke adamantly about taking care of the utilities department and the businesses in town, and we need to continue to grow," said Johnson, stating that Scott is concerned about housing and security in Roseau.

"It's a nice place to live, and I've lived here my whole life except for the four years I was in the Navy," Mr. Jacobson told the council.

"One thing I'll close on," said Johnson, "is they made the decision difficult because they're qualified, they're great people, and the City of Roseau is fortunate that they threw their names in the hat."

Mr. Johnson had asked the two applicants what each saw as a reward for serving and also what could be frustrating.

"Honestly, that happened for me tonight. It was rewarding for me to see two candidates that were so great, and it was frustrating for me to choose one and send one home when they're great people and both are qualified," said Johnson, noting that Mayor Fabian encouraged them to express interest in the election this coming fall.

"I'm really excited about Mary. I think she is going to be a great part of the team. She has a lot of knowledge and background to bring to the council," he said, explaining that Mary will be sworn in at their first meeting in February.

Winner Declaration

"We brought them both in, and Dan thanked them and encouraged them to consider running this fall. We're confident in Mary. It was a unanimous decision."

What happened next was impressive to the Roseau City Council, according to Johnson.

"Scott was very cordial. He immediately shook Mary's hand, stood up, and shook everyone's hand in the room. He's just a nice, overall stand-up guy."

A Class Guy

Later on Monday evening, the applicant not chosen was in good spirits.

"The best person won. I have no regrets or qualms," said Mr Jacobson, adding that the city is doing well.

"I just care about the community. I'll try again. I appreciate everybody in there. It's a thankless job," he said, mentioning that it was his 55th birthday that very day.

"I couldn't have asked for a better opponent," he said, tipping his hat to Mary Hayes.


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