The Ins & Outs of Everyday Life as a City Council Member with Erik Skogquist
Erik Skogquist is a passionate resident of Anoka, Minnesota, having spent most of his life in the city. Having left briefly to pursue a political science and urban studies degree from the University of Minnesota, he eventually returned to begin a life with his wife and family in the community he loves. Skogquist appraises and assesses properties in the area for a living while he and his wife, Amanda, dedicate their time to an array of community functions including volunteering with the Cub and Boy Scouts, school’s parent teacher organization, and sitting on various civic boards.
In addition to these volunteer activities, Erik Skogquist decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps, who became mayor of the city at the young age of twenty-two and run for office. He now sits on the City Council of Anoka. Skogquist dedicates his time and knowledge of politics and urban planning to the community that brought him up.
The Role of a City Council Member
As an advocate for the city of Anoka, Erik Skogquist is often asked about his role on the city council. What do they do? What are they responsible for? The answer may surprise you. In many municipalities and towns, the city council is responsible for decision-making on a wide variety of projects including development planning, zoning, infrastructure improvements, city budgeting, and advocating for their wards (particularly in large cities). As a member of the city council in Anoka, Erik Skogquist takes part in the decision-making process for many of these topics and more.
City councils act as the legislative branch of city government and are the policy-making body. As elected representatives, it is the responsibility of city council members to act in the best interest of their community and constituents. The City council works in tandem with the mayor, who runs meetings, signs documents and acts as the ceremonial head of the city. While the mayor can make some decisions above and beyond what the council can, policies such as by-laws are created through the recommendations and acceptance of city councilors through a voting process.
Being a member of city council is a significant commitment. In Anoka, the council has regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month, with additional work session meetings on the 4th Monday. The position is part-time, but the work that needs to go towards the management of the city never ends. The work is truly one of passion for the community though, says Skogquist. After all, even the compensation for the work hasn’t changed in over a decade, a decision that has been made to ensure that resources are continuously allocated to the most pressing projects that benefit the community as a whole.
Taking an Active Role in Your Community
Overall, acting as a member of city council comes with a lot of responsibility within the community, but Erik Skogquist is committed to Anoka in a way that few others are. With family history in the county dating back to 1904, Skogquist is proud to share his passion for history, community, and civic duty with his family, friends, and neighbors in Anoka through his work on the city council as well as through his volunteerism.