Stunek runs for Brainerd City Council
Former Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek has filed to run for an at-large position on the Brainerd City Council. Stunek, 63, has a long history with the Brainerd Fire Department. Over a more than 40-year career, he worked his way up from paid on-c...
Former Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Stunek has filed to run for an at-large position on the Brainerd City Council.
Stunek, 63, has a long history with the Brainerd Fire Department. Over a more than 40-year career, he worked his way up from paid on-call firefighter to fire chief, a position he held for five years before retiring in April 2015.
Stunek is running for public office now because public service is in his blood, he said. He'd like to see Brainerd's public safety services remain at a high level, he said, while implementing more technology to keep things moving forward.
"I like working for the people," Stunek said. "I'm a people person at heart."
The fire chief spends a lot of time listening to people in the community, Stunek said, so he'd be a natural when it came to fielding people's concerns as a council member. He's also lived in Brainerd for 58 years, he said, something not many other candidates can say.
"And in 58 years, if I didn't love it here, I wouldn't be here," Stunek said. "And I've learned a lot from working for the city for that long."
Stunek's strengths include his ability to listen, to be reasonable and to use common sense when it comes to making decisions, he said. He's also tried to learn something anytime he's made a mistake, he said.
"My father taught me a long time ago if everybody's happy, something's not right," Stunek said.
One of Stunek's top concerns for Brainerd is public safety, he said, which is already excellent but could use technology to adapt to the future. He's also focused on revitalizing downtown Brainerd in order to attract the influx of tourists that come to the area in the summer.
"We can take baby steps and maybe make them bigger steps as we move forward," Stunek said. "This isn't something that's going to happen overnight."
Stunek doesn't have policy, ordinance or direction he'd like to change if elected, he said, but he did say changes to the city charter could help the city move forward. He'd also like to see the city update its comprehensive plan, he said.
Stunek has been thinking of running for city council for a while, he said. He recently applied to fill the mayoral vacancy left by James Wallin's death in September of 2015.
"This isn't something I thought of overnight," Stunek said. "I've been thinking about it with my wife probably since I retired as fire chief."
Stunek has a bachelor's degree in education from St. Cloud State University and served in the Army for six years. He worked as a chief negotiator for the tactical response unit for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.
Stunek lives at 15535 Sunset Way. He is married and his wife has four children from a previous marriage, along with his two children from a previous marriage. He has two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
Stunek has been retired for a year and is an active member at his church and at the American Legion Post No. 255. He was heavily involved in community groups and events while he served as fire chief, he said, but has slowed down in the year since he retired.
Voters should choose Stunek because he's a good listener and has the public's trust, he said.
"I think I have their trust," Stunek said. "And I think I've gained that trust over all the years I've lived here and my community service."
SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .