Lakeville's 2012 election season is starting early. has announced he'll be running to become Lakeville's next mayor.
"We need leadership now," Little told Lakeville Patch of the decision to run. "I wouldn't be running for mayor if I was happy with our leadership."
Meanwhile, told Thisweek Newspapers that he'll also be running for reelection.
Little said the decision to run wasn't easy, and hinged on the number of people he said have asked him to run for mayor.
"I was at an event a few weeks ago and two seniors came up to me and said, 'We're ready to vote for you for mayor,'" he said. "Other seniors, parents—more than a couple have asked me to run."
Little, 26, acknowledged that the competition and campaign will be stiff, especially from "naysayers" who will point to his youth and inexperience as encumbrances. He's also had critics who have complained about his use of social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
But Little, who is a law student at the University of Minnesota, said youth shouldn't be an issue, and he's proven to be a transparent and accessible council member.
"I'm always available, and any good leader needs to be available and accessible," Little said. "I'm at the community events. I'm responding to letters from constituents. I'm replying to messages on Facebook and Twitter. If we're creating policy for the city, we need to know what people want. I'm doing that."
As for inexperience, Little, who won his first term to the City Council in 2010, points to the as one of the crown jewels of his work. He said he stood up for the seniors and other community members to advocate for the center, which will be the new home for , Beyond the , and Lakeville Area Historical Society, in 2012.
He also points to three of his 2010 campaign tent-poles being accomplished as evidence of success:
- Public safety: The council approved the hiring of two part-time police administrative staff members to help keep officers on the streets and away from computers. Little tried to donate half is council salary to make it happen, but the council declined to approve the donation.
- Improving infrastructure: earlier this year, the council passed a massive plan to fix some of Lakeville's aging roadways.
- Keeping taxes low: the council voted to hold Lakeville's tax levy neutral for 2012.
And that work will dovetail into what he hopes to accomplish as mayor, he said.
"We need to focus on what Lakeville is good at," Little said. "And this community is an amazing place to raise kids. People move here for families."
So Little says he wants to keep improving infrastructure, maintain public safety as a cornerstone of the city's work, and provide as many recreational opportunities for families as possible, all while keeping costs low.
The other issue Little wants to tackle: jobs.
"We need to add and maintain high quality jobs," he said.
He pointed to the Costco discussion as one that's flawed and unhealthy.
"We have an incredibly educated workforce in Lakeville," he said. "We need those high quality jobs here."
The election is Nov. 6, 2012. If Little were to win, the remaining two years on his council term would be filled by an appointment made by the council. If he were to lose, he's still an elected member of the City Council.