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Too Young? That's 'Old News', Says Matt Little, Lakeville's New Mayor

"The fact that I'm young is old news," Little said. "People will just have to look at the results of my work to determine whether or not my youth is a detriment or benefit."

In November of 2010, Matt Little was elected to his first term as a Lakeville City Councilor.

At the time, Little—who was just 25-year-old—was considered an unlikely choice. He was too young, too green and too liberal for Lakeville's council, opponents said.

But his public message emphasising public safety, low taxes, and volunteerism seemed to resonate with voters, and he was elected in spite of what critics said.

Fast forward two years.

In November of 2012, Little was elected to his first term as Lakeville Mayor.

Ok, then.

Little, 28-year-old law student at the University of Minnesota, is now a big leader—steering Lakeville, a suburban town with 60,000 people, as it's mayor.

And while many things can change in two years, some things, like attacks about his age don't. While running for mayor, critics again said he was too young, too green and too liberal for Lakeville's mayoral seat.

"The fact that I'm young is old news," Little said. "People will just have to look at the results of my work to determine whether or not my youth is a detriment or benefit."

Today, Little's been mayor of Lakeville—officially—for a month, and the council that showed stress the previous two years has been working smoothly thus far, he said.

"It's been great," Little said. "This council has an incredible working relationship. We've been productive, efficient, and civil."

And while his vacated seat on the council is going to be filled next month by appointment from a group of applicants, Little said he is actively working with the current council to drive Lakeville forward.

"In less than two months we will have appointed Task Force members for the visioning process, made an appointment to the vacant seat, and created policies that will drive economic development in Lakeville," he said. "This is all while doing our more routine work."

Little said his priorities include getting the visioning process off the ground, and to point a new councilor to his vacant seat.

"Then we'll be focused on Economic Development work which is an on-going process," he said. "We have other work to complete such as Heritage Center fundraising, and transportation issues, and we'll be working to beef up our ability to influence state and national legislation to maximize the benefits we can obtain for Lakeville citizens."

And for a social media fan, the fact Lakeville will soon be on Facebook is music to Little's ears.

"I'm happy to see us updating our policies to provide more avenues for the public to communicate their concerns to the city," he said.

As for his the mayor he unseated, Little said he has the utmost respect for Mark Bellows.

"I thank Mayor Bellows and Councilor (Laurie) Rieb for their service," Little said. "I know they will stay involved in making Lakeville a better city, and I look forward to working with them."

Little said he is thankful for the additional opportunities to talk to people that being mayor has offered.

"I have the opportunity to be at more events and meetings," he said. "I really enjoy being at these types of things, it provides me greater insight by observing committee meetings and talking to more residents about their concerns."

Matt F February 06, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Pre-election Little was against tax payer money to be used to hire consultants for the vision study. Post-election, Little votes for hiring of consultants for vision study.
Brent Jacobson February 06, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Watch your wallets, he'll probably get Lakeville into the Green Steps boondoggle that Apple Valley, Farmington, Rosemount, and Burnsville are in..
Lenny from Lakeville February 07, 2013 at 02:35 AM
The discussion was never about age as the New mayor points out it has always been about experience. His experience has been having Mommy and Daddy paying his way through school and life. He has no understanding of how life really works because in his mind if you can not afford it ask your parents, if they say no call the Union Bosses from Chicago to back the program. He discusses the civil tone that the group has and that is only because his whining and complaining (as all spoiled children tend to do) has stop because he got what he wanted when he started - being the Mayor. (Ask him he wants to be the Governor before he is 35!) If someone does to him what he did to the past Mayor all he would do is whine and complain and say he is being picked on because he is young. So let’s focus on you and your votes - Mayor you are off to a great start- going back on a campaign commitment before you even took office! People voted for you I assume because you told them you had a vision for Lakeville _ Little did they know you needed the consultant to tell you what it will be! You also tated that you did not see the need for a consultant yet here we are with a consultant. I know plenty of 28 year olds I would be happy to see as our Mayor but they all have job and pay taxes. It is not age but honesty and integrity we seek in a Mayor and you have demonstrated none so far! Focus on your job and stopping spending your energy telling yourself how great you are!
Matt F February 07, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Where are we at with that senior center fundraising. The sign out front as of last night still shows a long way to go.
Lakeville resident February 07, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I am willing to give the man a few 'hours' in office before raking him over the coals.
Lenny from Lakeville February 07, 2013 at 05:56 PM
AV Two points. First if he wants to focus on the job and not take a "victory lap in the papaer" before he even accomplishes something that would be fine. Second if a man lies or misrepresents himself letting it pass because he is now only encourages the behavior. Let me ask you this did our fine Mayor give Mayor bellows a few hours in office before he started his whining? Absolutely not - I guess I assumed that since that was how he operated with the past Mayor that was what he wanted from us.
Lakeville resident February 07, 2013 at 06:19 PM
All I'm saying is, I'm reserving judgement until little later...the senior center is just one small issue, but it seems to be a real sore spot for people. I just hope Little does this one thing while in office: Get rid of the rail corridor and Progressive Rail's junky stored railcars and replace it with the Dakota County Greenway Project. Probably unlikely, but that's my wish.
Billy February 07, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Well stated points. Where are we at with the Matt Little Senior Center? A case of spend now and fund later. It is clear that the city will rob from other departments to fund the rest of the Matt Little Senior Center. Vision Consultant - door to door and mayor forum Matt Little preach that it is a waste of money to hire an outside consultant and we should rely on the plan from 1990 or have in-house govt employees do something(do something they are not trained to do). He gets elected and after interviewing with all the newspapers he votes for hiring a consultant for the vision study. The council is going smoothly right now because Matt Little isn't whining. Matt Little's lack of experience is already showing because he wants to focus on creating Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Linkedin pages - this is child's play. Tackle the tough issues. At the end of the day, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin do not make our city better.
Jake February 07, 2013 at 06:51 PM
It's clear the old establishment wasn't getting things done. Why not try something new?
Billy February 07, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Is the something new creating a twitter and facebook accounts?
Lakeville resident February 07, 2013 at 08:06 PM
I actually think Twitter/Facebook might be a good idea. Whether you like it or not, social media is the way a lot of people are communicating these days. It's a great way to voice your opinions if you don't like the way things are going.
Harvey Simpson February 07, 2013 at 08:21 PM
No, it is two more places a city paid employee has to monitor. People get their undies in a bunch if they don't get a response in 2.4 seconds. If you have a comment, concern or question you go to the city website and send a message.
Lakeville resident February 07, 2013 at 08:29 PM
That may be so Harvey, but like I said, this is the way people are communicating these days.....better get used to it.
Harvey Simpson February 07, 2013 at 08:35 PM
The dumbing down of society 140 characters at a time.
Lakeville resident February 07, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Here's my experience with that....I've sent a few emails to Mr. Bellows over the years, never heard a response from him directly. I have however received responses from Mr. Little via both Twitter & email.
Lisa February 10, 2013 at 01:43 PM
AV - I agree he responded on social media and I even agree it is a good way to communicate, what he communicates is what I object to.
Harvey Simpson February 12, 2013 at 08:15 PM
If Matt Little wants to continue to maintain his own facebook page and twitter account, that is fine with me. However, if you expect taxpayers to fund an additional staff member to maintain a facebook or twitter account for the City of Lakeville then we've gone overboard.
Harvey Simpson February 12, 2013 at 08:19 PM
"never heard a response from him directly" - but you are saying you heard a response regarding your question, i.e. from city staff? We have city departments for a reason. Our mayor isn't responsible for answering questions about replacing sod or how many trees we have or accept complaints about a neighbors rusty car. The city has a website where you can go and ask your question and it is routed to the appropriate person in a timely manner.

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