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BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: City reacts to mayor’s stance on LGBTQ

Thomas Kuntz, mayor, owatonna, racism, lgbtq
Mayor apologizes to LGBTQ organizer

Owatonna city officials have released a response to Mayor Thomas Kuntz’s recent stance on anti-LGBTQ.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, the city said it was made aware today of an open letter from Nathan Black to Mayor Thomas Kuntz that was shared with local media outlets and posted on Facebook. The letter was regarding the July 8 Pride in the Park event that Mr. Black helped organize.

Mayor Kuntz has responded to Mr. Black’s letter publicly as follows: “Dear Nathan,

I am writing in response to the letter I received from you yesterday. Regarding your comment about my conversation with the staff at the Associated Church last week, I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I had received several inquiries from community members asking me about the July 8 event you helped plan in a City park. My intent was not to harass or intimidate anyone. My words were my own and not those of the City. I try each day to follow my own faith and beliefs, but I also recognize other people have the right to follow their own faith and beliefs too. I am mindful of the words of the Serenity Prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.’ Please accept my apologies. Sincerely, Thomas A. Kuntz.”

Any personal statements made by the City’s elected officials outside the context of their official roles do not represent the City of Owatonna. This includes any statements that may be perceived as supporting any specific political party, religious denomination or individual’s beliefs as City government operates in a non-partisan manner representative of all community members.

The City of Owatonna’s Mission Statement provides guidance in official City matters and reads as follows, “The Mayor and City Council shall represent the people of Owatonna by making decisions which ensure quality public services for all who live and work in the community.”

The process for following up on requests for official City proclamations has been for them to be added to City Council agendas. Then the Mayor, as the titular head of the municipality, announces them during City Council meetings. Generally, all relevant proclamation requests are handled in this manner if they are received in time to add them to a City Council meeting agenda.

City Administrator Kris Busse said, “To ensure our elected officials and staff represent the broad range of community members that Owatonna is so fortunate to have, City staff will continue to provide diversity, inclusion and equity awareness information as part of our ongoing training.”


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