Rachel Braaten

Crystal Mayor 2024

Fiscally Conservative

Socially Progressive


A Note From Rachel Braaten

I believe that individuals, businesses, and local governments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a fiscally conservative manner.  As Mayor of Crystal, I will be leading the city and encouraging and informing individuals and businesses to take these measures. Here’s how:

#1 Let’s recognize all the waste that is happening because of trash pick-up by 7 different trash companies in our city. These are costing us all a LOT of money. Those trash trucks are HARD on our roads and we could likely extend the lifespan of our roads and save money by having one company haul our trash. Let’s let them compete with bids, as we do for infrastructure projects! [After speaking with community members about this idea, my idea have evolved. Residents are concerned that only offering one trash company will eliminate the competition incentive to keep costs low. I maintain that seven trash companies are too many, but perhaps to maintain the competition incentive, we should limit the number to two. The trash companies would still need to compete for a city wide bid, but we could choose two instead of one...and one of them needs to offer yard waste pickup.]

#2 Our compost is being picked up by our trash haulers who have to charge the same amount for trash and compost pick-up, even if people are not using the service. Let’s use Hennepin County (Waste Management) pick-up for compost. They can haul our compost for a small fraction of what it currently costs! Let me make sure I’m clear about this. EVERYONE SHOULD BE COMPOSTING! It can reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions from food trash by 50% or more! But that doesn’t mean it should cost us an arm and a leg.

#3 For individuals and businesses who want to lower their carbon footprint, an energy audit is an excellent first step. For municipalities, there are also options that are free, but the process is different. For instance, the Center for Energy and Environment offers a “Community Energy Facilitator” which will sit in on meetings with an environmental commission and help advise and guide that group, which then goes on to advise the City Council and Mayor. Our city should be taking advantage of this opportunity! And as Mayor, I will make sure we have a working commission that can take this on.

#4 Grant programs are available to municipalities like ours for things like solar installation on buildings and other energy and efficiency upgrades. When Crystal City Hall installed solar panels, these were 90% paid for by a grant from Xcel Energy. We need to make use of these opportunities more often! Locally produced electricity reduces energy loss through power lines, strengthens the local energy grid, and taking advantage of grant money from organizations or governmental entities to pay for it is a very wise budgetary decision for our city.

#5 If you want to get solar panels on your house or invest in home efficiency upgrades, who do you call? I argue that the first step should be to contact city hall, but are those employees trained to guide you? There are grants, low-interest loans, AND rebates available for these kinds of projects. As Mayor of Crystal, I will look into ways to get staff trained about the resources that are available so you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg or spend tons of time figuring it out. 

Let’s dispel the myth that it is always cost prohibitive to make the right decisions for the climate. When I was in the Environmental Quality Commission, I wrote the proposal (with help from other members and staff) for the Volunteer Habitat Restoration Program, with budgetary constraints in mind. 2023 was the second year I ran that program, which essentially cost the city nothing (the cost of hauling away invasive species, and the cost of protective eye-wear). John Budzewczeski was able to acquire a donation of gloves from nearby Ace Hardware stores, and I provided the tools. Last year, I worked to win a grant from Hennepin County to fund that program and WON funding for tools, a consultant, and plants and seeds! This is the way to a fiscally conservative, and ecologically sound future.  


Rachel Braaten 

2024 Mayoral Candidate

Crystal, MN

I would really appreciate your vote. 

General election: November 5th, 2024. 


5th Congressional Green Party of Minnesota

John Budzesewski

Ward 3 City Council Member

Laura Libby

Section 1 City Council Member 2013-2016 

Rita Johnson

New Hope Women of Today President 2018-2019 and 2019-2020

Resident of Crystal since 1977

Paid for by the Rachel for Mayor Campaign Committee, 3401 Zane Ave N, Crystal, MN 55422, (701) 491-2777