For Devin Gasswint, the city of Mankato is basically a larger version of his business, the South Street Saloon.

Gasswint says he fills his role by listening to customers and staying spartan with his costs.

The city, he says, does neither.

“I feel like the City Council doesn’t listen,” said the mayoral candidate.

Gasswint, 35, argues that the link between the council and its constituents is too weak, while he said he enjoys speaking to a diverse crowd.

And he’s got some questions about where Mankato spends its money.

He calls the proposed $2.7 million skyway “a waste of money” and criticized the city for funding a late-night bus service.

He doesn’t have many answers, yet, but adds that he’ll do his best to find out as mayor.

He is, however, knowledgeable about issues that affect his bar and its customers.

Gasswint downplays concerns about the downtown’s supposedly-rowdy late-night scene, saying it’s generally calmer than most people think.

He’s not sure how he’ll work under the smoking ban, which was passed in March of last year and will take effect on July 1. Even though former Mayor Jeff Kagermeier voted with the 6 to 1 majority, it’s not likely that Gasswint could reverse the ban, whichhe opposes.

His arguments about personal choice and private property rights echo complaints made when the ban was passed.

“A bar is an adult venue,” he says.

He bought the saloon about a year and a half ago after working there for eight years.

Gasswint was born in Iowa, then moved to New Mexico and North Carolina before settling on Minnesota State University when he was 19. He said he stayed because Mankato is a good place to raise a family.

He didn’t finish a business administration degree, but expects to do that eventually.

Instead, he’s spending his time renovating the bar, which has old timber flooring and high ceilings that give it an old West, saloon feel. The history of the building intrigues Gasswint, who points out minutiae in its construction with a parent’s care.

His mayoral run was unplanned, but spurred by his growing dissatisfaction with the responsiveness of city hall.

“It’s kind of a put up or shut up deal,” he said.

And, in a move that would at the very least deflect complaints that he’s running for the $12,000 salary, Gasswint says he would give his salary to charity.

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you