By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Oriet seeks re-election to Carlton mayorship


CARLTON -- More than two decades ago, Carlton Mayor Kathie Oriet said, “I was one of those moms who brought in jars of dirty water, and said, ‘My kid’s diapers are coming out dirtier than when they went in.’”

The city manager at the time, Dave Carl, responded with a challenge.

“Dave said, ‘Then why don’t you do something about it?’” she recalled.

Oriet agreed, first by running, unsuccessfully, for city council in 1980, and later by getting appointed to the city planning commission, where she served for four years. 

Next time she ran for council, she won. And she’s been serving the city ever since, although Carl retired in 2002.

By that time, Oriet was president of the city council. A few months later, following the resignation of Mayor Steve Sampson, she was appointed interim mayor.

She ran for the position that fall and was elected. She has been serving ever since.

“I’m thinking strongly that if I get re-elected, this will be my last term,” she said. “But you never know.”

Oriet said water remains her top priority.

“Last year we put in a new transmission line from the water treatment plant to town, and put in new water lines downtown,” she said. “Those two things have helped immensely. The entire town, except for one corner, has enough pressure for fire flow.”

But the pipe between the treatment plant and the reservoir is not in good shape, and still needs to be replaced, she said.

“That will be one of the next projects,” she said. “That kind of thing is very hard on a small town. People don’t understand.”

Oriet said she is pleased that spring and fall town hall meetings are catching on in popularity. “The word is getting out to folks that if they have questions, they can come to these and ask their questions,” she said.

At the most recent meeting, Oriet invited representatives from the state Transportation Department to discuss road conditions, particularly relevant because the main road through Carlton falls under state jurisdiction.

Also on the list for upcoming attention, Oriet said, is a plan to improve the city sewer system.

Oriet and her husband moved to Carlton in the 1970s with their two sons, and Oriet said the town couldn’t have been a better home.

“It’s such a great town to raise children in,” she said. “For the first 28 years, we lived on Third Street, and the boys could walk to the grade school... When you can walk out your front door and watch your babies walk a block up the street to school, that’s the best thing.”