BEST CITY COUNCIL MEMBER - 2002
Watching Jay Benanav on the hustings during last year's St. Paul mayoral race, you couldn't help but come away with the impression that the wrong person was on the ballot. Kathy Lantry was his most important supporter, campaigning almost as tirelessly as the candidate himself, and single-handedly preventing him from being blown out on Randy Kelly's East Side home turf. Whereas Benanav often looked awkward practicing the retail politics of handshakes and schmoozing, Lantry made every person she met feel like they were the center of the universe: squeezing shoulders, cackling at bad jokes, and enveloping crusty old DFLers in bear hugs. Lantry's St. Paul political roots run deep. Her mom was a longtime state senator on the East Side, and her dad was a labor bigwig. And her campaign skills are matched by a voting record that is short on pandering and long on common sense. In recent months Lantry has unflinchingly asserted that tax increases will be necessary in the near future, questioned the financial shenanigans of St. Paul's RiverCentre Authority, and balked at seeking federal dollars to pay for gondola trips across the Mississippi while more important projects go wanting. Perhaps this combination of panache and practicality will one day land Lantry in the mayor's seat.