Filing periods for seats on the Granite Falls and Clarkfield City Councils and the Yellow Medicine East School Board opened Tuesday, July 31 and will remain open until Tuesday, August 14.
“I’d like to see people get involved, it’s always nice to have new people and new ideas,” said Clarkfield Mayor Gene Kockelman. “You have to make some tough decisions, which can be hard... but that’s the way it goes. I like being active and serving as mayor has been good.”
After four years of service, Kockelman intends to join his Granite Falls counterpart, Mayor Dave Smiglewski, in a re-election bid.
Kockelman will be vying for re-election for his first time, whereas Smiglewksi, who has served as Granite Falls Mayor since the death of Mayor Roy Lenzen during the final year of his term in February 1996, hopes to be successful in his fifth consecutive re-election campaign.
In Clarkfield, the four-year mayor’s term will be accompanied by an unusual three council seat openings, presently held by Robert Schlenner, Francis Staab and Dave Biermaier.
Typically, two of the four city council seats come up for bid every two years, but the cycle was altered in early 2011 when Biermaier resigned his four-year post shortly after he had been elected the preceding November.
Even though Biermaier would subsequently be re-appointed to his own vacated seat six months later, the resignation had already invoked a state statue dictating that the seat must come up for bid during the next election. As a result, both Schlenner’s and Staab’s positions will constitute four year terms, while the term of Biermaier’s council position will be for two years.
The lone seat that is not up for re-election is held by first-term councilman Neil Linscheid.
In addition to the Mayor’s position, there are two Ward I (west Granite Falls)?seats and one At-Large council seat up for election. All are four-year terms.
At present, Ward I posts are held by Bill Miller and Joe Fagnano while the At-Large seat is held by Scott Peterson. Not up for re-election until 2014 are the two At-Large council spots occupied by Steve Nordaune and DuWayne Galow as well as the Ward II seat (east Granite Falls) filled by Steve Schaub.
Individuals interested in running for a Ward I seat must reside within the portion of Granite Falls that lies west of the Minnesota River. The At-Large position and the Mayor position are open to all residents. As of now, it is known that at least one seat will be without an incumbent as councilman Bill Miller has made himself ineligible for the post by seeking election as District 2 Yellow Medicine County commissioner.
As of press time, Smiglewski was the lone candidate to have filed. He is once again seeking the position of Mayor.
Page 2 of 2 - At Yellow Medicine East, the school district will see four of the seven school board members up for election this fall. All are four-year terms.
Expiring seats include those of Grant Velde, Tim Opdahl, Jane Hagert and Steve Zumhofe. Board members with remaining terms include Shelly Weir, Steve Rupp and Dawn Odegard.
The Clarkfield Area Charter School Board operates on a different timeline with its five-member board. Terms are three years, and only board member Stephanie Brock’s seat will come open this next spring.
Interested community members will need to file for election by the end of office hours on Tuesday, August 14. Locations to file for respective council positions are Granite Falls City Hall and the Clarkfield City Hall. Prospective school board members may file at the district offices within YME.
The General Election will be held Tuesday, November 6.