2016 Election: Meet Your Minot City Council Candidates

This coming Tuesday is an election day across North Dakota. For state offices, this is a standard primary election whereby we narrow the field down to the final candidates who will appear on the November ballot. But for local races, this is it. This is your only chance to cast a vote for our City of Minot, Park Board, and School Board leaders.

Get to know our City of Minot City Council candidates below. For detailed information on your Ward and voting location, follow this link from the ND Secretary of State. You can also locate your Ward and polling location on the City of Minot’s Ward map.

Minot-Polling-Locations

Touch the name on each tab to read candidate responses.

— Ward 1 – City of Minot —

Ward 1 is by far Minot’s largest Ward. It’s made up of the by and large the East-most parts of Minot including neighborhoods near Eastwood Park, Green Valley, Hiawatha, 55th Crossing, the newly annexed neighborhoods in SE Minot near the new elementary school, and lands in far NE Minot.

Ward-1-Minot

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Jacob Sowers

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Mr. Sowers has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Mr. Sowers has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Mr. Sowers has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Mr. Sowers has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

S-straight

Shannon Straight

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’m running to bring new energy, perspective and vision to City Council. As a Ward 1 candidate, Eastwood Park resident, and small business owner, I am excited at the opportunities ahead of Minot. Nearly 5 years removed from the 2011 Flood and about to begin spending our 74.3 million in Resiliency funds, we need engaged citizen input.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Minot can have both flood protection and an active river community as proposed by The Friends of the Souris River that reconnects the active river and the loops for 12 safe miles of recreation. We need quality of life growth for Minot such as incentives for young entrepreneurs that help create a dynamic local culture to retain families.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

We need to re-allocate our current sales tax to fund a full penny towards flood protection. We will need to prioritize our sales tax spending, need better communication and collaboration between city council, county commissioners and our state delegation as we prove in Bismarck that we have a unified vision for the Magic City.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

As I’ve gone door to door in Ward 1, I’m struck by how few people actually know they live in Ward 1 and where they are to vote. How can we expect citizens to be involved in our government when they don’t know what Ward they live in and where to vote? Citizens electing all council members in an at-large system is a start to regain trust.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

As a member of #MakeMinot, I wanted to begin a conversation that empowers residents to voice their opinions and be engaged. If we don’t respect voters, don’t include them in the process and ask questions, how will we ever work towards the solutions of our most pressing issues? The election will come and go. How will you remain involved?

Larry-Frey

Larry Frey

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Mr. Frey has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Mr. Frey has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Mr. Frey has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Mr. Frey has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Mr. Frey has not yet participated in our candidate survey.

— Ward 2 – City of Minot —

Ward 2 is primarily located in NE Minot below the airport, but it also include a portion of downtown and neighborhoods near the old Ramstad and Lincoln schools.
Ward-2-Minot
Bob-Miller

Bob Miller

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Mr. Miller has not yet participated in our survey.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Mr. Miller has not yet participated in our survey.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Mr. Miller has not yet participated in our survey.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Mr. Miller has not yet participated in our survey.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Mr. Miller has not yet participated in our survey.

George-Withus

George Withus

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’ve lived in Minot for the past 40 years. I am originally from NY, but came to Minot when I joined the Air Force in 1976. I am currently employed at Minot State University as the Director of IT. Flood protection, transparency and Resiliency projects are some of the reasons I am running for office. I think that we need a change.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

    1. I think that we need to get flood protection done for the city.
    2. I think we need to maintain and improve on the services that the city provides.
    3. I think we need expansion and new opportunities.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

I think that some of the sales tax that is now going to community projects can be used towards flood protection. We also need to get federal and state funding to get the projects rolling. I believe that too much money is spent on the administrative costs of the project and we need to find alternatives for that portion.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

TAXES. I think that a lot of people think that all their property taxes goes to the city. It doesn’t. Only 40% actually goes to running the city.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

We need to be competitive with the oil industry. I know that is a hard thing to do. We need to provide them with the opportunities to contribute. This is hard to do when the cost of living is so high, and the wages aren’t competitive. I see other communities providing housing for teachers, fire fighters, city workers and police.

Michael-Carswell

Michael Carswell

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’m a twenty year veteran of the Air Force. My family decided to stay here when I retired at Minot Air Force Base 3 years ago. I am running for City Council because I am an outsider, who has lived in various places across the country and don’t have some of the lifelong ties others may have.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

  1. Clear Communication, create a forum where government sits down & explains issues unclear to the people.
  2. Community Involvement in Government, people need to provide solutions when they see a problem because government don’t always have the best fixes.
  3. Control spending. Until flood protection is 100%, spend on needs not wants.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

The very first thing we need to do is lower the level in Lake Darling. It was built for flood protection, but that is not what we are using it for. Instead, we now use it for recreation. I’m not talking about lowering it a foot or two, I mean empty it over a period of time to provide for maximum flood protection.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Be engaged. I’ve heard several complain about a wide range of issues from flood control to how the Magic Fund money is spent. When I ask what their alderman’s response has been to the issues, most had not brought the issues to their alderman. City Government can only fix issues if they know that people have an issue in the first place.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Create a forum for the Minot Young Professionals and similar organizations to get these young people involved in government. If someone gets involved with their government when they are younger, the next generation may be more inclined to work more with and be more involved in how our government works.

— Ward 3 —

Ward 3 is Minot’s North-most Ward and includes large portions of NW Minot North of MSU and newer areas of Central and NE Minot North of the Airport.
Ward-3-Minot

Jim-Hatlelid

Jim Hatlelid

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Mr. Hatlelid has not yet participated in our candidate forum.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Mr. Hatlelid has not yet participated in our candidate forum.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Mr. Hatlelid has not yet participated in our candidate forum.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Mr. Hatlelid has not yet participated in our candidate forum.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Mr. Hatlelid has not yet participated in our candidate forum.

Stephan-Podrygula

Stephan Podrygula

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’m not satisfied with the way things have been going lately. Citizens need to know what is going on, feel a part of the process, and be confident our tax dollars are wisely spent. It’s time for a change. We can do better!

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

My priorities are the following: increase openness & accountability in city government; enhance public safety, particularly in terms of better police protection; improve responsiveness to citizen concerns; and improve our infrastructure, especially in terms of flood protection and recovery.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Increase the amount of sales tax going toward flood control; flood protection should be the number one community facility we’re trying to develop. We also need to ensure that all the incoming “resiliency” funds are wisely spent.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

City government is a major enterprise, with about 400 employees and a yearly budget of $125 million dollars. We need to use modern management techniques, exercise sound leadership, and actively encourage citizen participation and involvement. Good government results from a full partnership, based on confidence and trust.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

We need to restore and improve our quality of life, maintain our good educational system, and provide a broad variety of year-round activities. Continuing to diversify and strengthen our economy, to provide a greater range of well-paying and fulfilling jobs, is essential.

— Ward 4 —

Ward 4 spans Minot from South Hill to North Hill on the Western side of town.

Ward-4-Minot

Rick-Hedberg

Rick Hedberg

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’ve resided in Minot the last 15 years. My wife Andrea is an elementary teacher in the Minot Public School system. We have two children, Mason & Madeline. I currently serve as Vice President for Advancement at MSU. I am seeking office because I care deeply about Minot and want to create a positive future for my two children in Minot.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

My first priority is to listen to the people. I represent the citizens of Minot and of Ward 4. My job is to bring their voice forward. Another priority is flood protection. With the changes coming in our flood maps and with federal flood insurance we need to accelerate this process. Safety and security is a third priority.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

We need to work very closely with our state and national representatives to “tell the story” of Minot and the issues we are facing. Another flood would be devastating to our community. The changes in flood insurance may have the same effect if we don’t move fast. We may need to reallocate current sales tax dollars to flood control

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

It’s important that people get involved. I believe that I serve the people of Minot and specifically the people of Ward 4. Your calls, emails and conversations mean a great deal to me. I think many people think their voice doesn’t matter in our city government. I can tell you that it does with me and it will continue to be that way.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

We need to continue to build a “quality of life” in Minot. The development of downtown with restaurants and shops is a nice start. We need a strong parks and recreation system for our young families. We need to increase the transparency in our government to develop trust in what we are doing. Encourage them to get involved in our govt

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Dave Shomento

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Owner of Sammy’s pizza which I recently sold to my daughter and son in law. I did this for 15 years. Before I did this I was in the financial business. I want to run again because I think this is an extremely important job and I enjoy doing it

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Flood control, flood control, flood control. Everything else takes second place. We must finish the downtown infrastructure project on time and on budget. We must become more knowledgeable on city finances. We can’t allow ourselves to believe we can pay for everything we want

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Within four years we will be protecting 60 percent of the valley. This was all done because of local action. Residents can attend any number of public meetings to become more informed. Now we still have to protect the other 40 percent. If you are in that group your voice needs to be heard. Get involved

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Involvement. It’s too easy to complain and not try to get more educated and more knowledgeable

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Listen to our kids. We left North Dakota for 3 years because of work. We came back because of family. Younger people must get involved and people like me must listen.

— Ward 5 —

Ward 5 is a central Minot Ward that extends from the SW Knolls neighborhood near Magic City Campus down into the valley to neighborhoods around the Arrowhead shopping center, Longfellow School, and the old Lincoln School.

Ward-5-Minot

Shaun-Sipma

Shaun Sipma

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I am an insurance agent with ND Farmers Union Insurance. Prior to that I was a TV News Anchor and reporter in Minot for 15 years. I am running for City Council to bring in a fresh perspective on many issues along with accountability within the decision making process.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

I would like to see a full one cent of our current city sales tax allocated to flood control. Transparency is a big concern from the public and I would advocate on getting more information on what decisions are made any why. Creating a functional and usable river system in Minot would be a great asset to our community.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Allocating a full one cent in our current city sales tax is a start. We also need to get our current flood control fixed from the damage that was done from the 2011 flood that remains in disrepair. The handling of acquisitions of homes in the project area needs to improve and not be put in the hands of our finance director.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

The basics of how local government works is lacking greatly. Many people don’t understand because they’ve never been a part of it or experienced it first hand. By grasping the basics it opens the doors to a better understanding of the bigger picture.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

QUALITY OF LIFE! When we are competing for workforce with other cities in North Dakota our city and quality of life is a significant consideration for each person that has a choice to make on where they want to live. We must start growing that sector of our city if we want to attract families that will not only move here but stay!

Chad-Martin

Chad Martin

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

Mr. Martin has not yet particpated in our online candidate’s forum.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

Mr. Martin has not yet participated in our online candidate’s forum.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Mr. Martin has not yet participated in our online candidate’s forum.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

Mr. Martin has not yet participated in our online candidate’s forum.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Mr. Martin has not yet participated in our online candidate’s forum.

— Ward 6 —

Ward 6 is found exclusively in SW Minot.
Ward-6-Minot

Mark-Jantzer

Mark Jantzer

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I am an experienced City council member, elected in 2008, reelected in 2012, running for a third term to complete work in progress, and help meet the challenges we will be facing in the next few years. I have served as president of the Council for the past two years. I favor progress, common sense, fiscal conservatism & fairness.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

    1. Permanent flood protection/river valley redesign to protect residents to the flood of 2011 level and higher.
    2. Safe neighborhoods throughout the community with excellent police and fire protection.
    3. Budget predictability rather than ups and downs of boom and bust cycles, so we can plan & build a more livable, high quality of life.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Stay focused. We are moving. Three phases under design; some state/local funded construction to start next year. H2O plant protection is under way. City, state, CODEL and Corps leaders obtained a federal study, which hopefully will lead to a Corps project & get needed $.5B project funding.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

All of our meetings are open and public. To be informed you have to read, watch listen, and sometimes even show up. Get the facts. Talk to your alderman. Minutes are published; read. Council meeting video is now on the city website. Some matters are not simple. We vote up or down on issues and can’t always please everyone.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Retention requires jobs, housing, and quality of life. Those are key areas to focus on. We also need to tell our story and talk up life in Minot. Every citizen can be a recruiter. We need to encourage, invite, and challenge young folks to get involved in things they are passionate about.

— Ward 7 —

Ward 7 extends from central Minot near the library South all the way to the South edge of town.
Ward-7-Minot

Kenton-Kossan

Kenton Kossan (Write-in Candidate)

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’m a Write-in Ward 7 Candidate for Minot city council. I am 31 years old and am married with one child. I am a graduate with a Bachelors degree from NDSU. I have 8 years of state government employment experience. I am seeking office to do what’s right for the citizens of Minot. Responsive for and accountable to the residents of Ward 7.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

I believe the city owes it to the citizens to be transparent. There have been instances where many residents have been left wondering why the city has done things. I think that flood control needs to be lobbied for more vigorously. The flood can happen again. We need to be protected. And better management.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

We will need to lobby at the state and federal level very vigorously. It is important that we take advantage of all of the possible funding available. There have been many disasters since the Minot flood and we need to keep from being forgotten.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

I would like to help them see that their voice does matter. It is important that citizens understand that much of the big changes that occur in government come from initiated measures and that they do have a choice.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

I think that if the city is serious about employee retention that wages should be a consideration. The city needs to be competitive to acquire and keep good employees. The city needs to treat them with respect and listen to their needs. They are taking care of our people, we need to take care of our employees.

Nicole-Peltier

Nicole Peltier (Write-in Candidate)

Please provide a brief personal background and explain why you’re seeking office.

I’m running for city council because my experience makes me a good representative of the people in Ward 7. A mother working while attending Minot State University and a 30 year resident of Minot, I now manage a locally owned business. I was born and raised in the Turtle Mountains and have 2 grown sons in Minot.

Talk briefly about three things you’d like to see for the City of Minot?

My priorities as a council member will be: long term flood control for people living in the valley, support for and promotion of downtown businesses, increased recreation for young adults, and affordable housing for young workers and families.

What can we do locally to get the flood control project moving so all residents have hope of seeing permanent flood protection?

Increased accountability for flood related funds and assistance to residents affected by floods, directly.

If you could teach citizens about one aspect of city or local government, what would it be?

I would encourage citizens to speak their minds and let them know that there is always time for citizen statements at council meetings.

What can we do to do a better job of retaining our best and brightest young people so they begin contributing their energy, ideas, and perspective to Minot as a whole?

Continue to make Minot attractive to young people: quality child care, affordable housing and recreation.

Josh Wolsky

Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, Former City Alderman, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot. Go ahead, don't wait for permission!

One comment on “2016 Election: Meet Your Minot City Council Candidates

Dan Scott

Can someone please explain why local government appears to be nonpartisan? Personally, I feel I can judge better what kind of person I am voting for if I know their political persuasion.

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