Three-way race for mayor

Eleven candidates file in city races

Three candidates have filed to run for Minot mayor. Another six candidates are vying for three open positions on the Minot City Council, and two people are seeking the municipal judgeship.

The filing deadline for city offices was Monday. The city election is June 12.

Council member Shawn Sipma, whose term on the council doesn’t expire until 2020, submitted petitions to enter the mayoral race along with Tim Mihalick and Nancy Bommelman.

Council members Mark Jantzer, Lisa Olson and Stephan Podrygula are seeking to retain their seats. Other candidates are former council member David Shomento, former council candidate Edward Montez and Paul Pitner.

Mihalick is a 1981 graduate of Minot State University. He was employed for 36 years by IRET and its affiliates. He served as company president and CEO for eight years prior to his retirement in April of 2017. He became business development officer for First Western Bank & Trust last September.

He is a member and past president of the MSU Board of Regents and member of the Minot Family YMCA executive committee. He also has been involved on the MSU Beaver Booster Board, First Lutheran Church Council, Y’s Men’s rodeo, YMCA board and capital campaign, Trinity Medical Center Board, Sertoma Club and United Way. He served as high school and college football official for 28 years.

Mihalick was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995 and was a recipient of the MSU Golden Award in 2014.

“I believe I have an opportunity to give back to a community that has given generously to me over the last 40 plus years,” Mihalick said. “Over the years, I have been able to travel throughout the state and witnessed other cities envy Minot, its facilities, its leadership and foresight. Over the last couple of years, I have seen that other cities have captured our magic and I would like to bring that magic back to Minot by taking on a leadership role, which will focus on uniting a community which I believe has been a bit fractured.”

He said he would unite the community by listening, being patient and making fiscally and socially sound decisions.

Bommelman, a Minot resident for more than 30 years, works for Menards.

“I am not running for the prestige. I am running to help the citizens of Minot,” she said. “I want to be able to make a difference. I want to work for the citizens of Minot.”

She said she is particularly concerned about uncontrolled spending and the rise in property taxes as property valuations drop.

“I just think that there needs to be a change and there needs to be a change now,” Bommelman said.

Sipma, an agent for N.D. Farmers Union Mutual Insurance, is vice president of the Minot City Council and secretary of the board for Farm Rescue. He is a former television journalist in Minot. He considers the primary role of the mayor to be an advocate for the residents and sees the top issues as flood control, the resilience program, fiscally responsible budgeting, economic growth, the opioid crisis and revitalizing the city’s image.

The newest candidate in the council race is Shomento. Shomento had been appointed to the 14-member city council in September 2014 to fill a vacancy. He was elected in 2016 and served until 2017. A nearly life-long resident of Minot, Shomento spent a number of years in the banking business and later operated Sammy’s Pizza.

Montez, who had previously run for council last June, has worked for Enerbase for about 12 years. He is a 2005 graduate of Minot High School and is a member of the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club.

Pitner is a real estate agent and owner of Pitner Rain Gutters. A lifelong Minot resident with a business administration degree from North Dakota State University, he serves on the Ward County Parks Visioning Committee and had been chairman of the Rice Lake Recreational District Board for three years.

Olson was elected in June 2017 to a one-year term on the new six-member board after having served on the 14-member council since 2010. A Williston native, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Minot State University and has taught at South Prairie and Towner-Granville-Upham schools. She currently is IEP case manager and educational coordinator at TGU.

She is a past president of the Our Redeemer’s Christian School Board and served on the MSU Alumni Association board. She is active in Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a professional organization for women educators. She is immediate past president and a member of an international committee of the organization.

Serving a third term as city council president, Jantzer has 10 years of experience in city government. He has represented the council as a member of the Visit Minot, Souris Basin Planning Council and Minot Area Development Corporation boards and is chairman of Task Force 21, Minot’s base retention and missions group. He is a past chairman and board member of the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation Board, serves on the Minot Salvation Army Advisory Board and is a member of the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff and Air Force Global Strike Commander’s Civic Leaders.

Podrygula is a clinical and forensic psychologist in full-time private practice, He has been a Minot resident for the past 39 years. He was most recently elected to a one-year term on a newly restructured council last June. He served previously on the council from 1998-2002, 2004-2008 and 2016-2017.

Minot will have a race for municipal judge as long-time judge, Mark Rasmuson, is being challenged by Ashley Beall.

Ashley Beall owns Beall Law Office in Minot. She grew up in Bismarck and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science and psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2005. She graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law and began practicing in Minot in 2009. She has worked extensively doing both prosecution and defense work in and around the Minot area. She is an appointed member of both the Juvenile Justice State Advisory Committee and the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.

She said she is running for municipal court judge to improve the court’s handling of cases involving domestic violence offenders, increase the collection of fines and fees and positively impact the Minot community through fair, competent and fiscally-aware administration of justice at the municipal level.

Rasmuson served as municipal judge for 32 years before losing the 2010 election. He ran again and was elected in 2014. A native of Minot, Rasmuson attended Minot State University and North Dakota State University in Fargo, where he received his undergraduate degree. He graduated from the University of North Dakota Law School in Grand Forks in 1968 and returned to Minot. He had worked as a criminal defense attorney and assistant city prosecutor before becoming municipal judge for eight terms. He also has maintained a private law practice in Minot for many years.