Jantzer, Olson, Pitner elected to council

Young newcomer joins Minot City Council

Minot will have a new council member in 29-year-old Paul Pitner when it reorganizes June 26.

Pitner and incumbents Mark Jantzer and Lisa Olson were the top three vote-getters in a six-way race for three council seats Tuesday. Jantzer led all candidates in unofficial results with 3,428 votes. Olson had 3,328 votes, followed by Pitner with 3,163 votes.

Incumbent Stephan Podrygula finished fourth with 2,868 votes. David Shomento garnered 2,502 votes and Edward Montez 1,238 votes.

“I am looking forward to getting to work,” said Pitner, a real estate agent and owner of Pitner Rain Gutters. A lifelong Minot resident, he holds 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.

“This is just a stepping stone, a hoop you have to jump through,” he said of the election, “to have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and get to work, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning. I have to be appreciative that Minot had faith in me – the young guy, the youngest guy out there – that I could fulfill their wants and needs and maybe voice some of the frustrations that we all have as citizens.

“We realize that Minot is at a crossroads. Minot can go one of two ways. It can go down the path it has, which be somewhat stagnant or we can kind of take a step forward,” he added. “We have a lot of things to bring to the table if we are smart about it.”

Jantzer, a Minot businessman who has 10 years of experience in city government and even more in other community leadership roles, thanked the voters for returning him to office.

“We have a lot of work to do so I am ready to get back to work,” he said. “I am thankful for all the people who supported me, but whether folks voted for me or voted for somebody else, we have to work together. We are all one community, and we need to do the best that we can for our city, and I hope to be able to represent everybody.”

Jantzer is serving a third term as city council president and is known for his work as chairman of Task Force 21, Minot’s base retention and missions group.

Jantzer said the priority issues he heard from the public during his campaign were the same issues he has highlighted, People particularly are concerned about property tax increases and the upcoming budget for next year.

“Beyond that, I think the community just wanted the council to be very diligent and make good decisions and to make every dollar count,” Jantzer said. “We still have essential city services that we have to perform every day for the people, for our citizens, and we can’t lose sight of that. So that will be one of the priorities.”

Olson also found property tax to be a common concern of residents. Additionally, she heard constituents supporting priorities she has stressed, including work on the National Disaster Resilience Program and downtown revitalization.

“And, of course, it’s important to me that women still have a voice in Minot politics,” said Olson, the lone woman on Minot’s six-member council, not including the mayor.

Olson, IEP case manager and education coordinator at Towner-Granville-Upham Public School, was first elected as a write-in candidate in 2010 to the 14-member council. She was re-elected in 2014 and elected last June to a one-year term on the new six-member council.

The terms of those elected Tuesday will run for four years.

Podrygula said he will be continue to work hard in the days remaining in his term and thanked constituents for their past support. He said he will remain interested in city government and will be watching the city’s progress in the coming year.

A psychologist, Podrygula most recently was 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.

Edward Montez had previously run for council last June, and Shomento had served on the 14-member council from September 2014 to June 2017.


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