Local ballots to feature June Minot contests

Mike Gietzen

Five newcomers and two incumbents have filed for the three open seats on the Minot City Council.

Council members Scott Burlingame and Stephan Podrygula will be joined on the ballot by Mike Gietzen, Leif Snyder, Mike Blessum, Scott Samuelson and Rob Fuller.

The filing deadline for state, county and city races was Tuesday.

Gietzen is a life-long Minot resident who works as business sales manager for SRT. He said his interest in city government began in 2010.

“After 14 years, I have decided to take a run at it. I assume in 2010 there were issues pressing the citizens on Minot just like there is now but I feel I will be better able to handle our current issues. I’ve had some time to grow and have some real life experience,” Gietzen said. “I refuse to believe I have all sides of every story already. I firmly believe God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason.

Alexandra Deufel

“There will no doubt be tough decisions made in the next few years for Minot and its residents. I can promise I will vote in favor of the majority. Ultimately the Council is there to handle the City’s business and that is where my priority will be. A common sense approach with communication and education at the forefront,” he added.

Blessum, Fuller and Scott Samuelson previously announced a team campaign for the council.

Blessum and his wife operate several family-owned small businesses in Minot. Fuller was a commercial banker for 17 years and currently he and his wife own and operate Spartan Firearms. Samuelson is a former business owner in Minot. He worked for two plumbing and heating companies over the years and is a licensed Master Plumber.

Burlingame had been elected to fill an unexpired term on city council in November 2022. He has been the executive director of Independence Inc., a Resource Center for Independent

A clinical psychologist, Podrygula has served on the council for 16 years.

Deven Mantz

Snyder indicated he would be releasing information soon.

Carrie Evans is not seeking re-election.

Three people have filed for two open seats on the Minot Park Board. Incumbent Cliff Hovda is joined by Chelsea Kirkhammer and Deven Mantz.

Mantz is a Minot native and a union worker (Brotherhood of Maintenance Way Employees). He describes himself as a passionate community supporter.

“I like to see organization, planning, and, of course, action. It is my hope to lead by example for my children by making a positive difference through acts of service, such as serving on the Minot Park Board,” he said. “We are fortunate to live in a vibrant community with beautiful parks, but none of that just appears. There is a lot of time, planning, and effort behind the scenes that nobody sees. I commend the Park Board and Parks Department for all they have done in the past. I look forward to offering fresh perspective.”

Hovda is seeking his fifth four-year term on the board. He is a retired educator.

Kirkhammer will be releasing information soon.

Ken Kitzman is not seeking re-election.

The city and park board elections will be held June 11.

Filing for the two open seats on the Ward County Commission are incumbent Shelly Weppler and Jedidiah Rader. Jim Rostad is not seeking re-election.

Weppler, rural Minot, is seeking her fourth four-year term on the county commission. She is president of Inspiritus Community Health Foundation in Minot. Rader indicated he will provide information soon.

Filing to run for judgeships in the North Central District are incumbents Richard Hagar and Stacy Louser.

In legislative District 38, the Democrat-endorsed House candidate is Lisa Hermosillo, who has worked in property management and for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The District 38 Republican Party has endorsed Christina Wolff and Rep. Dan Ruby for the House and Sen. David Hogue for the Senate. Lisa Olson, a retired educator who serves on the Minot City Council, also has filed to run as a Republican, setting up a three-way House race on the June 11 primary ballot for two slots on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Wolff, of Minot, is a small business owner, secretary of District 38 for three years and president of the Republican Women of Minot. Ruby was first elected in 2000. He is self-employed as the majority owner and president of Circle Sanitation, Inc.

Hogue has served in the Senate since 2008. He presently serves as the Senate Majority Leader. He is an attorney in private practice in Minot.

The District 40 Republican Party endorsed Jose Castaneda for Senate and Rep. Matt Ruby and Macy Bolinske for House of Representatives.

Castaneda was born in Mexico City and his family legally immigrated to the United States in 1985. In 1992 he became an American citizen. In his 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, he served as an instructor pilot and a B-52 pilot. He was stationed at Minot AFB from 2008 to 2013 and after two and a half years at the Pentagon, returned to Minot from 2016 until his retirement in 2020. He now serves as a medevac pilot.

Bolinske is a former Miss North Dakota whose professional experience includes working as a case manager, paraprofessional and financial administrator for local businesses. She has coached within the Minot Public School District.

Ruby was first elected to the House in 2016. He has been with the North Dakota Army National Guard since 2010 and has operated a construction company.

Running for the House in District 40 with the Democratic-NPL Party is Alexandra Deufel, who teaches biology at Minot State University. Deufel grew up in Germany and worked at a health insurance company before moving to Canada to study biology in Calgary, Manitoba. She completed her doctorate program at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Now a U.S. citizen, she has lived in Minot for more than 20 years and operates a hay and honey business on her family farm.

District 4 Republican candidates are Chuck Walen of New Town for Senate and Rep. Clayton Fegley of Berthold for the state House in District 4B. In District 4A, House candidates are Democrat Rep. Lisa Finley-Deville and Republican businessman Ronald Brugh, both Mandaree.

Finley-Deville was first elected in 2022 following redistricting, when District 4A was created. She has been an activist on a number of land and water issues and is an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

Walen has a background in accounting and farming and has a diversity of experience that includes real estate sales and serving on the school board in West Fargo. A retired farmer, Fegley has served in the House since 2018.

District 6 Republicans endorsed Zach Lessig for Senate and Pat Bachmeier and Kolette Kramer for House. Also filing are Rep. Paul Thomas, Velva, who is seeking the Senate seat, Dan Vollmer and Rep. Dick Anderson for the House, creating a June primary race.

Lessig lives east of Lake Metigoshe, where he and his family moved in 2020. He was in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq. He worked as a scientific technician for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Bachmeier, Granville, has been employed at Souris River Telecommunications for nearly 28 years, with most of that time spent as a wireless technician. Kramer and her husband ranch south of Denbigh.

Thomas, of Velva, is a fourth-generation farmer. He was first elected to the House in 2020. Vollmer, Willow City, has been active on the farm his entire life and involved in the community banking industry in North Dakota for more than 40 years. Anderson, a Willow City farmer and rancher, was first elected in 2010 to represent District 7 and in 2012 was elected in District 6 to serve in the House.

County and state candidates will be elected in the Nov. 5 election.


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