Elections change faces of Minot
Local elections in 2022 brought a new mayor to Minot, along with new faces on the Minot City Council, Minot Public School Board, Minot Park Board and Ward County Commission.
Tom Ross, who was midway through his first term on the city council, defeated incumbent mayor Shaun Sipma to move into the mayor’s seat at the end of June. The council appointed Roscoe Streyle to fill Ross’s council seat until voters could choose a replacement in a Nov. 8 special election.
Scott Burlingame successfully ran against Streyle in the special election, taking his seat on the council Nov. 21.
Council members Lisa Olson and Mark Jantzer were re-elected in June to the Minot City Council over the challenge of Zach Raknerud. Darrik Trudell had filed but withdrew. In a race for Minot’s municipal judge, Ashley Beall held onto her seat against a challenge by a former municipal judge, Mark Rasmuson.
The mayor’s contest was a three-way race among Ross, Sipma and former council member and then school board member Miranda Schuler.
Ross, who is executive director at Ellison Assisted Living of Minot, ran with goals to allow every resident to be heard at council meetings, make Minot a leader in tourism and business, stand up for the rights of city employees and strengthen relationships with community partners.
“I’m pleased with the direction the city is heading,” Ross said at the six-month mark of his term.
“I think we’ve got a good chemistry on the council,” he said. “I really wanted it to be more about open dialogue, and I think we’re there with the council and in allowing people to adddress the council.”
His goals for victories in economic, tourism and quality of life are coming to fruition, too, he added. Visit Minot has had success in bringing new sports tournaments to town, and the progress toward opening of the discovery center as well as park improvements are pluses for the city, he said.
“There’s such a positive energy in town right now. It’s fun to witness. It’s fun to, hopefully, be a part of growing that positive energy,” he said.
Going into 2023, Ross said he sees positive things for the future with flood protection and the discovery center and a new hospital coming online.
“The message that sends, not only across the state of North Dakota but across the nation, is that Minot is ready,” he said. “We’re ready for business. We’re ready to grow. We’ve put the pieces in place. Now we can’t sit back. We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas, and I think the council has that vision of pushing it forward. We’re going to see some great things in 2023.”
In other local changes brought about by elections, Sabrina Herrmann and Mitch Kraft were awarded seats on the Minot school board in a three-way race in June. Incumbents Perry Olson and Mike Schmitt and newcomer Justin Hammer were elected to the Minot Park Board in a four-way race in June.
Jason Olson, a former Minot police chief, won election to the Ward County Commission Nov. 8 to replace Commissioner John Pietsch, who did not seek re-election. John Fjeldahl, running for his fifth four-year term, also was re-elected from the field of four candidates.
In an unusual twist, the commission race drew the attention of an outside campaign finance group, Brighter Future Alliance, based in Bismarck, which put about $21,706 into signs and promotions for each Olson and candidate Alan Walter, according to campaign records. Olson and Walter said they did not request support and were unaware of it until alerted to the yard signs bearing their names.
Campaign records also show Brighter Future Alliance put more than $11,000 into opposing state Rep. Jeff Hoverson, R-Minot, who was challenged in the District 3 primary by former legislator Roscoe Streyle. Brighter Future spent more than $6,000 to promote Streyle.
Hoverson narrowly defeated Streyle to advance in the primary, along with Republican-endorsed running mate and newcomer Lori VanWinkle. They defeated Democratic-NPL challenger Joseph “Joey” Nesdahl in November. Minot’s District 5 Republican incumbents also were re-elected without challenge.