17 candidates file for South Washington County board seats
- Article by: Anthony Lonetree and Jim Anderson
- Star Tribune staff writers
- August 18, 2013 - 10:39 AM
The deadline for candidates seeking seats on local school boards and city councils in Washington County passed last week, setting the slates for elections on Nov. 5.
The resignation earlier this year of South Washington County School Board Member Leslee Boyd has contributed to a majority of that district’s board seats — five of the seven — being up for election this fall. After a slow start, filings heated up late with 17 candidates ultimately filing affidavits of candidacy.
The candidates include four incumbents — Tracy Brunnette, Laurie Johnson, David Kemper and Katy McElwee-Stevens — as well as two challengers who have vied for South Washington County board seats in recent years.
Four seats involve four-year terms, and the fifth is for the final two years of the term begun by Boyd, the board’s former chairwoman who left office in January. Earlier this year, the board appointed McElwee-Stevens to fill that seat until the Nov. 5 election.
McElwee-Stevens is among 14 candidates who filed for four-year terms. Others with school board electoral experience include incumbents Brunnette and Kemper, and Katie Schwartz of St. Paul Park and Mike Thissen of Woodbury, who unsuccessfully sought board seats in 2011 and 2009, respectively.
Others who have filed for four-year seats are: Frederick E. Hess, John P. Griffin II, Molly Lutz, Sharon H. Van Leer and Raj Gandhi, all of Woodbury; Leilani Holmstadt, Wayne Johnson and Michael P. Edman, all of Cottage Grove; and Safiyyah Cummings of Plymouth, who plans to meet the 30-day residency requirement for board candidacy.
Brunnette, Kemper and Laurie Johnson last prevailed in the 2009 election, when 10 candidates competed for the four seats on that ballot.
This fall, Laurie Johnson is among three candidates who have filed for the board’s two-year seat. The others are Susan Richardson and David W. Firkus, both of Woodbury.
The school board’s fifth incumbent, Marsha Adou, announced at the board’s Aug. 8 meeting that she was not seeking re-election.
The South Washington County district is the county’s largest, with 17,643 students in 2013, according to state enrollment data.
The White Bear Lake Area Schools, which serves Washington and Ramsey counties, also has board seats up for election. Four seats are on the ballot, and all four incumbents — Kim Chapman, George Kimball, Janet Newberg and Bob Shevik — filed to run. The race also includes two challengers: Christine Morrison and Donald Mullin.
This is mostly an off-year for municipal elections, and few seats are in contention. The municipal campaign drawing the most interest is in St. Paul Park, where four candidates are vying for two seats.
Sandi Dingle, who was first elected to the City Council in 2005, is seeking her third term. Jeff Swenson, also a two-term City Council member, also is seeking re-election.
They are being challenged by Nathan Kotfis, a member of the city Public Works Commission, and Darrin Smith, a National Guard veteran making his first run for office.
In Mahtomedi, barring a write-in campaign, there will be one new City Council member. Two seats are up for election. Lael Ramaley, who is seeking a second term, and Joel Schilling, chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, were the only two candidates who filed. Incumbent Tim Mitchell did not file for re-election.
Jo Emerson is unopposed for a second term as mayor of White Bear Lake, which has two small voting precincts in Washington County.
Incumbent and former White Bear Lake School Board Member Kevin Edberg is the only candidate who filed for that Ward 4 seat, seeking his second term, which includes the Washington County precincts.
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