ST. CLOUD — A longtime St. Cloud City Council member announced Tuesday that she plans to run for the open mayor seat in November.

Carol Lewis, 67, is nearing the end of her third term on the council. She's one of three at-large members who represent the entire central Minnesota city of about 70,000 people, along with four council members elected by residents in their wards.

But instead of running for a fourth term, Lewis will campaign to fill the seat now occupied by Mayor Dave Kleis, who announced last week he will not run for a sixth term this fall.

"What I offer the community is experience and a sense of stability, especially in terms of this general election," Lewis said. "There's probably going to be a bunch of uncertainty, I think, on people's minds so my goal is to present a stable option."

Lewis graduated from St. Cloud Technical High School and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from St. Cloud State University. She then earned her juris doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline) and works an an attorney helping clients navigate social security disability insurance.

Prior to joining the council, Lewis served two terms on St. Cloud's school board. She currently serves on boards for the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Whitney Senior Center, and she is a member of St. Cloud's Kiwanis Club.

Lewis said her dozen years on the council give her a unique insight into city issues and the mayor's role. St. Cloud is one of just four cities in the state with a strong-mayor system, where the mayor acts as a chief executive and the council as a legislative body.

"Unless you're following very closely, you don't really get exposed to all the various issues that arise in a city," she said. "It's the mayor's responsibility to shepherd a bunch of that through. I've been through a lot of the controversial issues that come before the council."

Lewis said as mayor, she would continue to ensure the city is fiscally stable and encourage the innovation being spearheaded by leaders at city facilities. That includes the wastewater treatment plant, which is the state's only municipal facility to turn waste into fuel and fertilizer, and is poised to be the first wastewater facility in the world to produce green hydrogen on-site.

"We're leading resource recovery internationally. I want to continue that, promote that and expand that if possible," she said. "Because I think that is the way of the future."

Lewis said Kleis is known for his engagement efforts and said she would continue to be accessible with an open-door policy and by making her cell phone available to the public, as Kleis does.

She also agrees with Kleis' vision for downtown improvements, which are based on plans created by city officials over the past decade, and will take her advocacy of downtown one step further by pushing to build a baseball stadium there that could be used by the St. Cloud Rox and SCSU.

Lewis also wants to improve accessibility downtown, especially in the winter when plows leave piles of snow along the edge of sidewalks, she said.

If elected, Lewis would be the city's first female mayor. She's currently one of two women on the seven-member council.

"I have really wanted to break the glass ceiling for other women around here," she said. "I just decided to go for it — and I want to try to encourage more women to be in public service."

Kleis, 60, is the city's longest-serving mayor. He was first elected in 2005 and was re-elected while running unopposed in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In the last election, he earned about 63% of the vote.

The candidate filing period for the November election runs from May 21 to June 4. In St. Cloud, the mayor and three at-large seats are up for election. If three or more candidates file to run for mayor, a primary election will be held in August. All seats are nonpartisan. So far, Anne Buckvold is the only other candidate to announce a run for mayor.