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Published November 01 2009

Forum editorial: Re-elect Voxland to 3rd term

Mark Voxland’s steady, informed leadership has earned him a third term as Moorhead’s mayor. His experience as a City Council member and mayor has equipped him well to manage the challenges that are sure to confront the city in the next four years.

It’s not the time for a newcomer, no matter how sincere. Challenger Travis Reimche is a confident, competent candidate, but brings no elected office experience to his candidacy. He believes his work in the private sector qualifies him to be mayor, but the private sector is not always the best template for the public sector. He would have done himself a service by seeking a council seat first, then going after the mayor’s job in the future.

Voxland is not one to make headlines or jump in front of a TV camera, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His leadership style is about building consensus around contentious public policy issues. He’s had significant successes, but concedes there is more to accomplish, including permanent flood control, stimulating economic development and dealing with a looming budget crisis precipitated by cuts in state aid to cities. He’s ready to take on those challenges.

Voxland’s record of service to his city is admirable. Moorhead voters should give him a third term.

For City Council

For the open seat in the 1st Ward, Dan Bacon gets the nod. He grew up in the ward, has no particular ax to grind with the council, and readily admits a new council member has a lot to learn. He’s thoughtful, informed and enthusiastic about Moorhead’s vital role in the metro area.

Luther Stueland’s view of government is essentially anti-government and would be anathema to Moorhead’s municipal traditions. John Graves is a student of city policy and would be a good council member. But on balance, Bacon is better prepared.

In the 2nd Ward, incumbent John Rowell should be re-elected. We’ve not always agreed with Rowell’s pronouncements, but overall he’s been an effective, hard-working councilman for three terms. He is a seasoned, studious problem-solver who is willing to take the heat when he puts the city’s broad needs ahead of parochial interests.

Challenger Mark O. Altenburg is an energetic and engaged candidate. He knows the issues, but he wears his political persuasion like a strobe-lit billboard, a factor that guarantees divisiveness. And the council, ideally, is supposed to be nonpartisan.

Challenger Joe Sumers is an enthusiastic, sincere candidate, who, at 23 years of age, should nurture his interests in local politics.

In the 3rd Ward, challenger Brenda Elmer is better suited for the council than two-term incumbent Lauri Winterfeldt. Elmer’s understanding of city issues is impressive for a first-time candidate. Her emphasis on improving communication and cooperation is in contrast to Winterfeldt’s confrontational style. While the incumbent is knowledgeable and decisive, she can be polarizing. As Moorhead faces a challenging future, Elmer’s temperament is a better fit for the council.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.