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Dave Olson, Published November 04 2009

Voxland wins third term as mayor

Mark Voxland clinched a third term as Moorhead’s mayor Tuesday with 59 percent of the vote to challenger Travis Reimche’s 41 percent.

Voxland captured 4,321 votes and Reimche 3,035 votes in final but unofficial results in Moorhead’s municipal election.

Voxland said he was humbled by the results.

“The citizens seem to really be happy with the direction the city has gone the last eight years while I’ve been mayor, and seemed to embrace the ideas I was talking about during the campaign,” he said.

Voxland said he gets a knot in his stomach every time he files for office and the same thing happens on election night.

He said Tuesday’s election was probably the most intense of all.

“I just really felt the need to get a message out this time,” he said.

Reimche said he felt his campaign opened a lot of eyes and he said the outcome of the election won’t discourage him from considering running for elected office in the future.

Reimche said given the number of votes he received running against a likeable incumbent, “I’m actually encouraged.”

The election offered voters a choice between a mayoral candidate with more than 20 years of city government experience and a newcomer who focused on what he said was a need for change.

Voxland, 59, who was first elected to the Moorhead City Council 22 years ago, has been mayor for the past eight years.

The last time Voxland ran for mayor, in 2005, he won with 85 percent of the vote.

This election was Reimche’s first bid for elected office.

He said voters he talked to during his campaign expressed anger and dissatisfaction with the city.

“Citizens want to see improvements. Elected officials really should be providing service to the citizens,” said Reimche, director of admissions for Rasmussen College.

Reimche previously worked as a manager for a number of businesses, including Sprint, and he said his experience has honed leadership skills that would help guide the city through difficult financial times.

Voxland, whose family owns an electrical contracting business, said the spring flood and budget problems created by cuts in state aid to cities made 2009 a difficult year for incumbents.

He said, however, that residents he talked to were appreciative of moves the council has made to better prepare the city for future floods.

Voxland also said residents were appreciative of steps the city has taken to control costs, including a pay freeze that affects most city employees.

He said the cuts in state aid likely will continue and in the future the city will need to find ways to partner with other local government agencies to provide services.

Voxland said the city should also explore privatizing some services it now provides.

Reimche said one of his major goals as mayor would be to work with developers and real estate agents to expand the city’s business and residential base.

He said Moorhead’s firefighters and police did an excellent job during the flood, but he said the city needs to work on developing better communications with residents during times of crisis.

Reimche said when it comes to trimming budgets, there is always room to streamline, but he said until he joined the council he could not provide specifics on where Moorhead should cut.

He said his campaign door-knocking continued through this past weekend. Reimche said he knew it was time to stop when he found himself sharing doorsteps with trick-or-treaters.

Voxland said he continued his door-to-door campaigning to the end as well, but he said he got the feeling about the middle of last week that many people had made up their minds about who they were going to vote for.

The mayoral job is for four years and carries a salary of $19,476.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555