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Published March 02 2012

Sobolik to launch second bid for Fargo City Commission

FARGO – After falling short two years ago, Melissa Sobolik is launching another bid for Fargo City Commission.

Sobolik has planned an official campaign kick-off for March 13, but she’s already begun circulating the petitions necessary to be on the June ballot.

“I’m excited to give it another run,” she said Friday. “It’s (about) getting a new point of view, someone who’s thinking about the people a little bit more than the finances.”

In the 2010 city election, Sobolik garnered nearly 22 percent of the vote, but that wasn’t enough to unseat incumbents Tim Mahoney and Brad Wimmer, who received 40 and 30 percent of the vote, respectively.

Being elected to city leadership would be a chance to represent the younger generation of Fargo, Sobolik said.

“I’d like to see someone from my generation on the City Commission,” said the 32-year-old Courtenay, N.D., native. “We talk about how to keep our young people here, but we're talking about it without including them.”

Current city commissioners range from 51 to 71 years old.

Sobolik’s agenda proposes an intergenerational youth commission or integrating young adults – including teenagers, college students and young professionals – into existing city boards.

Sobolik is the director of member and client services at the Great Plains Food Bank in Fargo, and she’s previously been involved in other nonprofit work and community service in the region.

She currently serves on the city’s Historic Preservation Committee through an appointment by Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker.

Sobolik isn’t the only youthful Fargoan seeking a spot on the commission this year. Anthony Gehrig, 29, is also aiming to challenge the two incumbents in this year’s June election.

Commissioners Mike Williams and Dave Piepkorn have both filed for re-election to their seats on the board.

Prospective candidates have until 4 p.m. April 13 to submit the proper paperwork to the auditor in City Hall, 200 3rd St. N.

Candidates must be at least 18 years old and a Fargo resident for six months. To appear on the ballot, they must submit a statement of interest and a petition for nomination with 300 signatures, or pay a $100 filing fee.

The annual salary for a Fargo commissioner is $21,938.

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