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Erik Burgess, Published January 14 2013

Voxland will not seek re-election as Moorhead mayor

MOORHEAD – When Mayor Mark Voxland announced he would not be running for re-election this year, it surprised even the most seasoned of council members.

“It was news to me, too,” Councilwoman Nancy Otto said after the meeting, looking a little startled after Voxland, mayor since 2001, made the announcement in his state of the city address at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

“I’m fully engaged,” he told The Forum after the meeting. “There’s lots of things needing to be done this year, and I’ll be going full steam ahead.”

Before being elected mayor, Voxland was a councilman for the city’s Third Ward for 14 years.

While he formally announced the decision Monday, Voxland said his mind has been made up for quite some time.

“In August of 2009, I made the decision to run again, and if I were re-elected, it would for sure be my last term,” Voxland said. “I hadn’t planned to run because I really thought that two terms was enough, but the 2009 flood was so horrific, and I felt we really had the opportunity to do something major in Moorhead.”

Voxland started his State of the City address by heralding the city’s achievements in improving flood protection, noting that only 3.5 miles of dike are left to be built before Moorhead is protected to 42.5 feet.

Otto said the council will continue to look to his leadership as long as he is mayor.

“It was very courteous of him to announce this early enough so that any interested candidates could get together a committee and run a campaign,” she said.

The longtime councilwoman and mayor pro tempore in Voxland’s absence smiled when asked if she was considering a run.

“I’ve been asked a number of times, but at this point I am not making any decision,” Otto said.

Voxland said he wanted to announce his decision early enough to give everyone who was interested in running a good chance to mull it over.

“I don’t see anybody as being a frontrunner,” he said.

Moorhead residents will elect a new mayor in November.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518

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