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Erik Burgess, Published December 26 2013

'There's just too many things going on right now,' Fargo Mayor Walaker says in decision to run again

FARGO – Mayor Dennis Walaker has announced he will seek re-election in 2014.

Walaker, 72, was first elected mayor in 2006 after about 16 years as the city‘s public works director. He made the re-election announcement on Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve been thinking it for some time,” Walaker said in an interview shortly after his announcement. “And there’s just too many things going on right now, and I’m feeling pretty good and I had a lot of people ask me.”

Walaker said the city has multiple projects in the works that require a full-time mayor. He pointed to the proposed Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion, the new City Hall and the new public health office.

Before him, Bruce Furness served as mayor from 1994-2006. Furness was known to put in 40 hours a week for the mayor’s job, even though it’s considered a part-time position, a tradition that Walaker says he’s continued.

“I’ve been around for a long enough period of time where I understand what’s important for the city and I think I’ve done a good job,” Walaker said. “If the people agree with me, that’s fine. If they don’t, I will go off into the sunset without any remorse whatsoever.”

Walaker said he has about $2,000 left over in his campaigning war chest, but said he doesn’t plan to run a big campaign. He said he won’t buy billboards, take up ad space or even print out brochures.

The term-limit for city commissioner or mayor is three successive terms, unless they’ve served in both capacities, then they can serve a total of four successive terms between the two roles, said Sharon Odegaard, executive assistant for the commission.

The mayor’s annual salary is approximately $28,860, not including benefits, Odegaard said.