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Erik Burgess, Published March 27 2014

Spirit Room executive director to run for Cass County Commission

FARGO – A nonprofit director here will seek a spot on the Cass County Commission.

Dawn Morgan, who heads The Spirit Room, 111 Broadway, said she is gathering the 300 petition signatures needed to run for county commissioner.

She is seeking the District 2 seat of Vern Bennett, who has reached his term limit of three four-year terms.

Morgan, 67, said she’s been considering running for about six years. The Spirit Room offers artist studios and exhibition space, as well as community space for yoga and meditation.

“I’ve been executive director of The Spirit Room, which I’m continuing to do, but I really have been missing being involved with the larger community,” she said.

Commissioners must live within their district, but they are elected by the entire county. District 2 in Cass County covers Fargo from Main Avenue south to Interstate 94, and from 45th Street South east to the Red River.

While Morgan is a born-and-raised Fargoan and would represent a section of Fargo on the county board, she said she’s interested in finding out more about rural county issues.

It’s something she picked up from her father, who worked for the National Weather Service and used to travel up and down the Red River to talk with rural weather observers, who helped him track and report the weather.

“Many times, we went along with him, and I was always really interested in, you know, just reaching out a little bit,” she said.

Morgan said she has “no ax to grind” with any particular issue. She’s looking to be involved and share the experience and knowledge she’s gained as a longtime Fargo resident.

“Being in this position would be a learning experience for me, too, just to know more about the place that I live,” she said.

Arland Rasmussen, the West Fargo police chief who is retiring in June, is circulating a petition to run for the District 4 seat being vacated by Darrell Vanyo, who also has served his full 12 years. District 4 covers most of West Fargo.

Cass County commissioners serve a four-year term and are paid an annual salary of $21,622, not including benefits.

Prospective candidates must file by 4 p.m. April 7 to be placed on the ballot for the June 10 primary.

The top two vote-getters in the primary, both with a minimum of 300 votes, move onto the general election Nov. 4.

While some candidates are circulating petitions, no one had officially filed for the commission seats as of Thursday afternoon, said County Auditor Michael Montplaisir.

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