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Erik Burgess, Published April 04 2014

Rick Steen to give up Fargo School Board seat for County Commission run

FARGO – A longtime School Board member here announced Friday that he will vacate his seat and instead run for a seat on the Cass County Commission.

Rick Steen, 56, joins the growing list of those seeking a spot on the county board. His leaving the School Board ensures that the nine-member board will have at least three new faces after the June 10 election.

“This just really piqued my interest for continuing community service and doing something different, allowing, perhaps, some other people to get on the School Board,” Steen said Friday.

Steen, a certified public accountant and partner at the Fargo accounting and business consultant firm Eide Bailly, will seek the District 2 seat on the county board being vacated by Vern Bennett, who has reached his term limit of three four-year terms.

Dawn Morgan, 67, executive director for the Fargo nonprofit The Spirit Room, has also filed for the District 2 seat. The county officially verified Morgan’s petition to run Friday.

The filing deadline for the race is 4 p.m. Monday.

Steen said his work as a CPA, as well as his 12 years on the School Board, gives him the knowledge and experience that other candidates might not have.

“Unlike maybe some of the candidates, I do have a fairly good background in how government entities are governed and how they run and how they operate,” Steen said.

District 2 in Cass County covers Fargo from Main Avenue south to Interstate 94, and from 45th Street South east to the Red River.

Commissioners must live within their district, but they are elected by the entire county.

A petition with 300 signatures of eligible voters is needed to run for Cass County commissioner.

Two filed in District 4

Two have officially filed for the County Commission seat of Darrell Vanyo, who will also reach his term limit at the end of this year – Justin Vega of Fargo and retiring West Fargo Police Chief Arland Rasmussen.

Vega is first vice chairman of legislative District 16’s executive committee for the Republican Party.

Vega said in a news release that he has been committed to this race since last October, regularly attending Cass County meetings and meeting with department chairs, commissioners and other county leaders.

Rasmussen is retiring as West Fargo police chief in June. District 4 covers most of West Fargo and a portion of Fargo west of 45th Street South.

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

For the County Commission race, the June 10 election is a primary. The top two vote-getters in the primary move on to the Nov. 4 general election if they receive at least 300 votes.

7 run for School Board

Other than Steen, two other incumbents are not seeking re-election to the Fargo School Board.

Kris Wallman is seeking one of the District 11 seats in the state House of Representatives, and Rusty Papachek decided not to run for re-election.

As of Friday afternoon, two more people have filed for the Fargo School Board race. Five seats are open on the nine-member board.

  • Tyler Anderson, who works at Eide Bailly.

  • David Paulson, a retired teacher who last worked for the West Fargo School District two years ago. He now works in sales at Scheels All Sports.

    Other filers so far are:

  • Teri-Lee James, a partner in Two Rivers Veterinary Hospital in West Fargo.

  • Scott Dahms, who owns Dahms Design and Home First Solutions.

  • Jennifer Benson, who works in sales in the medical industry.

  • Dinah Goldenberg, the current School Board president and a volunteer on several area boards.

  • Linda Boyd, a School Board member and executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

    School Board seats carry four-year terms. Board members are paid $1,000 per month.

    Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt contributed to this report.

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