Special City Council Election in Bemidji: Ward 4

Mar 3, 2017

Citizens for an Informed Electorate, the City of Bemidji, and Northern Community Radio sponsored a 2-hour candidate forum on March 2nd, for candidates for Ward 4 Bemidji City Council. The special election is to fill the seat vacated by former council member Reed Olson when he was elected as a  Beltrami County Commissioner last fall.

Present at the forum were:

  • Justin Beaulieu
  • David Lalone
  • Richard Lehmann
  • Linda Lemmer
  • Patrick Plemel
  • James Ravnikar
  • Jim Thompson

The audience submitted questions to the candidates, and moderators Michael Naylor and Maggie Montgomery asked as many as time allowed. Questions addressed to the candidates covered:

  • Whether or not candidates supported a "hospitality tax" to support the Sanford event center
  • Curbside recycling in the city
  • Steps to take to reconcile racial and cultural disparities in Bemidji
  • Candidates' volunteerism
  • The city council's role in preventing and reducing pollution, especially along shorelines and waterways
  • Views on current management of the Sanford event center and what changes, if any, the candidate would recommend
  • Bemidji's greatest strengths and challenges in the next two years
  • Suggestions to address the deer (over)population in Ward 4

The Ward 4 special election will be held March 14th. If one candidate wins with greater than 50% of the votes cast, they will be declared the winner. If not, the 2 candidates receiving the most votes will move on to a second election to be held Tuesday May 2 2017. 

Of the 8 people on the ballot, one (David Kostamo) has moved out of the city and is ineligible for office. Mr. Kostamo was not present for the candidate forum.

This election is open to residents of Ward 4 only.  Absentee ballots are available on the City’s website. Absentee votes can be cast at City Hall or by mail. Call the city clerk’s office for more information: 759-3570.

Here is a link to the video of the forum. The video is blank for the first minute or so...don't give up!