Who should run for Northfield city council? How about the Rice County board?

Northfield Ward and Precinct Map Rice County Commissioner Districts
Filings for local public offices began last week. Open seats include three on the City Council (1st and 4th Wards, one at-large) and two on the Rice County Board (Districts 2 and 4).  It closes next Tuesday, June 1, at 5 pm. More info on the home page of the League of Women Voters of Northfield. See the Northfield Ward and Precinct Map (PDF) and the Rice County District Commissioners Map (PDF).

As Tracy reported on Friday, Councilor Rhonda Pownell has filed for her at-large seat and Councilor Jon Denison has filed for his Ward 4 seat. Suzie Nakasian has filed for Jim Pokorney’s Ward 1 seat. He’s decided to not run for re-election. Nathan Kuhlman has filed for Ward 4. Since then, Galen Malecha has filed for his District 2 county board seat, according to the Nfld News.

Two years ago, these were the people who filed for the 4 City Council positions:


David Hvistendahl
Paul Hager
Mary Rossing
Eduardo Wolle
Jon Denison
James Schlicting
Lee Lansing

2nd Ward

Betsey Buckheit
Jerold Friedman

3rd Ward

Alan Lindberg
Erica Zweifel
Don McGee


Kris Vohs
David DeLong
Dana Graham

See the Northfield News story Election kickoff ’10 for more.


  1. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: I think you do Ms. Nakasian a disservice by saying that she decided to file for Pokorney’s seat “…as he has decided to not run.”

    I think the decision was based on inclination to serve and the need for some strong representation of the first ward, and I would doubt that Ms. Nakasian only saw her role as stepping into a possibly empty seat.

    May 24, 2010
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Good point, Kiffi. I worded that poorly. See my edit.

    May 24, 2010
  3. Scott Oney said:

    Griff: I’m surprised no one has filed yet to challenge Paul Beaumaster for county attorney. You’d think that with the anti-incumbent sentiment prevailing this year, coupled with issues specific to the Rice County attorney’s office, a qualified candidate would have a good chance of winning. The right candidate should attract strong support.

    May 25, 2010
  4. Tracy Davis said:

    I just checked the candidate filings – apparently Norman Butler has filed to run for the At-Large seat currently held by Rhonda Pownell.

    .-= (Tracy Davis is a blogger. See a recent post titled Monday roundup) =-.

    May 26, 2010
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Northfield Police Sergeant Mark Murphy plans to file for Rice County Sheriff later this week.

    May 26, 2010
  6. Patrick Enders said:

    Steve Engler has also declared his candidacy for the at-large seat.

    May 28, 2010
  7. kiffi summa said:

    This is good; I’m referring to the at-large challenges.
    Maybe if we can get some people who can think independently instead of creating little power hierarchies with the staff, we can get the EDA fixed…

    May 28, 2010
  8. Not that I know anything about Ms. Nakasian as yet, but is anyone else running for Ward 1? I believe in choice.

    May 28, 2010
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    So far no one else has filed for Ward 1, Felicity. Say, don’t you and Patrick live there? 😉

    May 31, 2010
  10. Patrick Enders said:

    Even if I had the time to spare, I wouldn’t want that job.

    May 31, 2010
  11. Yeah… Do the words “11 month old baby + full time job” mean anything to you? 🙂

    May 31, 2010
  12. Time pressures I can understand, but the job is a good one. Yes, it comes with frustrations, but so does any position which requires dealing with people and working by committee. It also has a high satisfaction rating. People tend to say “Oh that must be a thankless job…thank you for all you’re doing.”

    BTW, Suzie Nakasian is a current member of the Planning Commission, former member of the EQC, spearheaded the Northfield Grassroots transit initiative, organized the Northfield Contra Dances (Harvest Stomp and other stomping). She’s a fine candidate, but I urge Ward 1 residents to consider throwing their hats in the ring since, like Felicity, I think choice is good and helps define and refine the debate.
    .-= (Betsey Buckheit is a blogger. See a recent post titled Police/fire station update) =-.

    May 31, 2010
  13. I am frankly surprised that there are not more candidates for the 4th ward position. For a community that seems to envision itself as politically engaged this seems odd. CC will be taking decisions that will have a direct impact on numerous economic and quality-of-life issues for decades to come.

    More informations forthcoming. FYI, I have been staying the last week or so in a district where every vertical surface is covered with graffiti demanding the destruction of the state, and in which twice in the last 2 days I have run across persons injecting drugs in public, so I might be feeling a bit jaded.

    May 31, 2010
  14. Patrick Enders said:

    Well, there are 23 hours left for Victor Summa to declare a rematch.

    May 31, 2010
  15. Patrick Enders said:

    Dale Gehring has filed for Ward 4 Councilperson, against Jon Denison and Nathan Kuhlman.

    June 1, 2010
  16. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, Patrick. I don’t know Dale Gehring. Looks like he’s involved with St. John’s Lutheran church and the Northfield Hockey Association.

    June 1, 2010
  17. Griff Wigley said:

    Time’s up! Were there any last-minute filers?

    June 1, 2010
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Wow. Dan Freeman has filed to run against Galen Malecha for Rice County Dist. 2 commissioner.

    June 1, 2010
  19. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick Ganey has also filed for 4th Ward. Northfield News put up a story 20 minutes ago on the filings:

    Patrick has a blog titled Duck Fat and Politics:

    He has a Facebook page:

    He has a radio show on KYMN:

    He has a LinkedIn profile:

    He’s a Development Officer at Carleton College. A few years ago he was executive director of the Cannon River Watershed Partnership.

    June 1, 2010
  20. kiffi summa said:

    I am really sorry to see that Nathan Kuhlman dropped out of the 4th ward race… I think the two other gentlemen who are running against Jon Denison are both likely to be good candidates , but here’s why I am sorry to lose Mr. Kuhlman:
    I do not know Nathan very well, but I have had a lot of casual conversations with him, casual, but usually on serious subject matters. I appreciate his willingness to make a case for the principle he thinks is right and to both not be afraid to differ, but to also respect a differing point of view, while continuing to make his case.

    There is something that really disturbs me about the political arena in this community that I dearly love: that it is NOT OK to ‘make waves’ or to ‘sit in the front pew’ ideologically.

    I think ‘making waves’ is NOT exemplified by arguing for a principled right decision, based on the law, facts, and the common good, but often that ‘boldness’, sometimes even termed aggressiveness, is considered too much conflict to be tolerated.

    I think what SHOULD be thought to be aggressively ‘making waves’ are the actions of public officials ( whether elected , appointed, or hired employees) who flaunt the law, who ignore state statutes, who maliciously use their ‘power’, and who use hierarchies of power just to preserve the status quo, rather than constantly striving to improve the functioning of the community.

    ****Why should unlawfulness be tolerated for the sake of avoiding conflict? ****

    I think Nathan Kuhlman would have brought a refreshing insistence on fact based, intellectually grounded truth, rather than a depressive fear of conflict, to an elected group… so I am sorry he dropped out, worthy as the other two challengers to Jon Denison may be.

    June 2, 2010

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