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Sandra Marshall enters Grand Forks City Council race in Ward 5

Sandra Marshall

Sandra Marshall, CEO of Development Homes Inc., announced her bid for the Grand Forks City Council Ward 5 seat Wednesday, making her the third candidate to enter a race for the soon-to-be vacant post.

“I just love public service,” she said. “It was an opportunity that I was interested in, and I got a fair amount of encouragement.”

Marshall will square off in the June 14 election against C.T. Marhula, a former Grand Forks Public Schools board member, as well as Josh Brown, an insurance agent and a member of the area Chamber’s board of directors.

Incumbent Doug Christensen is not seeking re-election.

Marshall, 62, has spent her career in the human services industry working for multiple housing organizations, the New Mexico Department of Health and the North Dakota Department of Human Services. She is a former assistant professor and field coordinator for UND's Department of Social Work, where she worked in the early 2000s.

A graduate of Grand Forks Central High School, Marshall holds a bachelor's degree in social work from UND and a master's degree in the same field from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Marshall said she feels called to serve and plans to use her experience leading Development Homes to gain a close, intimate knowledge of city finances, an important part of accountability, she added.

“I have concerns about this being an affordable community for people,” she said, adding her hope that the city can “provide encouragement and or incentives for low-income housing.”

The workforce is “stretched thin,” she said, adding she wants to explore ways to broaden the pool of workers in the area. One way to start is by tapping into many retirees who are likely looking for part-time jobs, she said.

She said she stands against a new sales tax, citing concerns on the city’s affordability.

“I think that I’ve got the right combination of business leadership, government experience, skills and values to bring to bear to help make Grand Forks a great place to live,” she told the Herald.

The city’s proposed 0.75 percent increase to its sales tax has been discussed as a potential November ballot measure and has been linked to road repair, a new library -- which Marshall supports -- as well as a new water treatment plant and a 42nd Street underpass at DeMers Avenue.

Asked how she would pay for those measures without the tax, she said finding efficiencies in the city’s budget or programs that may soon expire would be good places to start.

“I think that’s a viable question, and I think that’s something that I would like to look into,” she said.

Meet Sandra Marshall

Age: 62

Address: 500 block of Terrace Drive

Professional experience: CEO of Development Homes Inc., 2006-present; assistant professor and field coordinator for UND Department of Social Work, 2003-2006

Political experience: Ran for Grand Forks City Council in 2012

Education: Grand Forks Central High School 1971; bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from UND (1975) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (1976), respectively

Community involvement: Treasurer of High Plains Fair Housing Center Board; past president, current active member of North Dakota Association of Community Providers; and helped create the local Nonprofit Business Alliance.

Family: husband, Doug; three adult daughters

Why should voters choose you?

“I think that I’ve got the right combination of business leadership, government experience, skills and values to bring to bear to help make Grand Forks a great place to live.”

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

(701) 780-1108