Former UND student body president running for City Council

Matthew Ternus, a prevention and education specialist at the Community Violence Intervention Center, said his passion for being involved in the community has motivated him to run for City Council.

Former UND Student Body President Matthew Ternus is pictured in this Herald file photo. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — A former UND student body president is running for Grand Forks City Council, hoping to fill a seat that will be open after current council member Katie Dachtler steps down at the end of the current term.

Matthew Ternus, a prevention and education specialist at the Community Violence Intervention Center, said his passion for being involved in the community has motivated him to run for City Council.

“So many people have done so much for me and to have the opportunity to give back and hear from neighbors and help them work together to champion certain subjects,” he said. “That’s the passion for me.”

The experience Ternus gained from being student body president, working with current city leaders and lobbying at the state Legislature has given him what he calls a “unique skill set.” Ternus served as student body president during the 2020-21 school year.

“I’ll be able to step in on day one, ready to go,” Ternus said.


Ward 2 encompasses a large section of northern Grand Forks.

As Ternus starts his campaign, he said would like to work on making Grand Forks a more inclusive and welcoming place, addressing how to make his ward more affordable and how to bring quality jobs to the community.

“I’m just really excited and ready to get out there and start conversing with my neighbors here in the ward,” Ternus said. “I like to say change starts with conversation and conversation starts with ‘hey neighbor,’ so that’s going to be the big theme of the campaign.”

Dachtler said there are many reasons why she isn’t running for reelection, but said she has “learned a lot” from serving on the City Council and, previously, on the School Board.

“I wouldn’t take back any of that time, but it is a big commitment and at this point I think it is just time for new leaders to be able to have that opportunity to lead,” Dachtler said. “It’s much more difficult trying to run against an incumbent than to have a first-time run. I also think I can be a much more effective, engaged citizen at this point than as a sitting council member.”

In a statement posted on Facebook, Dachtler expressed her gratitude toward the community for “showing up, engaging in thoughtful conversation and challenging me to be a better leader in your efforts to make Grand Forks simply Grand.”

“The point of being an elected official elected by the people that you are to serve is to make sure you’re making their lives better in all of the ways,” she wrote. “Even if you don’t necessarily think that it’s an important thing or that you have not experienced it yourself, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day you were elected to serve a wide swath of individuals and you need to show up for them, no matter what.”

The election will be held on June 14.

Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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