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Freshman Council member Grandstrand announces run for mayor

Grand Forks City Council member Tyrone Grandstrand entered the race for mayor Wednesday, a week after Mayor Mike Brown said he would try for a fourth term.

Tyrone Grandstrand

Grand Forks City Council member Tyrone Grandstrand entered the race for mayor Wednesday, a week after Mayor Mike Brown said he would try for a fourth term.

"Over the next five months, I'll be reaching out to thousands of residents," he told a group of people gathered at Winship Elementary School to discuss what they want to happen in the city and to support him.

"I believe people in Grand Forks want a real voice," he said, reiterating his theme of listening to ideas.

Grandstrand identified the city's shrinking school enrollments, a recent loss of grant money for neighborhood development and outmigration of young people as problems that need attention.

He also said he would promote smart growth within the city to control infrastructure costs, cooperation among city entities, improved neighborhoods and better city services.

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Without mentioning Brown, he said that city leaders have not always followed citizens' wishes on the planning of projects such as the Alerus Center, the proposed city-funded water park nearby and a proposed new library.

"Basically, the city in crucial moments requires leadership willing to listen and give people what they want," he said.

Grandstrand, 26, was elected to the City Council from Ward 2 in 2010 and traces his political involvement to student government at UND, where he was student body president. He graduated in December with bachelor's degrees in economics, political science and honors.

The mayor's job is considered part-time in Grand Forks and pays $24,000 a year.

Grandstrand said he would treat it as a full-time job and not take another full-time position. He said he has a part-time job teaching math at Northland Community and Technical College.

Brown, 61, was elected mayor in 2000 and is the longest-serving Grand Forks mayor.

Asked about the difficulty of a race against a more experienced and better established opponent, Grandstrand said he would focus on the future of the city. "The difficulty, that's not as much a factor," he said. "The important thing is that we think about our future."

Grandstrand was joined by about two dozen people at Winship, including friends, his mother and his wife, Becca, along with residents who were asked to list issues they would like to improve in town.

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Their ideas included better paying jobs, better use of public green spaces, less bureaucracy and more effective government.

"In order to bring money, we've got to have jobs, good jobs, career jobs," said Brad Betting, a former City Council candidate.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
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