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Mike Brown to seek 4th consecutive term as Grand Forks mayor

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown said he plans to run again for the job he has held since 2000. "I'd be happy to," Brown said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat." Brown mentioned his plans Tuesday while speaking before an annual meeting of area service...

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown
Photo from City of Grand Forks website

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown said he plans to run again for the job he has held since 2000.

"I'd be happy to," Brown said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Brown mentioned his plans Tuesday while speaking before an annual meeting of area service clubs at the Ramada Inn in Grand Forks.

"It just seems like a logical thing," Brown said. "Things have been going well. Let's keep them going in the right direction."

One more term

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In his first election, Brown defeated Pat Owens, who led the city during the flood of 1997 but faced voter frustration over the progress of recovery. He defeated write-in candidate Ross Weiler in 2004 and beat out two candidates, Mike McNamara and Larry Humble in 2008.

Brown said he enjoyed his work with the current City Council and city staff and looked forward to another term with them.

"You're the coach. That's my philosophy," he said of his relationship with other city government leaders.

Brown said that the city has been successful in getting the attention of business and collaborating with UND and Grand Forks Air Force Base during his time in office. If he wins a fourth term, he would like to help the Grand Forks Community Foundation increase its role in funding social projects.

"The Community Foundation is poised to be the next catalyst in town," he said.

Brown, 61, is Grand Forks' longest serving mayor. He is also a gynecologist and obstetrician with Altru Health systems.

His decision is a reversal of his earlier remarks that his third term would be his last.

"I probably said it every term," he said and repeated again that a new term would be his last.

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"I think so, there are young minds out there with better ideas," he said.

Looking back

Brown's speech to the service clubs looked back on the past year and cited the implementation of a quiet zone for train whistles, new local business connections in western North Dakota, partnerships with the Air Force base's unmanned aerial systems as well as immigrant integration efforts.

Retail has grown along the 32nd Avenue corridor, he said, and the town has had a construction boom with the value of building permits up by 75 percent from 2010 to 2011.

"An extra three to four months of extra summer didn't hurt," he said.

Brown also mentioned some of his predictions last year that were wrong.

"I did predict there would be much more support for the library," he said. A sales tax for a new building was defeated last year.

East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss, also speaking to the meeting of 13 service clubs, did not discuss predictions from the past year or for this year, but said the east side had successes with new downtown investments, including more than $1 million by Cabela's.

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"It's good to see Whitey's reopen with a younger group over there," he said.

Other seats

Brown is not the only Grand Forks leader facing re-election this year.

The terms of Council members Terry Bjerke, Eliot Glassheim, Curt Kreun and Doug Christensen end in June. Bjerke, Glassheim and Kreun said they have not decided yet, but Christensen said he will probably run again.

"At this point in time, I intend to run," he said.

Kreun, Christensen, Bjerke and Council member Hal Gershman were all elected the same year as Brown, though Bjerke has spent time off the council since then.

First elected in 1982, Glassheim is the longest serving council member.

Reach Bjorke at (701) 780-1117; (800) 477-6572, ext. 117; or send e-mail to cbjorke@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: MIKE BROWN
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