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2010 elections: Barb Meuers will not seek re-election

Saying that it's time for "new blood," Bemidji City Councilor Barb Meuers announced Thursday that she will not seek re-election this year.

"Eight is enough as they say," Meuers said in a news release. "I look forward to moving on to new challenges."

But now, she noted, she has decided that "it's time for new blood on the Bemidji City Council."

Meuers was elected in 2002 to serve as the at-large representative on the council.

"Serving on the Bemidji City Council has been a very rewarding, although sometimes frustrating, experience," Meuers said. "I guess that's the nature of politics."

Meuers' announcement ensures that both at-large positions on the council will have new representation in 2011. Mayor Richard Lehmann, the other at-large councilor, already announced his intention of running as a Republican candidate to unseat state Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, who is the House 4A representative.

Meuers voiced her support of a diverse council comprised of both genders and American Indian representatives as well.

"I think it a shame, and maybe even a bit of an embarrassment for this city, that I am only the fourth woman to serve on the Bemidji City Council in its 115-year history," Meuers said. "It's time for more women to step forward and seek city and other elected office.

"Wouldn't it be inspiring to see a woman mayor and more American Indian candidates? "

Meuers said she enjoyed serving and working with other councilors and city staff. But she, especially, liked getting to know and working with Bemidji residents.

"I've met and worked with a lot of wonderful people," she said.

Meuers plans to stay active within the community, perhaps working on housing and keeping the downtown vibrant.

"It was a great experience," Meuers said. "I learned a lot and enjoyed the job."