BEMIDJI -- After completing nearly two terms in city government as Ward 1's council member, Michael Meehlhause has declared he's interested in representing the whole community.
On Tuesday, Meehlhause announced his candidacy for mayor of Bemidji in the 2020 election. The campaign is Meehlhause's third, after running for Ward 1 in 2012 and 2016.
"After being encouraged by community members and personal reflection, I am excited to announce my candidacy for mayor of Bemidji," Meehlhause said in a release. "The main role of the mayor is to set the tone and bring the community together around important issues while creating collaboration on the City Council. Since first elected, I've always tried to foster positive relationships, promote new ideas and learn from my experience to be a better representative."
Meehlhause was first elected in 2012, and became the youngest council member in Bemidji's history. He's been a resident of Bemidji since 2007 and is a 2012 BSU graduate.
In 2016, Meehlhause won re-election in an unopposed race. Along with his role on the council, Meehlhause is also on several city committees.
Meehlhause is the current chair of the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board and vice president of the Bemidji Economic Development Authority. Meehlhause's other committee assignments include the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Sustainability Committee and the Fire Department's long range planning.
"I fell in love with this community because I saw first-hand how the people of Bemidji come together to face important challenges, that's what the Bemidji state of mind is truly about," Meehlhause said. "As mayor, I will bring my experience and exuberance for this city to help us envision Bemidji's future together."
Current Mayor Rita Albrecht isn't seeking another term, as she's running for Minnesota State Senate District 5. Earlier this month, Albrecht earned the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's endorsement in the race.