BEMIDJI -- Bemidji is at a crossroad in the eyes of Jorge Prince.
To meet the moment, Prince said the city needs courageous, open and timely leadership, and he feels he is ready to provide it.
This week, Prince, 48, filed to run for the position of Bemidji Mayor, making it the second time he's done so. Prince ran for mayor in 2014, but was unsuccessful.
"Since that election, I've been approached by community members every election and have been asked to run," Prince said. "I had resisted it, but this year is unique."
In speaking with the Pioneer, Prince discussed the challenges the city faces with addressing chemicals near the city's water wells with a new treatment facility, operations at the Sanford Center, and homelessness.
"All of this is going on, while at the same time our community has always struggled with low paying jobs to provide a living wage," Prince said. "Those are all of our issues, and they're coming to a peak at the same time we're dealing with the challenges of the current pandemic. The decisions our city makes in all of those areas moving forward will determine in large the level of opportunity our citizens will have."
Prince also said as mayor he would work to ensure an open City Hall that listens.
"It's my hope to run a city government that's transparent, and earn trust from the voters," Prince said. "I believe our city works best when its citizens work best. Our city government has an obligation to provide a safe, stable and positive environment for everyone."
Outside of politics, Prince is a graduate from BSU and Chief Financial Officer at LaValley Industries. Prince also has experience as executive director of BSU's Small Business Development Center from 2007-2010.
Also running in the mayoral race is current Ward 1 Council member Michael Meehlhause. Elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016, Meehlhause is an academic advisor at TrekNorth School and is head coach of their Nordic Ski Team.
Current Mayor Rita Albrecht isn't seeking another term in the role, as she's running for Minnesota Senate District 5.