The special election for Bemidji's at-large seat on the council will have two candidates familiar with city politics along with a couple newcomers.
The spot opened up in June after former at-large council member Jim Thompson announced he was stepping down due to health reasons.
Daniel Jourdain, 35, is a newcomer to Bemidji politics with a background in law enforcement. He is running with the goal of becoming more involved in the community.
“One of the big things I think we need to do is build bridges for the community, actually listen to the voices of our community members," Jourdain said, "I believe that we need to build better partnerships with the diverse and ethnic populations, with my law enforcement background, I think that public safety is a No. 1 priority.”
Dave Larson, 76, is a former mayor of Bemidji, sees this as a time help build up the economy in Bemidji.
“There are multiple things we need to work on involving the city," Larson said. "There are economical and social issues, and we need to get to things like housing and homelessness. I just want to make sure the city is run in a fiscally responsible and socially responsible manner.”
Linda Lemmer, 74, ran for the at large position in 2010, but lost to Jim Thompson and now is running with hopes of addressing issues related to road construction, the Sanford Center and racial injustices.
"I think that the biggest issue right now is how to fund the Sanford Center, whether it's a increase in the hospitality tax or new management, we need to make a change," Lemmer said. "I want people to know I am a people person and I listen to what people are telling me, I'm not afraid to change my mind if given additional information.”
Roger Schmidt, 75, the fourth at-large candidate, also thinks there needs to be changes with the Sanford Center.
“I have concerns about the Sanford Center," Schmidt said. "It does provide a lot of benefits to the city and I think that is a very positive thing we have to think about. But on the negative side, the management of that building is costing the city a lot of money and even prior to the COVID-19 situation we have had virtually nothing going on there. So I think that it needs a better management team and it should be run by the city itself and that should reduce the cost significantly."
Schmidt also wants to address the impact COVID-19 has had on area businesses.
"There are definitely other areas we need to look at like the situation with the downtown business area and how we are going to support those people that are really struggling with the impact of COVID," Schmidt said. "The big box stores are doing fine, but we need to look at the restaurants and small clothing stores, they have had a really tough time and so we need to help figure out how to support those people."
- Age: 35
- Has lived in the Bemidji area for 30 years
- Employment specialist with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
- Law enforcement degree from Leech Lake Tribal College
- Age: 74
- Lifelong Bemidji resident
- Retired from the state of Minnesota as a rehabilitation counselor
- Bachelor's degree in social work from BSU, master's in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout
- Age: 76
- Has lived in Bemidji for 13 years
- Semi-retired freelance architect
- Bachelor's degree in architectural drafting from North Dakota State College of Science
- Age: 75
- Has lived in Bemidji for 58 years
- Retired educator and superintendent of the Red Lake School District
- Bachelor's degree in elementary education from BSU and educational administration from St. Cloud State University