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Emelie Rivera retains Ward 4 seat on Bemidji City Council

Incumbent Emelie Rivera beat out former Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoefer in the race for the city council's Ward 4 seat in the election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, receiving 53.78% of the vote.

Emelie Rivera web.jpg
Emelie Rivera
Pioneer file photos
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BEMIDJI — Incumbent Emelie Rivera emerged the victor in the race for the Ward 4 Bemidji City Council seat, receiving 53.78% of the vote in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, beating challenger David Hoefer 505-431.

First elected to the council in 2018, Rivera is the director of civil rights and restorative justice at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College and also serves on the state guardian ad litem board.

Her opponent, Hoefer, served as fire chief for the Bemidji Fire Department for 11 years before his retirement in December 2020.

"Dave Hoefer provided many, many years of service to the community and I really appreciate that role he has served in," Rivera said.

Rivera said she wasn't sure what to expect going into Election Day but is thankful to the voters for giving her another chance to serve on the council.

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"I'm very honored and happy to have the chance to keep working on the things that have been in front of us the past four years," Rivera said of her victory. "I didn't enter into this with any set agenda. I just want to handle things as they come our way."

During her time on the council, she has been a part of several committees and helped create the Police Advisory Commission and the Sustainability Commission.

She hopes to continue to refocus things on the community and find the best way to serve Bemidji residents while also ensuring the environment and resources are protected for locals and tourists for generations to come.

"We're taking into consideration what people want, but also making the hard decisions when it comes to looking at the facts," Rivera explained. "Sometimes the hard decisions come and they may not be the popular choice but we really need to weigh all the elements and not just do what makes some people happy. We have to be comfortable being uncomfortable."

Rivera also added that she wants to keep hearing from the public on the needs that need to be met in town, whether it's housing, development, concerns with the jail or the Rail Corridor.

"I look forward to continuing to have opportunities to be educated on those various perspectives so we can make good policy decisions," she added. "I'm looking forward to continuing on with the trajectories we've been on and taking on new projects as they come."

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or abraught@bemidjipioneer.com.
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