Ron Johnson, Gwenia Fiskevold Gould to face off in Bemidji's Ward 1 special election

The filing period for the upcoming Ward 1 special election has ended, with two candidates filing: Ron Johnson and Gwenia Fiskevold Gould.

Ron Johnson and Gwenia Fiskevold Gould.jpg
Ron Johnson and Gwenia Fiskevold Gould will face off for the Ward 1 seat on the Bemidji City Council in a special election set for April 11.

BEMIDJI — The filing period for the upcoming Ward 1 special election has ended, and two candidates will run against each other for the seat on the Bemidji City Council.

Gwenia Fiskevold Gould will compete with current Ward 3 Councilor Ron Johnson in the special election, which is set to take place on Tuesday, April 11.

Fiskevold Gould is the director of annual giving at the Bemidji State University Alumni and Foundation and is involved in several local boards and commissions, including the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Commission and the Bemidji Community and Police Advisory Board.

Her interest in community engagement began at a young age and she hopes that the combination of her past work experience and her current role as an engaged community member will help prepare her for a position on the city council.

“Our community has some big decisions to make and challenges that need to be addressed,” Fiskevold Gould shared. “There are many housing concerns, such as a lack of affordable housing and rental codes, the need to maintain and effectively connect our parks and trails systems and increasing citizen engagement in our governance.”


She lives in Bemidji with her husband Joe, who was recently elected to the Beltrami County Board, and their dog Coya.

Johnson, who filed for this race since he will no longer be eligible to run for his current ward following last year’s redistricting, has been a Bemidji City Councilor since he was first elected to represent Ward 3 in 2000.

A life-long resident of Bemidji, Johnson is a graduate of Bemidji State University and works as a design and promotions manager at Lakeland PBS in Bemidji.

“My years on the council have been extremely rewarding and I believe my leadership has had a positive impact on Bemidji and the surrounding area,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been actively involved in city and local governance, representing Bemidji in several local and state-wide committees and organizations, including currently serving as the president of the League of Minnesota Cities.

This will be the second election Johnson has filed for in quick succession. He also ran for the At-Large seat in last November’s general election but lost to then Ward 1 Councilor Audrey Thayer.

Voting on Tuesday, April 11, will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and take place at the American Indian Resource Center at 1630 Birchmont Drive NE.

Early voting will be available through Monday, April 10, at Bemidji City Hall. The hours for early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and additionally from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 10.


Absentee ballots can be requested in person at city hall, by emailing the city clerk at or by calling (218) 759-3570. Ballots must be returned to city hall by election day, either by dropping them off in person or through the mail.

Nicole Ronchetti is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on local government and community health.
What To Read Next
Get Local