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Micaiah Graham sees opportunity to build community connections if elected to Ward 5 seat

Micaiah Graham, a 22-year-old heating and air conditioning industry worker, is running for the open Ward 5 seat on the Bemidji City Council. He has a focus on community building as part of his platform.

Micaiah Graham for web.jpg
Micaiah Graham
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BEMIDJI -- Micaiah Graham may have only lived in Bemidji Ward 5 for a short time, but he's not short on inspiration to get involved in serving the city.

This week, Graham, 22, filed to run for the open Bemidji City Council seat to represent Ward 5 . A worker in the heating and air conditioning industry, Graham said he decided to run for office not long after he and his wife moved into their house in Bemidji at the beginning of 2021.

"We bought this house and my wife and I had been praying on why we are here, and one day, I was talking to my dad and I said 'maybe I'm here to run for city council and make a difference,'" Graham said. "Then, I checked the next day, and it was the day the special election had been announced."

While he's a newer resident to the ward, though, Graham is no stranger to the area. Graham lived most of his life in nearby Solway and did postsecondary education at Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College. He continued his education at the latter, taking classes related to heating and air conditioning.

If elected, Graham said he wants to help Bemidji come together.

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"I'd like to see the community be built more," Graham said. "I grew up skateboarding and that was before there was anywhere really to skateboard. Then the skate park was built, and I saw the community grow so fast. Friendships formed there and kids went out to try new things. I'd like to see more of that in the city."

Graham also said he'd like to inspire men in the area to do better.

"When I look at the world, the big thing I see is that men of the past sold out their responsibilities and the burden of being leaders to the state," Graham said. "I would like to see us encourage men to rise up and be good fathers, husbands and good leaders in society."

Policy-wise, Graham said a focus if elected would be making the city-owned event facility, the Sanford Center, profitable.

"If it was at all possible, I'd like to see the Sanford Center have a profit," Graham said. "I feel like if they found the right use for it, and the right events to have there, it could be great. If it's not, I feel a decision has to be made, because losing money is never a good thing, and I don't know if that is it being sold, torn down or repurposed, but if it's not making money, it isn't working."

Graham is one of four candidates running for the position, the others including Lynn Eaton, Bill Batchelder and Don Heinonen. The filing period for the Ward 5 race closes on Dec. 14.

Matthew Liedke is a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He is originally from International Falls and now resides in Bemidji. He's a 2009 graduate of Rainy River Community College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead. At the Pioneer, he covers government, politics, health and economic development. He can be reached at (218) 333-9791 or by email at mliedke@bemidjipioneer.com.
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