Peterson seeking Ward 2 seat to complete projects, grow city

Josh Peterson .jpg

BEMIDJI -- In Josh Peterson's view, having a person with energy and vision on the Bemidji City Council can help drive projects and objectives over the finish line.

In the months ahead, Peterson wants to be the one to provide that passion.

During the filing period that closed last week, Peterson, 39, filed to run in the special election for Bemidji Ward 2. The election, scheduled for Aug. 11, was declared after Ward 2 Council member Mike Beard resigned, citing health reasons.

Peterson, who's originally from Bemidji, earned a degree in journalism from BSU and then attended the University of Minnesota, where he received a degree in political science. After living in the Twin Cities from 2004-2010, Peterson returned to Bemidji with some ideas.

"When I was living in Minneapolis for those few years, I was able to see what was happening in Bemidji from the outside, and it really rallied a lot of ideas and brought me back home," Peterson said. "Some of those ideas I implemented and used to improve the First City of Lights and the Water Carnival."


Peterson worked to improve the community events as a member of the Bemidji Jaycees organization. Now he's planning to work with the community as a member of the city government, something he's considered for a while.

"It's something that's always been on my mind, and something I saw myself doing since high school," Peterson said. "I thought that now was the right time. The city is kind of at a crossroads."

If he's successful in his Ward 2 bid, Peterson said one priority will be growing Bemidji by making it more business friendly while also continuing investments in infrastructure. As part of that subject, Peterson also said he'd focus on creating affordable housing for the city's workforce.

Public safety is another important subject for Peterson, who said he'll support police and fire departments and work to protect the city's natural resources.

"I have a long term vision to grow our tax base without having to raise taxes and finish projects that we've started," Peterson said. "I'd like to see the development at the South Shore come to fruition and explore the Railroad Corridor."

Professionally, Peterson has worked for Lakeland PBS News and is now the executive director of Visit Bemidji.

His opponent in Ward 2 is Jaime Thibodeaux. In 2018, Beard defeated Thibodeaux 397-356 to win the seat.

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