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Thorstad announces bid for Mayor

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West Fargo City Commissioner Mike Thorstad would like to advance to the top rung of the city government ladder.

Towards that end, he has announced his candidacy for mayor of West Fargo, one of several city positions open to bids in the June 8 Primary Election. A commissioner since 2008, Thorstad will be challenging current Mayor Rich Mattern, who has already made public his intention to seek a third four-year term.

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Thorstad emphasized Monday he is "not running against the present mayor. I am running for the position. My intent is to conduct a positive campaign to make my views known. Our current mayor has been in office for a long time, and in my opinion, it's time for a change of style and direction in the city's leadership. As one of the fastest growing cities in the state, I think we can have better, more involved management of city affairs, and I am at a point in my life where I have the time to dedicate to doing just that."

Thorstad added that his business management experience, coupled with two years of service on the City Commission, have prepared him to take on an even greater role in governing the city. He has been active in several committees including policy making groups, plus he is a member of the West Fargo Library and Fargo Cass Public Health boards.

Thorstad has filed his Statement of Interest documentation with city officials and plans to submit his Nomination Petitions later this week.

Among Thorstad's priorities are improving the organizational structure and management of city government, in addition to building relationships with neighboring cities and organizations "With West Fargo's growth, we are no longer a small town and we in city government and its operations, need to grow and improve as well. More than ever, I believe we need to explore ways to collaborate and cooperate with other area governing bodies, be it the school or park districts, neighboring cities such as Fargo and Horace, or economic development groups such as the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation."

Thorstad also stated his continued commitment to improving communication and accountability. "As the elected representatives of our citizens we have an obligation to keep them involved in the decision-making processes, informed of what's happening in city government, and to be good stewards of their tax dollars."

Thorstad feels it's too premature to be discussing specific issues, but mentioned that a water treatment plant is currently being studied. "We have to figure out which direction to go with this, whether it's partnering with our neighbors such as Fargo, or proceeding on our own. There will also be more street projects, like the continuation of Main Avenue that we will need to tackle again in a few years, along with other ongoing infrastructure needs."

A 43-year resident of West Fargo, Thorstad graduated from West Fargo High in 1975, attended Moorhead State University; and was a partner in Tri-State Auto Auction of West Fargo until the business, along with its sister company Sioux Falls Auto Auction, was sold to ADESA Corporation in October of 2007.

He continues to be a partner and is President of DSI Automotive Products, a distributor with warehouse locations in Fargo and Sioux Falls. In addition, he and his wife, Mona, are co-owners of Sign Pro, located on Second Avenue and 45th Street in West Fargo, which Mona operates. He also has ownership interest in several property partnerships.

The Thorstads are the parents of three grown children, Matt, Mindi and Mason, all West Fargo High School grads, and have three grandchildren with another due in June. The family is members of Blessed Sacrament Church of West Fargo where Mike has served on the Finance committee for several years.

Besides the four-year mayor position in the June 8 Primary Election, several other four-year spots are also open - the terms of City Commissioners Lou Bennett and Bryan Schulz; the Park Board seats of Denise Johnson, Sharon Odegaard, and Ken Zetocha; the municipal judge position presently held by Susan Bailey; and the four school board positions of Angela Korsmo, Duane Hanson, Thomas Gentzkow, and Karen Nitskorski.

To this point, Thorstad, Mattern, Bennett, and Nitskorski have publicly announced their intentions to run for positions. Bryan Schulz and Tom Gentzkow have both stated they will not be seeking additional terms.

Filing deadline for petitions and statements of interest is Friday, April 9, at respective city and school locations.

Both the petition and statement of interest forms for city positions are available at West Fargo City Hall, 400 8th St. E., or online at www.westfargond.gov and linking onto www.nd.gov/sos/electvote.

The filing forms for school board candidates are available at the school district offices, 207 W. Main Ave., or online at the school district Web site at www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us.

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