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Thorstad seeking re-election to City Commission post

Pioneer file photo

Incumbent Mike Thorstad has announced that he will be a seeking a second four-year term on the West Fargo City Commission in the June 12 City Election, with his bid prompted by enjoyment of time already spent on the board and the challenges it has presented.

Two four-year terms are open - Thorstad's and City Commissioner Mark Simmons, who has also announced he will be seeking re-election to his third term.

A third candidate, newcomer Peter Karl, has also thrown his hat into the ring, filing the necessary petitions at West Fargo City Hall.

Thorstad's re-election bid

Thorstad said he has enjoyed his time as a city commissioner and the challenges it has presented. He came on board in 2008 and was an unsuccessful challenger for mayor in 2010, retaining his city commission post.

During his tenure, Thorstad has always had the best interest of citizens in mind working with fellow commissioners and staff to improve city operations including the updating of ordinances, policies and procedures; and scrutinizing spending and issuance of tax exemptions in an attempt to save the taxpayers money.

"While I've favored tax breaks for projects that made financial sense, I also voted against exemptions I believed were not necessary or would have placed additional financial burden on the city," Thorstad stated. "I also support continued collaboration with our Park and School Districts as well as working to build stronger relationships with our neighboring communities."

Thorstad said he would like to continue his work not only with the city where he holds the sanitation and building permit portfolios, but also with the other boards he serves on as commission liaison, including Fargo Cass Public Health, the West Fargo Library Board and the FM Area Diversion Authority.

A 45-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 for many years until it was sold to ADESA Corporation in 2007. He and his wife, Mona, presently own and operate a successful business, Sign Pro based in West Fargo. He is also a partner in DSI Automotive along with being involved in several real estate investments.

The Thorstads are the parents of three children, Matt, Mindi and Mason, all West Fargo High School grads, and have four grandchildren. Thorstad is a member of the West Fargo Exchange Club and he and his wife, Mona, are longtime members of Blessed Sacrament Church of West Fargo where Mike has served on the Finance committee for several years.

Thorstad has filed his statement of interest form at City Hall and will be working on getting the ballot petitions filled out in the next few weeks.

Karl files for spot

Karl, who first ran for office in 2010 as candidate for mayor and was defeated, said he is seeking a commission post because he has noticed "several problems and other possible improper stipulations" at City Hall and "wants to change the current misdirected leadership" by providing a variety of solutions.

Karl believes city officials have been wasting money on mass transit, failing to plan properly, giving tax breaks to big businesses as well as having no plan in place for improvements in the arts and science and the library system.

Issues Karl said he will address during his campaign include: using mass transit as a revenue source, securing federally funded projects and grants for school improvements, along with improvements for the arts and sciences and the library system.

Karl has long been an outspoken advocate for a community wide monorail system, noting that he also has the expertise in identifying and applying for federal funding and grants.

"What I am offering can be done," Karl said. "My plans, proposals and propositions would allow all the businesses in West Fargo, to have better assets and easier profits while at the same time making a stronger community. My proposals are not going to be easy but I feel that if we do not start to focus on what we, as a city and a community really need, then we cannot honestly see what we, as a city, have possibly been doing wrong for so many years."

 Karl, 49, lives in West Fargo with his wife, Tasia.

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 and linking onto Filing deadline for candidates is April 13, at 4 p.m.

(Editor's note: Simmons was unavailable for comment this week. A preview of his candidacy will appear in a future issue.)