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'I simply love this city': Bernie Dardis launches bid for West Fargo mayor

Bernie Dardis speaks after being honored as the 2017 Legacy Leader during the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber’s seventh annual meeting at the Fargo Holiday Inn on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.David Samson / The Forum

WEST FARGO -- Bernie Dardis, a longtime West Fargo resident and businessman, plans to challenge longtime Mayor Rich Mattern for election in June.  

Dardis, former CEO of Indigo Signworks in Fargo who still works for the company as a consultant, has lived in West Fargo for more than 41 years.

“I simply love this city,” Dardis said in statement. “Having been a first-hand witness to the unprecedented growth of our city, I believe my experience, knowledge and passion for this community will serve our city well.”

Dardis lives south of Interstate 94, near Sheyenne Street, an area not represented by current members of the West Fargo City Commission.  

“This is an important distinction because it means that he experiences the challenges of daily traffic in the booming south West Fargo area and its impact on motorists and neighborhoods,” Dardis said.

Mattern, who announced in December that he would seek a fifth term as mayor, lives north of I-94. City Commissioners Mark Wentz and Duane Hanson are also up for election in 2018 but have not announced intentions to seek re-election.

Dardis grew up in Killdeer, N.D., and graduated from North Dakota State University with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology, with minors in psychology and criminal justice.

He has served on many area boards, including the West Fargo Exchange Club, where he has received the club’s highest award, the Book of Golden Deeds Award. He served as chairman of the Sanford Health Foundation Board; and on the North Dakota Republican Party and West Fargo Economic Development advisory committees. He also served on the board of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, playing a role in the merger between the West Fargo Chamber and Fargo Moorhead Chamber in 2010.

Dardis still serves on The Chamber’s Public Policy and Flood Task Force committees and as chairman of the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

He was inducted into the Theta Chi Fraternity Hall of Fame and was the first recipient of the Elephants Remembered award for the North Dakota Republican Party. He has also received the Masters of Success Lifetime Achievement Award from NDSU.

Dardis’ wife, Louise, is a longtime area educator. In her 30-year career, she served as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent for the West Fargo School District. The couple have two sons, Daniel and Patrick, who attended and graduated from West Fargo Public Schools.

North Dakota State Sen. Judy Lee, R-District 13, and former West Fargo Chief of Police and Cass County Commissioner Arland Rasmussen are Dardis’ campaign managers. Rasmussen announced Monday, Feb. 12, that he will not be seeking a second term as Cass County Commissioner.

“Bernie has a vision for what could be better in the community, for all of us and our neighbors, and he wants to be a part of making that happen,” Lee said in a statement.