If reelected, West Fargo City Commissioner Mark Simmons would be the only city commissioner with more than two years of experience on the board.
Two seats on the city commission will be up for election on June 9, one currently held by Simmons and the other by longtime City Commissioner Mike Thorstad. Thorstad announced he will not seek a third term in office earlier this month.
Monday, Jan. 20, Simmons said he decided he would seek a fifth term after careful consideration.
"First thing, I wanted to make sure my family was on board. It's been a lot of years, and I wanted to make sure my wife was up for another term," Simmons said. "Plus, I still have the fire in my belly. I still have the compassion, I still love what I do. I don't want to walk away like this, I want to give it my all a few more years. "
Mayor Bernie Dardis and Commissioners Eric Gjerdevig and Brad Olson were all elected to their first terms in 2018.
"We have all new commissioners. Two years is not a long time to understand what is going on. Plus, almost all of our department heads are fairly new," Simmons said. "We all forget stuff, we all do. But we're moving so fast and have so many integral parts working together. It takes someone who says, 'Yes, let's move forward, but let's also remember the last time we did this or did that.' I hope the citizens can understand that."
With Thorstad's decision not to seek reelection, at least one new face will be added to the commission. Residents Mandy George and Roben Anderson have announced they will seek a commission seat in 2020.
Anderson is a finance analyst at Doosan Bobcat who currently serves on the West Fargo Special Assessments Committee. George is a professional pilot for Bell Bank. She's been flying for them for about five years, and flying in general for close to 20.
Simmons, who was first elected to the commission in 2004, will turn 58 in February. The retired U.S. Army and National Guard serviceman, GSA Manager for Laser Systems and Realtor for the Real Estate Exchange said while he will seek one more term, if elected in 2020, it would be his last.
"I didn't want to walk away from all we are doing just yet," Simmons said. "I've been so involved, and knowing there is not a lot of experience or history (on the commission) anymore, I decided to run again. Honestly, other than my wife wanting a change in our life, there was no reason to get off right now. I hope citizens can understand that."
Potential candidates can begin circulating a petition of nomination. Candidates must get at least 300 signatures from voters and return the petition and a statement to the city auditor by 4 p.m. Monday, April 6. Per state law, West Fargo candidates must file financial statements following the election.
West Fargo City Commissioners are elected to at-large, four-year terms. Commissioners are paid an annual salary of $12,286, according to West Fargo Finance Director Jim Larson.