WEST FARGO — The West Fargo City Commission may be slightly more diverse after newcomer Mandy George received the most votes on Tuesday, June 9, along with incumbent Mark Simmons, who was seeking one of two open commission seats.
Results Tuesday showed George garnered 39% of the vote, compared to Simmons’ 33%, and Roben Anderson, who collected 28% in unofficial results.
However, the election involved mail-only balloting and Cass County Auditor Mike Montplaiser said he expected additional ballots to come in after Tuesday. Full and complete results will be announced Monday, June 15.
If George hangs onto a top-two position, she will be the first woman to serve on the West Fargo City Commission since Brenda Warren was first elected in 2004.
George is a professional pilot for Bell Bank. She's been flying for Bell for about five years, and flying in general for close to 20. She lives in West Fargo with her 11-year-old daughter. George said she initially became interested in city government when she first moved to West Fargo in 2008 and it lacked a recycling program. The city was the first in the metro to implement a no-sort system.
"It's not quite over yet," George said Tuesday evening. "I'm pretty excited. I went into this with no expectations and I was pretty much prepared for whatever may happen."
Incumbent Mike Thostad chose not to seek a fourth term, leaving his seat open for a newcomer.
This will be Simmons' fifth term as a city commissioner. Simmons was first elected in 2004. The retired U.S. Army and National Guard serviceman, GSA Manager for Laser Systems and Realtor for the Real Estate Exchange said when announcing his campaign for 2020 that it would be his last term.
"This is my last run as a commissioner," Simmons said. "I still feel strongly some experience is needed on the commission. The public felt that way, somewhat, or I wouldn't have gotten back in. I just want to move the city forward a little more and wrap up some projects. It will be different on the commission now again."
Roben Anderson is a finance analyst at Doosan Bobcat who currently serves on the West Fargo Special Assessments Committee. Anderson grew up in Portland, Ore., and is a University of North Dakota graduate. He and his wife, Paige, a West Fargo native, now make their home in the city with their twin daughters.
"I just want to thank everyone who supported me," Anderson said. "It was good to get to know the people and I'll continue to be an advocate for the city of West Fargo."
Tuesday afternoon, Simmons sent a message to his fellow candidates.
“Mandy and Roben, you both worked very hard during this campaign,” he said. “Regardless what happens, you should be proud of what you've accomplished. Not many people dare to jump into a Commission race. You both took the challenge, and you should be proud of that.”
West Fargo city commissioners are elected at large to four-year terms and are paid an annual salary of $12,286.