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Denise Kolpack, Dave Piepkorn win bids for Fargo City Commission

The two emerged at the head of the record slate of 15 candidates.

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Fargo City Commission candidate Denise Kolpack talks with supporters Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Tailgators, Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum
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FARGO — Fargo voters returned incumbent Dave Piepkorn to his City Commission seat while newcomer Denise Kolpack won a four-year term Tuesday night, June 14.

A record 15 candidates sought the positions on the five-member commission.

Unofficial results showed Kolpack with 13.8% of the vote and incumbent Dave Piepkorn with 12.6% with all precincts reporting.

The commissioners will begin their terms at midnight on Tuesday, June 28.

Kolpack, a retired marketing executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, is also the former executive director of the North Dakota Newspaper Association and the North Dakota Water Coalition.

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"I'm just honored and humbled," she said while at her election night party at Tailgators with about 40 family members and friends.

She wanted to thank voters and the 14 other candidates, some of whom she said she would be "friends with for a long, long time."

Kolpack said she would like to focus on access to child care, safety and bringing professionalism and decorum to the City Commission.

When asked about safety, she said she wanted to be a commissioner who supported the police and fire department. She would like to see more police officers added as the city continues to grow.

Kolpack will replace Commissioner Tony Gehrig, who decided against running for a third term.

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Dave Piepkorn

Piepkorn, first elected in 2008, won his fourth term after losing one election between his first and second terms.

Known for his brash statements at City Commission meetings, Piepkorn also serves as deputy mayor.

He didn't return phone calls late Tuesday night for comment.

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In numerous debates in the current campaign, one of the main issues was special assessments with at least four of the candidates vowing to end the share that homeowners and businesses are charged for infrastructure projects in their neighborhoods. None of those candidates won.

Other issues were the need for more child care, attracting more workers to the city, policing and crime and tax breaks provided for developers and businesses for projects.

The city commissioners are selected at-large, which means residents across the city vote on who they would like to see selected.

Approval voting, which started in the last city election in 2020, allowed residents to vote for as many or as few candidates as they wanted.

In previous elections, residents would have only been allowed to vote for two candidates for the two open positions.

Kolpack had the most votes with 6,412, followed by Piepkorn with 5,834.

The other candidates in order of their vote totals were Al Carlson with 4,839, Jodi Plecity with 4,668, Anna Johnson with 3,986, Jennifer Benson with 3,714, Matour Alier with 3,248, Ahmed Shiil with 3,115, Victoria Johnson with 2,564, Will Thompson with 2,476, Branden Krieger with 1,670, Lenny Tweeden with 1,177, Ves Marinov with 1,019, Tom Magin with 842 and Philip Thomas with 700.

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