MOORHEAD — With the deadline approaching for residents of Ward 2 to apply for a vacant Moorhead City Council seat, three applications had been received as of early this week, including possibly the first transgender resident to seek a public office in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
The candidates so far are Lillian Guetter, Evan Balko and Gail Enkers.
Candidates are asked to fill out application forms with personal information and the question of why they would like to serve on the City Council.
Although those applications remain private, The Forum asked the three candidates so far to answer that question.
A member of the local DFL party and other organizations, Guetter said she keeps "close tabs" on candidacies. That leads her to believe she is the first transgender person in the Fargo-Moorhead metro area to seek a public office at the city, county or state level.
"I think I'm breaking ground," she said.
The 12-year resident of Moorhead works as a logistics technician for Sanford Health.
She believes she could bring a new perspective to the City Council on LGBTQ, disability and addiction recovery issues. She said she is a recovering addict and has a disability.
Balko, a multimedia lead for the Impact Foundation, said he grew up in Moorhead, got his degree from Concordia College and simply loves the town and his neighborhood.
He said he wants to do what he can to continue to help the city "grow and prosper."
Balko said he's seen a lot of growth in the past few years, and he wants do what he can to help the city thrive.
"The city has great leadership, and I think I can be a valuable asset," he said. "I just love living here."
Enkers, a former registered nurse for 37 years, said she has retired and feels like she could put "a full effort into becoming an advocate for the city of Moorhead."
She said she would like to work on bringing business to Moorhead and developing commerce.
"I would support public improvements and review the tax base," she said.
She also said she would work "very hard to help all citizens become vaccinated from COVID-19 during this very serious time of the pandemic."
The graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead is active in grassroots politics with the DFL and is a lifetime member of the Moorhead VFW.
The deadline to apply for the Ward 2 seat is 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Applications are available online or by calling City Clerk Christina Rust's office at 218-299-5304.
Once applications close, the City Council will review them and pick candidates to be interviewed at their April 12, April 22 or May 10 meetings. The interview process will be open to the public.
The candidate selected will replace Shelly Carlson, who was selected by the City Council to serve as mayor and replace Jonathan Judd, leaving a Ward 2 seat open. Judd was appointed a district court judge by Gov. Tim Walz, and the city charter calls for the City Council to select a mayor from its ranks if an opening occurs.
Laura Caroon is the other council member from Ward 2 and was elected to a four-year term last November.
Ward 2, in the south-central part of the city, is east of 11th Street, south of Main Avenue and north of Interstate 94.
The new member will serve until the November 2022 election, as will Carlson.