Walaker will run for Fargo mayor
Dennis Walaker said he can't even shop for groceries without someone asking, "Are you going to run for mayor?" The longtime public works director for Fargo plans to announce his candidacy today. Asked Tuesday afternoon if he had decided to run fo...
Dennis Walaker said he can't even shop for groceries without someone asking, "Are you going to run for mayor?"
The longtime public works director for Fargo plans to announce his candidacy today.
Asked Tuesday afternoon if he had decided to run for mayor in 2006, Walaker said: "Who holds a news conference to say no?"
The announcement by Walaker will be the first official word by a candidate for the June 2006 mayoral election.
"There's been so many people that have been encouraging me for a long time," Walaker said. "Ordinary people that I don't know are asking me and encouraging me. Since I have the support over the years from the public, they deserve an answer."
He has worked for the city of Fargo for 31 years, including 16 as public works director. Walaker, who plans to retire from his city post by August 2006, said he would plan a modest campaign.
Renowned for his efforts in fighting the 1997 Red River flood, Walaker voiced interest in running for mayor more than six months ago.
He said today's announcement will put speculative talk to bed and give supporters the answer they've been seeking.
Last month Mayor Bruce Furness, 65, announced he would not seek re-election, instead stepping down when his third term ends. Furness has been mayor of Fargo since 1994.
Fargo City Commissioner John Cosgriff has said he may run for mayor when his third term expires next summer.
A commissioner for nearly 12 years, Cosgriff has never lost a political race.
Cosgriff said Tuesday Walaker's announcement to run for mayor wouldn't influence his decision. Cosgriff said he expects to make his decision in the fall.
"My decision is going to be based on how it sits with my family and if there's more I can offer the city," he said.
Fargo School Board member Arlette Preston has also said she is considering running for mayor, and likely won't decide until January or later. Her term as school board member ends next June.
Previously, Rep. Al Carlson said he is also considering a run for mayor and will decide by the end of the year. Carlson would otherwise be up for re-election to his state post in November 2006.
The mayor's job, which has a three-term limit, pays $25,014 annually.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Joe Whetham at (701) 241-5557
- Walaker will be Scott Hennen's guest on "Hot Talk" (8:30 to 11:30 a.m., WDAY-AM) after press conference