Tuesday, Nov. 5, will go down as a historic day for Moorhead. Residents of the city and surrounding area voted overwhelmingly to approve a school bond referendum to drastically renovate Moorhead High School and turn the former Sam's Club building near Interstate 94 into a career and technical academy.
It was a victory for Moorhead's young kids and even those years or decades from being born.
Tuesday was also the day the Moorhead city council went all-progressive for likely the first time since it incorporated in 1881. Yes, yes, yes ... I know. The city council is nonpartisan. But if you don't think partisan politics plays a role in local government, you are as sweetly naive as those generations of unborn kids.
Larry Seljevold and Steve Lindaas will fill two city council seats left vacant by members who quit theirs, and will be up for re-election in a year. Neither Seljevold nor Lindaas declared their political allegiances, and I wouldn't ask them to, but I have friends who know people who know people.
Combined with a mayor who lists leftward, Moorhead's elected leaders are exclusively progressives. It was just three years ago that the council had four staunch conservatives among its eight members, including Mike Hulett, who now spends his free time penning starry-eyed love letters to Donald Trump that are printed as columns in The Forum.
- Voters overwhelmingly approve $110M school bond in Moorhead
- Moorhead elects two new city council members
Perhaps the mayor and council can wield their unanimous power for the common good. Affordable housing for young working families. Free activities for kids and senior citizens. Expanding voting locations instead of taking them away.
Your citizens have given you a mandate. What are you going to do with it?
The citizens also spoke loudly that the future matters. The bond referendum was a legacy vote, a gift from the current generations to future ones.
Given Moorhead's demographics (young, educated) and political bent (liberal) in recent elections, there was little question the $110 million school bond was going to pass. It was a matter of margin. It was a landslide, 76% to 24%, dwarfing the 2015 vote in which voters OK'd $78.28 million to expand Horizon Middle School and build a new elementary school (now Dorothy Dodds Elementary School). That one passed 64-36%, which seemed massive at the time.
The earliest poll locations reporting Tuesday came from areas that included Moorhead's Oakport annexation and rural townships to the north like Kragnes and Georgetown — generally politically conservative areas that might be more inclined to vote against a tax increase. Instead, the early "yes" votes had a 2-1 advantage.
Most heartening was that every polling location voted in favor of the bond, and most did so by wide margins. From Ward 2 in the central city around Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College that voted 1,162-294 in favor to Dilworth residents who live in the Moorhead school district who voted 61-40 for the bond, the people spoke loudly.
There is no question what the voters wanted. They said it by a 3-to-1 margin.
That made it a great day to be a Spud, particularly if you're of a progressive nature.