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Forum Editorial: In Fargo city races, Mahoney, Piepkorn and Kolpack stand out as leaders the city needs

Tim Mahoney has earned another term as Fargo mayor. Dave Piepkorn has earned another term as Fargo city commissioner and Denise Kolpack is our pick for the open seat on the Fargo City Commission.

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Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney has handily earned another term at the helm of Fargo city government. No other candidate comes close to matching his experience, demonstrated leadership and dedication to the city and its residents.

He’s been tested by crises, having served as deputy mayor alongside the late Dennis Walaker, who was mayor during the record 2009 Red River flood. Since then, Mahoney has been a staunch supporter of the massive metro flood diversion project, which is on track to provide protection starting in 2027.

The diversion is a perfect example of Mahoney’s ability to develop strong relationships with fellow local government leaders, as well as at the state and federal levels, to accomplish big things. He also was right in trying to prod the misguided Airport Authority into supporting a badly needed parking ramp.

Mahoney has been a city leader for 16 years, beginning with nine years on the City Commission. After taking over as mayor following Walaker’s death in 2014, Mahoney was first elected mayor in 2015.

During Mahoney’s successful tenure as mayor, Fargo has grown steadily, showing resilience in the face of the disruptive pandemic. The city’s building permits under his watch have grown from $250 million per year to an average of $625 million annually and now hover around $740 million.

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While the city has grown significantly, the city’s share of the local mill levy has actually gone down. Capital improvement plan infrastructure investments have decreased water main breaks, once 600 per year, to 50 per year.

That’s a solid record of accomplishment.

City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn also has earned another term. Having served 12 years on the commission, he is well-versed in the city’s needs and priorities.

Piepkorn’s top priorities are to encourage economic growth, insure that law and order is maintained, and be vigilant on how tax dollars are spent. He points out that Fargo will become a boom town over the next several years, fueled by diversion project construction. He said Fargo should strive to encourage those who flock here for those jobs to remain, and advocates that employers offer paid internships to help with workforce development.

It’s true that Piepkorn often clashes with Mahoney, but that helps to achieve an important balance on the commission.

Piepkorn has become the commission’s most unflinchingly outspoken member. Whether you agree or disagree, Piepkorn makes clear what he supports and what he doesn’t.

Among the other City Commission candidates, Denise Kolpack stands out. A former executive with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Kolpack has a background in nonprofit communications. (Disclosure: Kolpack is Forum sports writer Jeff Kolpack’s sister-in-law.)

Kolpack’s top priorities are to continue the city’s planned, “smart” growth, as well as support of the core neighborhood plan. She supports incentives to help home ownership and wants to help families afford daycare. She proposes a state family child-care tax credit, and correctly points out that child care is also a workforce issue.

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Her other priorities include public safety and security, including support of local police. To continue Fargo’s economic growth, she supports efforts by Chamber and economic development officials to promote the city’s opportunities and quality of life.

Together, Mahoney, Piepkorn and Kolpack have the right backgrounds and leadership experience to guide Fargo and maintain its successful trajectory. We endorse them in the June 14 election.

Related Topics: ELECTION 2022
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