3 file for mayor, 10 for council by closing

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

With five city offices open this election cycle, the council member at-large spot likely promises the most excitement, with five community members vying for the citywide seat.

By Tuesday’s deadline, Janet Anderson, KAAL-TV producer; Jeff Austin, 1st Ward council member; George Brophy, former president of the Development Corporation of Austin; Mary Keenan, former Mower County commissioner; and Marvin Repinski, pastor and Riverland Community College professor, filed for the two-year position.

It would have otherwise been vacant, as current holder Pete Christopherson opted not to run again after serving 10 years on the council. He spent four years as the 2nd Ward representative prior to his three terms as member at-large.

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Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm, who is about to complete his first two-year term, will face candidates Jimmy Hultgren and Mark Nagle. Nagle filed July 15; he is co-owner of South Central Athlete. Hultgen helped launch the Mexican-American restaurant Fresco Joe’s located at Oak Park Mall. Stiehm was a long-time Austin Police Department narcotics detective.

First Ward council member Brian McAlister will run unopposed this election season. Two fresh candidates — Tony Bennett and Marian Clennon — will compete for the 3rd Ward position; current council member Norm Hecimovich said he won’t seek re-election.

Bennett is a planning commission member and small-business owner. Clennon, a Hormel Foods employee, has been active in local government over the proposed dog park, which was originally slated for her neighborhood.

In the final open office, first-term council member Scott Pacholl, 2nd Ward, will campaign against Steve King, who is director of Mower County Correctional Services.

Three vacant positions on the Austin Utility Board will likely be filled by the three candidates: current chairman Thomas Baudler, commissioner Paul Johnson and James Schroeder, an engineering manager at Hormel Foods.

At a community election forum in June, former mayor Bonnie Rietz said the campaign season typically launches during the Mower County Fair, which takes place Aug. 5-10 this year. The primary is scheduled for Sept. 9, in which voters will narrow the field to two in seats with three or more candidates.

Election Day is Nov. 4.