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Goedker won't run for re-election

After nearly decade of running for office every two years, Brainerd City Council member Kevin Goedker is ready for a break.

The Ward 3 representative announced Tuesday he would not seek re-election to the post that represents northeast Brainerd. He was first elected in 2004 and has served two terms. The council member will continue to serve out his current term, which expires Dec. 31.

Before his election to council and also during his tenure he ran unsuccessfully for Brainerd mayor, the state House and the state Senate.

His decision, he said, was influenced by considerations relating to his family and his profession as a Realtor. Goedker said his mother is recovering from open heart surgery and his father is recovering from a stroke.

Also factored into the decision was his belief that turnover is good for political bodies. Goedker’s announcement follows that of council member Lucy Nesheim who said she won’t run again after serving on the council for more than 20 years.

“I think there’s people on the council who do have experience,” he said. “It’s kind of set up to be able to work with turnover. It should be citizen participation not expert politicians.”

With at least two new members on the council next year he encouraged people to consider running for his seat. He said he remembered former council member Howard “Jiggs” Blanck encouraging him to run for office 10 years ago so a candidate wouldn’t run without opposition.

Goedker, 40, said that with the exception of council member Dale Parks, the make-up of the council has been the same during his eight years of service.

“I don’t think that’s good,” he said.

While critics of the council have sometimes labeled it as quarrelsome, Goedker sees the up side to conflict.

“I think there’s some positive benefits to discussion and having disagreement,” he said. “There are some times where it’s gotten personal but I think for the most part the discussions we’ve had, we’ve come away at least agreeing to disagree.”

He said he wouldn’t rule out running for office again some year, but not in the immediate future.

In a news release Goedker said city staff members were extremely dedicated and all of the council members he worked with had the best interests of the city in mind.

He also offered mini-critique of each council member:

“Bob Olson brings a constant search for all the relevant data in order to make an informed decision. Kelly Bevans brought a sense of urgency — if we had more members like him, we would get our work done in less than half the time, with similar results as now. Lucy Nesheim has served this city very well. She brought an experience that few could match. Mary Koep provided great leadership as council president. She is tenacious and passionate about our city. Bonnie Cumberland can always be relied on to approach things in a fair and balanced way, always weighing the many differing human perspectives. Dale Parks, being the newest member, brings that thirst for knowledge required to make reasonable decisions. Mayor James Wallin has been an excellent representative of our city in every situation he is placed. I was also honored to have worked with Dan Vogt who proved to be an excellent resource and administrator in a sometimes tumultuous situation.”

Goedker is the broker/owner of Goedker Realty Inc., in Baxter. He is past president of the council, member of the council’s Personnel and Finance Committee, past member of the Safety and Public Works Committee, past member of the Brainerd Parking Commission, member of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission, past commandant of the Heartland Detachment of the Marine Corps League, past president of the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors, the federal political coordinator between the National Association of Realtors and Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., a member of the Noon Sertoma Club and a recent graduate of Central Lakes College.

MIKE O’ROURKE, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860