Brainerd City Council: Koep, Borkenhagen, won't run for re-election
The Brainerd City Council will have two new people filling at-large seats after November's general election. At-large council members Chip Borkenhagen and Mary Koep did not file for re-election prior to the filing period deadline Tuesday. Borkenh...
The Brainerd City Council will have two new people filling at-large seats after November's general election.
At-large council members Chip Borkenhagen and Mary Koep did not file for re-election prior to the filing period deadline Tuesday.
Borkenhagen said since he won his seat in the 2012 general election, he had been clear he would only serve one term. He said his goal was to do what was right for the city during his term and not worry about getting re-elected.
"That was basically my mantra," Borkenhagen said.
When he decided to run, Borkenhagen said he and his wife agreed he would only serve one term.
"I wanted to see what the world looked like from that perspective," Borkenhagen said.
One of Borkenhagen's goals during his term was to get the Mississippi Riverfront Project started, he said, and he's glad the process to revitalize the riverfront has started.
Borkenhagen has donated a lot of energy through the years toward building a better Brainerd, he said, and those efforts will continue after he leaves office. But it's time for a younger generation to step up, he said, and he's excited to see new faces running for city council.
"Some of the people who are applying for that position right now are just awesome," Borkenhagen said. "We'll have a ton of fresh ideas and perspectives to offer the city."
Borkenhagen didn't rule out another city council run in the future, but said it was "highly unlikely." He said he hoped the entire city council remembered the importance of listening intently to their constituents.
"The way people would bring ideologies to me, concerns, etc., really affected my vote," Borkenhagen said.
Koep has been a fixture in local government in Crow Wing County for nearly four decades. She served on the Crow Wing County Board for 16 years, in addition to 22 years on the Brainerd City Council. Now 83, she said it was time to step down.
"There's things over the years I've kind of wished I could do," Koep said. "But I really spent my time devoted to the people."
Koep said she'll miss campaign activities like door knocking throughout the city, meeting voters and learning their concerns. In her entire career, she said she couldn't remember more than six instances where "people were a little rude."
"I'm going to miss it, I got to know so many people," Koep said. "I'm really going to miss it."
Door knocking served her well, Koep said, because when people would call her with their concerns, she could remember them based on where they lived.
Koep admitted she almost didn't run in 2012, "but then I thought 'oh what the heck,' so I did." But after that, she said she knew she wouldn't run again. She ran in four elections for county board and five for city council, as her first two years on the council were because she was appointed to a vacancy.
Koep didn't point to a certain project or initiative she was most proud of during her time on the city council. Rather, she said she was most proud of the people she got to know.
"To me, it's always been about the people," Koep said. "You have to always think, how does this affect the people?"
Koep said she'll try to serve on some committees if possible and may show up to a council meeting from time to time, "if I have something to say." If people still call her for help, she'll be able to tell them where to go to get help, she said, as she knows the system "backwards and forwards."
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