Four candidates applied to be Brainerd’s next mayor, following the recent resignation of Ed Menk.
Menk’s term officially ends Dec. 31, 2022, but he announced in February his decision to resign effective March 31 to downsize his responsibilities in life and spend more time with ailing family members.
Since the meeting to appoint a replacement on March 23 was canceled, Menk agreed to extend his tenure until someone else is in the seat. The council plans to choose someone during its teleconference meeting April 6.
Four candidates submitted applications — current council members Dave Badeaux and Dave Pritschet, former council member Kevin Goedker and Brainerd resident Heather Aanes.
Aanes lives in southeast Brainerd and works as a senior independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in deaf studies teacher education from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and several years spent teaching in Brainerd, Wadena-Deer Creek, Fergus Falls and in South Carolina. She has also worked as a job counselor for Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program and a community support professional for Oakridge Homes and Woodview Home and Support Services.
“I want to serve as the Mayor of Brainerd as I have seen Brainerd from several different views,” Aanes wrote on her application. “I have experienced life in Brainerd as unemployed, underemployed, and gainfully employed. I have also experienced life as a business owner, a mother, and Queen. These roles will make me an asset to the City.”
Aanes listed effective communication, delegation abilities, organization, self-motivation and planning as skills qualifying her for the position of mayor.
“I am not afraid to try a new way to accomplish a goal,” she continued in her application. “I am proud and confident that I have the skill, the strength and the ability to inspire others.”
Aanes is involved in Business Networking International and the Brainerd Lions Club and previously participated in the Miss United States Pageant.
Badeaux is the executive director of Brainerd Community Action and is nearing the end of his first term representing northeast Brainerd on the city council. He chairs the city’s personnel and finance committee and also serves as council liaison to the parks and recreation board, water tower committee, cable TV advisory committee, walkable bikeable committee and rental dwelling license board of appeals.
“Above all else, I believe in Brainerd,” he wrote on his application. “I feel that given my background and personality I would be a great fit for the position of Mayor as it allows the citizens of Brainerd to have a cheerleader and a voice to champion their causes. I would love to help the Brainerd Community become the best version of itself that it can possibly be.”
Being able to communicate by both speaking and actively listening to others to understand their needs, Badeaux wrote, is his biggest strength.
“In our city’s system the mayor is something that needs to both be available to listen to the citizens and available to be present at our community’s events as representative as well,” he continued on his application. “My strength in those areas makes me a good fit to represent the citizens of Brainerd and help them achieve their goals for the community.”
Goedker lives in northeast Brainerd and previously spent eight years on the Brainerd City Council from 2004-2012 and served as council president. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and worked in the real estate industry for Goedker Realty since 1989. Goedker is also a preload supervisor at UPS. He has an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College.
“I showed a public interest in serving as Mayor originally in 2002,” he wrote on his application. “I have always had a desire to serve my community and my country and would like to share my skills as strengths as the Mayor of Brainerd.”
Goedker made unsuccessful bids for mayor before and during his tenure on the council. He also applied to fill the vacancy after Mayor James Wallin died in 2015 and subsequently ran against Menk in 2016.
Those skills and strengths, Goedker wrote, include service, leadership and business expertise.
“I believe I have developed excellent skills in working well with others to accomplish positive results. My business experience has helped me to learn problem solving, a strong work ethic and accountability,” he continued on his application.
“... When it comes to service and leadership in the local community, you can rely on my experience and knowledge.”
Goedker served in leadership positions with the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors, Minnesota Association of Realtors and has been involved with the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission, Brainerd Community Action, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Heartland Detachment Marine Corps League and Brainerd Noon Sertoma.
Pritschet is a teacher at Forestview Middle School nearing the end of his second term on the Brainerd City Council representing downtown and southwest Brainerd. He is the coach for the Forestview Middle School Knowledge Bowl team and the Brainerd High School speech team. Pritschet previously served as head debate coach at BHS and worked as a karate instructor at Brainerd Karate Club. He previously served as council president and liaison to the Region Five Development Commission and planning and zoning commission. Pritschet is now council liaison to the Brainerd Public Library Board and sits on the city’s safety and public works committee.
“I am truly excited about the opportunity to serve as the Mayor of Brainerd,” he wrote on his application. “While on the council and as council president, there have been several occasions where I have had the honor of representing the City of Brainerd at events and gatherings. It is at these functions where I have felt that I have really done a service for the City and its people. In these arenas my people skills come to the forefront.”
Pritschet stated his time on the council has shown he is an effective listener and willing to give attention respectfully to all opinions, whether sharing them or not. He said his experience as a speech and debate coach and on the council have helped make him articulate and thoughtful in communication, which is beneficial for the mayor.
“Brainerd is changing for the better and I wish to continue playing a role in that positive change,” Pritschet continued on his application. “I have thoroughly enjoyed working for the people of Brainerd as a council member and I deeply want to continue doing what I can to improve the quality of life in my city of choice."
Next council meeting
More information on the April 6 city council meeting, including the time, agenda and how to access the meeting via telephone, will be available ahead of the meeting.