A face familiar to those on Brainerd City Council and one not yet recognized, two more candidates filed for open seats with the council in day two of filing.
Amanda Monnier, going for Ward 1, and Mary Koep, at-large incumbent, both filed Wednesday, joining Jeff Czeczok, going for Ward 3, Chip Borkenhagen, for at-large, and Sue Hilgart for Ward 1 in the open seat races.
Positions that will be decided this November are Ward 1, Ward 3 and at-large. Incumbent Ward 1 council member Lucy Nesheim and incumbent Ward 3 council member Kevin Goedker have both said they won’t run for re-election. At-large council members Bob Olson and Mary Koep also have seats open. Koep filed for re-election Wednesday and Olson has not yet announced his intentions.
Monnier is currently working part-time at Coco Moon in downtown Brainerd while pursuing her business management degree at Central Lakes College, with 16 credits left to go. Hailing from St. Cloud, Monnier became familiar with the area when her parents moved to Breezy Point, where her dad works for the city.
“I understand a lot of politics through him,” said the 28-year-old. “I moved here first when I was 18 and earning my associates degree and took off around the country before coming back. My friends always kept me in the loop with the things going on in the city (of Brainerd) and I want to try and help take care of some of the issues they saw and some of the issues I see here in our town today.”
Monnier said that although she has not formally done any work for the city, she has ideas that will be beneficial to its success.
“Our city of Brainerd needs young, fresh minds to help progress it,” she said. “I understand that the majority of the council has been there for seven years and longer and I want to try bridge that gap between young and seniors with fresh ideas and ways to advance and progress Brainerd more.
“It’s not just the city that makes Brainerd, it’s the people that make it home and if we neglect the well being of our people we will neglect our home and I want to help everyone, especially the youth in our community, advance and in turn advance the city.”
Koep filed for re-election to a council at-large seat, with her term expiring at the end of this year. No stranger to Brainerd city politics, Koep’s long-standing resume as a council member speaks for itself. Named to council president in 2011, replacing Goedker, Koep also previously held position of vice president. She is currently serving in one of the three city council at-large seats and has since 2003. The longtime Brainerd resident took a step away from council in 2006 but returned to an at-large seat in 2008. Koep also previously served 16 years on the Crow Wing County Board from 1980-1996 and before that 10 years from 1970-1980 on the city council.
“I bring the wealth of experience and a dedication to a future in this city,” said Koep. “My goal is to be a community builder, a cheerleader for Brainerd and a strong voice for the people. I work for them. Change is inevitable and I bring the values of energy, efficiency, economy and effectiveness and an absolute commitment to receive and maintain the freedoms and rights of the people.”
Koep was instrumental in the “Showcasing Brainerd” feature during bimonthly council meetings this year, where large and small businesses present to council and the public their mission. She also initiated this year’s building permit rebate program to encourage the repair of homeowners, among other things under her duties. Koep said she sees a bright future for Brainerd and will continue to work for that despite challenges that may arise.
“No one can know what challenges may come our (the city’s) way,” said Koep. “(But) I will address them using the values of openness, transparency, honest debate ... and respect for differing points of view.”