Announcements this month by two veteran Brainerd City Council members mean there will be turnover on that panel next year.
Council members Lucy Nesheim and Kevin Goedker decided to end their council tenures, opening up spots for citizens who are interested in serving the city. The two council members may have different political perspectives — Nesheim is a Democrat and Goedker a Republican — but they each approached their city council posts with professionalism and a friendly demeanor. The council members are elected on a nonpartisan basis, with no party endorsement of candidates and Nesheim and Goedker didn’t appear to care who they sided with on an issue as long as it was best for the city.
Nesheim, 75, first elected to the council in 1988, stood her ground when she felt strongly about an issue. During campaigns she emphasized her work with economic development and served on a steering committee that was formed after the former Potlatch plant closed.
Goedker, 40, will step down after two terms on the council. During his term as council president the U.S. Marine Corps veteran emphasized civility and often served as a calming influence at council meetings.
Brainerd has been fortunate to have committed representatives such as Nesheim and Goedker and they no doubt will continue to serve the community in other venues.
The planned departures of Nesheim and Goedker present an opportunity to civic-minded Brainerd residents who want to make a contribution to their city. Four seats will be decided in this fall’s election. They currently belong to Nesheim (Ward 1), Goedker (Ward 3), Bob Olson and Mary Koep (both at-large).
Active citizen participation in government was never needed more than it is today with the challenges the city of Brainerd faces.