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Incumbent Dokken easily fends of challenge to win election to third term

WILLMAR -- Incumbent Jim Dokken easily defeated challenger Susana Hunnicutt for the four-year term from Ward 4 on the Willmar City Council in Tuesday's general election. Unofficial returns showed Dokken received 1,345 to 549 for Hunnicutt with all three of the ward's precincts reporting shortly after midnight.

Dokken ran for a third four-year council term. He was first elected in 1998 to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired four-year term and was re-elected to four-year terms in 2000 and in 2004.

Dokken, 73, is retired from 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. He has been employed in various areas and volunteered and serves on several city and governmental committees.

Hunnicutt, 60, is a seamstress, tailor and designer. She has served since 1999 on the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board.

Dokken had said his top campaign issue was preparing a responsible 2009 city budget that understands the need to be careful and flexible due to the worldwide financial crisis.

On the topic of housing, Dokken believes recent recommendations of the Mayor's Housing Task Force can improve enforcement of housing violations. He favors improving the housing stock and building energy-efficient housing in the city's core area.

Also, he said favored more medical partnerships with health care providers in the 14-county area served by Rice Memorial Hospital.

Hunnicutt said her top issue was infrastructure and flooding. Also, she favored creating jobs for people who live in and near the city; she wanted more investment in education; and she favored change in the city and keeping first things first in regard to the needs of the people of the community.