WILLMAR — Zeke Dahl, who ran unsuccessfully for Willmar mayor two years ago, has filed to run for the open Willmar City Council seat in Ward 3. The seat is currently occupied by Fernando Alvarado, who is running for the state Senate and not for a second term on the City Council.

"It is a good way to protect the citizens" and have a voice in how the city is run, Dahl said.

Dahl said he decided to run for Willmar City Council to push for more fiscal responsibility and to support other priorities including road improvements and assisting the homeless. He feels those are more important than updated parks or a new city hall, which he has been against.

"I will be voting in the best interest of the city and fiscally responsibility," Dahl said.

Last year Dahl filed a lawsuit against Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin, requesting a court-ordered injunction against the city hall project. The lawsuit never had a hearing and was dropped.

"There is stuff I don't like," Dahl said. "It just frustrates me."

Originally from California, Dahl moved to Willmar in 2015, after he lived in Austin for several years. He worked at Cash Wise Foods in Willmar until recently when he lost his job due to the coronavirus business shutdown, Dahl said.

Dahl ran for mayor of Austin in 2010 and for the Austin City Council in 2012, both unsuccessfully. He had to drop out of the council race because he was not eligible to hold elected office due to a felony conviction.

In 2011 he was convicted of felony check forgery after stealing $8,000 from his grandmother to fund his gambling addiction. Then in 2014 he was convicted of a gross misdemeanor for being a felon in possession of a firearm after he handled a handgun during a firearms class.

Dahl will be running against Justin Ask, lead pastor for Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar, who has also filed for the Ward 3 council seat.