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Christianson seeking re-election to Ward 2, Szczesniak files for election in Ward 4

WILLMAR -- Two more candidates have filed for Willmar City Council in the upcoming election this fall. Ron Christianson filed for re-election to the Ward 2 seat and Travis Szczesniak has filed for the Ward 4 seat. Council members serve four-year ...

WILLMAR -- Two more candidates have filed for Willmar City Council in the upcoming election this fall.

Ron Christianson filed for re-election to the Ward 2 seat and Travis Szczesniak has filed for the Ward 4 seat.

Council members serve four-year terms.

Christianson was elected to the council in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. He is a graduate of Willmar High School, served in the Air Force and is co-owner of Christianson Brothers Construction of Willmar.

Christianson said he filed for re-election to the Ward 2 seat because the city is involved in several major projects. He wants to be where the decisions are made and wants Willmar to head in the right direction.

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"A lot of decisions are made at the committee meetings and the council meetings. I think that I can be effective on the local level. Many times I play the devil's advocate, but both sides of every story need to be told,'' he said.

"What the city does is real important. What we do affects everybody that lives in the city,'' he said. "We don't want to have too many rules and regulations.''

Szczesniak will be seeking the Ward 4 seat, which has been held by long-time council member Doug Reese. Szczesniak describes himself as "an action guy'' who decided to run because he can't sit back and watch things unfold.

Szczesniak is a 1995 graduate of New London-Spicer High School. He works in sales and creative writing for 94.1 The Loon. He previously ran the Country Inn and Suites for two years. He served on the board of directors of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, is a member of the Willmar Fests Board and served as aqua commodore, is a member of the Kandiyohi County Fair Board, serves as Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador and worked in the Lend-a-Hand mentor program. He and his wife, Nichole, have two daughters, Avery, 3, and Dacia, 2.

Reese, who earlier filed for re-election but was unavailable for comment, said Tuesday he's interested in seeing the completion of local projects. Reese said he first ran in 1986 because the wastewater treatment plant odor was affecting the ward "and I was determined I was going to get in there to make some changes.''

He said some changes were achieved in the beginning, such as the odor control project, which worked for a little while but didn't totally solve the problem. Years later, the biofilter was constructed, which Reese thinks has taken care of the problem.

Reese said he's excited about the new airport and development of the new industrial park.

The deadline for filing affidavits of candidacy with the city clerk's office is 5 p.m. on July 18.

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