Silica sand mining was not only a major issue for the area to consider this year, but it also influenced the resignation of Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan.
Egan quit his post in April after questions arose about a conflict of interest regarding his work with the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. He said at the time he didn’t believe there was a conflict in holding both positions, as did the city attorney, but the issue had become a “distraction.”
Egan announced his resignation in February and officially stepped down April 1. Council President Lisa Bayley served as acting mayor in the interim.
The issue garnered widespread attention, in part because it involved the hot-button issue of silica sand mining. Mining has been a critical topic of discussion for the city and county as the practice spreads in the Midwest.
Egan was first elected in a February 2011 special election after John Howe left the mayoral post to serve as a state senator. Egan was re-elected in 2012 with more than 73 percent of the vote.
The special election to replace Egan also was notable, as it drew six candidates to run for the office.
Dan Bender, John Sachen, Samantha Tix, Christopher Nelson, Ernest Stone and Elizabeth Kocina all appeared on the ballot for the special election June 11. No primary was required, even with more than two candidates.
Bender won 945 of the 2,455 cast and was sworn in on June 24. Almost 26 percent of registered voters turned out for the special election.
Bender had formerly served on the City Council. He had previously announced he would not run again for council and was out of office for a few months, but decided to try for mayor when the position unexpectedly came open, he said after the election.
Bender will finish out Egan’s term, w