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Bender files; Castner has an opponent in Ward 1 council race

Dan Bender, a retired IBM software engineer, is challenging Stephen Castner in the Red Wing City Council Ward 1 race.

The 59-year-old filed for candidacy Thursday, saying he hopes to give the voters of Ward 1 a choice.

"I think the people of Red Wing need somebody who will listen so they can be heard," Bender said.

Castner cruised to victory in 2004 after his opponent attempted to withdraw from the race but made the request too late.

Fiscal issues top Bender's list of concerns for the city.

"I believe that we need to be very careful how we spend money," he said. "It's really their (taxpayers') money."

Bender, who supports a local fiber-optic initiative, said he wants to look at expanding the tax base to ease the burden on property tax payers.

He said the decision to run for office came about at the last minute but was fueled by encouragement from others. "I decided this also was a form of community service," he said.

Though a political newcomer, Bender said he does have experience working with the community. He has sat on the board of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, worked with the Red Wing Area Food Shelf, and with Connecting Connections -- a volunteer organization that collects goods for Third World countries.

Bender and his wife, Deanna, moved to Red Wing in 2004. He has one son and three stepdaughters.