Top 10 stories of 2016: No. 1, new leaders take the spotlight in fall election
Donald Trump winning the presidency is the biggest story of the year, according to national news organizations.
Locally, Election Day results also top the list of stories. Residents will have a mix of newcomers and established voices representing them next year in board rooms, council chambers and at the Minnesota Capitol following the 2016 general election.
Red Wing voters participated in three city elections in 2016: a special election in May, primaries in August and the general election in November.
Ward 1 voters elected sole candidate Kim Beise to City Council in a special election to replace Jason Sebion, who stepped down last December to pursue a new gun range in the former CRL building. (See story No. 10) Beise moved forward a second time in the primary city elections, this time alongside challenger Thomas Day.
John Becker and Adam Gettings were selected by voters in Ward 2 while Ernie Stone and Evan Brown moved forward for the combined Wards 3&4 seat. Sean Dowse and David Harris moved forward from a group of four mayoral candidates.
The city general election took place amid an especially contentious presidential election, drawing record voter turnout since 2010. Of the 9,484 Red Wing citizens registered to vote, 8,557 made it to the polls Nov. 8 for an 80.7 percent turnout. City elections in 2014 drew a 58 percent turnout.
Hours before state and federal election results flooded in on election night, Red Wing's newest leaders emerged.
Beise, Becker and Brown will take their new seats on City Council in January, along with Mayor-elect and former Sheldon Theatre Director Sean Dowse. The council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month at City Hall. For more information, visit www.red-wing.org.
New faces in County Board
Goodhue County Board will have two new faces next year. Paul Drotos will serve as District 5 commissioner, replacing Ted Seifert. Barney Nesseth will then take over for the current County Board chairman, Dan Rechtzigel, for District 3. With the 2012 election between Drotos and Seifert being a near dead-heat, it was evident once the 2016 results came in that county residents are looking for change after 14 years. The new District 5 commissioner has made it clear that he wants to focus heavily on environmental issues, such as solar power and waste management. Nesseth took a quick and steady lead against Todd Angelstad for District 3. The commissioner will replace Rechtzigel, who is retiring from politics, and said he aims to bring his knowledge from Kenyon-Wanamingo School Board and dealing with public employee unions to the table. Goodhue County Board meets on the first and third Tuesday every month at the Government Center in Red Wing. For more information, visit www.co.goodhue.mn.us.
School Board sees shift
Seven people vied to serve on the Red Wing School Board, creating the first contested race in years. The end results saw Heidi Jones, Mike Christensen and Janie Farrar keeping their seats while Pam Roe, one of three challengers, outpolled incumbent Mark Ryan.
The board meets at 5:30 p.m. the first and third Mondays of each month, usually at City Hall or if schedules conflict, at Red Wing High School. For more information, visit www.rwps.org.
Goggin, Haley go to St. Paul
Red Wing will have two of its own taking part in 2017 legislative session after voters here helped to vote in Mike Goggin to State Senate and Barb Haley to the House. The Red Wing Republicans secured nearly 55 percent of the vote each in the district that extends through Wabasha County into northern Winona County. Goggin defeated incumbent Democrat Matt Schmit in Senate District 21, while Haley faced Lisa Bayley to replace Tim Kelly — who did not run for re-election — for the House District 21A seat. Goggin told the Republican Eagle after the election that health insurance reform will be a top priority at the Capitol and he would support a plan to repeal and replace MNsure, the state's health insurance marketplace. "We need to make sure people have health care and have access to affordable health care," Goggin said. Haley's campaign focused on reducing health care costs, supporting local business with reduced taxes and less regulation, establishing responsible policies for farming communities and supporting education. In the House District 21B race, incumbent Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa secured his seat with more than 70 percent of the vote.